No. 7 Texas Tech (22-4, 10-3) can smell blood for the Big 12 regular season title, and helped their chances with an 88-78 win over No. 23 Oklahoma (16-9, 6-7). The Sooners held a lead with just over eight minutes to go in the game, but could not overcome Trae Young’s worst shooting performance of the season in his trip back home.
Christian James came out of the chute hot again against the Red Raiders, scoring the Sooners first eight points of the game. A lot like Oklahoma’s game against Iowa State last Saturday, the game went back-and-forth over the entirety of the first half. Jamuni McNeace was the difference for Lon Kruger in the half, scoring his final six points in back-to-back-to-back possessions of his 11-point first half performance. The redshirt junior did not score the rest of the game, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Young struggled from the field in the first half, but went 9-of-9 from the free throw line to get to 11 points at halftime. The star freshman was able to get going early in the second half, hitting his first three shots to move to 4-of-10 on the game. Tech picked up Young at half court and played in full denial for majority of the game, making it difficult to find room to get any lanes to attack or get his shot off. In his trip back to where he was born and his dad played, Young finished with only 19 points on 4-of-16 shooting, including 0-of-9 shooting from three.
Christian James reset his career high in points after setting it against Iowa State last Saturday, scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. Lon Kruger did get more bench production tonight, as Kameron McGusty scored in double-figures for the first time in over a month with 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-3 from three to go along with Jamuni McNeace’s 11 points and nine rebounds.
The lead for either team did not grow above a possession for over the first 28 minutes of the game, but Texas Tech was able to respond to an 11-4 Oklahoma run in the middle of the second half to seal their 10th Big 12 victory. It was the Sooners fourth consecutive loss, seventh consecutive road loss, and seventh loss in nine games. They are now below .500 in Big 12 play, and figuratively out of the Big 12 race.
They return home on Saturday to try and avenge a tough road loss to Texas earlier in the month, and end their four-game losing streak.