Buddy Hield and Oklahoma have bounced back from each of their defeats this season, but a meeting with Texas Tech on Wednesday night could make continuing that difficult.
The third-ranked Sooners seek a seventh win in eight games against the improving Red Raiders, who aim to beat a third straight Top 25 opponent for the first time in nearly two decades.
Oklahoma (20-4, 8-4 in Big 12) hasn't lost consecutive games since Jan. 19 and 24, 2015, and Hield is among the biggest reasons for that. The guard has averaged 25.7 points on 59.5 percent from the field and 52.0 from 3-point range in the three victories following defeats this season.
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He'll need another big performance after the Sooners shot 33.3 percent and fell 76-72 to then-sixth-ranked Kansas on Saturday. Hield needed to score 18 points in the second half to finish with 24, going 5 for 15 from the floor.
He's drawing a lot more attention as the nation's second-leading scorer (25.6).
"They're going to stay on Buddy and not leave him, and Buddy has realized that the last couple of games," coach Lon Kruger said.
Hield didn't have any such problems in a 91-67 rout of Texas Tech on Jan. 26, pouring in 30 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 5 of 8 from long range.
Things didn't go nearly as smoothly in the last visit to Lubbock on Feb. 21, with Hield scoring eight points while Isaiah Cousins picked up the slack with 22 in a 79-75 overtime win.
Cousins had 19 points against the Red Raiders last month, one of his eight consecutive double-digit performances. He had 21 in Saturday's loss and has averaged 17.9 points on 54.5 percent during that span.
Texas Tech (15-9, 5-7) has bounced back from a 2-8 stretch with wins over then-No. 14 Iowa State and then-No. 21 Baylor, putting it in position to beat three straight ranked teams for the first time since Nov. 30-Dec. 21, 1996.
The Red Raiders had dropped 13 in a row to Top 25 foes before last Wednesday's 85-82 overtime victory over the Cyclones. They shot 57.8 percent - their second-best total of the season - in an 84-66 win over the Bears on Saturday.
"Whether it's Top 25 or not, we're getting better," coach Tubby Smith said. "Our players are maturing and starting to understand, and they're experienced enough to know what we needed to do in order to win. ... They're getting stronger, and getting smarter and getting better."
Keenan Evans is worthy of such praise, scoring a career-high 21 points with five assists and four steals against Baylor after he scored 17 against Iowa State.
Evans has averaged 17.3 points on 60.9 percent in his last three games after scoring 7.3 on 36.5 through the first 19.
Evans was abysmal at Oklahoma last month, missing 5 of 6 from the floor and finishing with two points.
Justin Gray scored 20 off the bench in that matchup, adding seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. He's connected on 12 of 17 attempts while totaling 32 points over the past two games.
The Red Raiders are 11-3 at home, yielding an average of 66.1 points but will be facing a Sooners team that leads the conference with 83.6 per game.
"You have stop their transition," Smith said. "That's number one because they score a bunch of points out of their fastbreak. Then, you have to worry about Buddy Hield. That'll be a tough task for our team."
Hield, Cousins, Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard have started 92 straight games together for the longest active streak for any foursome in Division I men's basketball.