Lubbock, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The 17th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners will try to keep their Big 12 Conference title hopes alive on Saturday when they visit the Texas Tech Red Raiders at United Supermarkets Arena.
Oklahoma bounced back from a bad loss to Kansas State to defeat Texas on Tuesday. Jordan Woodard tallied 13 points and five assists, as the Sooners rallied for the win to improve to 9-5 in league play, 2 1/2 games back of conference-leading Kansas.
The Sooners, who are 18-8 overall on the year, trailed by six after the final media timeout when Woodard's 3-pointer sparked a 10-0 run to help the hosts put the game away and win for the sixth time in the last seven games.
Texas Tech, meanwhile, has lost four in a row after a 54-49 shellacking at the hands of Baylor on Tuesday. Devaugntah Williams provided 15 points in the loss for the Red Raiders, who have won just two of their 14 Big 12 bouts.
Oklahoma beat the Red Raiders, 81-36, in Norman on Jan. 28 to establish a Big 12 record for fewest points allowed in a league game. The Sooners, though, hold a slim, 6-5, edge in the last 11 matchups in the series.
In Oklahoma's win over Texas, Buddy Hield shot just 4-of-17 from the field but kept his streak of double-digit scoring efforts in conference play alive by netting 12 points. Frank Booker and Dinjiyl Walker contributed 10 points apiece off the bench, while TaShawn Thomas and Ryan Spangler each finished with nine.
Perhaps most remarkable about the Sooners this season is that they've kept the same starting lineup for all 26 games, and four of those five performers are averaging double figures at the moment. Hield leads the attack with 17.2 ppg, while Isaiah Cousins produces another 11.7 ppg and has combined with Hield to knock down a collective 115-of-282 shots behind the 3-point line. Thomas (10.9 ppg) and Spangler (10.7 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers, with Woodward a tick behind at 9.1 ppg.
Oklahoma's calling card, though, has been its defense, as it has held 21 of 26 opponents below their season average in points (at the time of competition). In fact, OU has held its 26 opponents to an average of 10.1 points below their season average. For the season, the Sooners are limiting foes to 61.8 ppg, while allowing 37.3 percent of their total shots to ring true, the latter stat ranking them sixth nationally. while their yield of only 30.6 percent from 3- point range ranks 36th. By comparison, opponents averaged 76.0 ppg on .437 field goal and .342 3-point shooting last season.
Also, the Sooners have outscored their opponents off turnovers in six straight games, in 16 of the last 19, and 21 of 26 contests overall.
That is certainly bad news for a Texas Tech team, whose biggest problem, especially lately, has been putting the ball in the basket. Over the course of their losing streak, the Red Raiders are averaging just 44.75 ppg. As a result, they net a league-low 60.4 ppg for the season, and they are the only team in the Big 12 with a negative scoring margin (-2.8). Not surprisingly, Tech is the worst shooting team in the league (.394), and it also ranks last in assists (10.48 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.76). Williams (10.5 ppg) is the only player averaging double figures in scoring for the season. He has made a team-high 43 3-pointers and is shooting a team-best 35.8 percent from long distance
If you are looking for a silver lining, Texas Tech has played slightly better in Big 12 home games (2-5 record), as they have been outscored by an average of 6.4 points a contest. In conference road tilts (0-7), their average scoring margin is -25.0.