No. 15 Texas Tech aims to change gears vs. Oklahoma
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No. 15 Texas Tech got a full dose of gritty, defensive-minded basketball when it began its Big 12 season last week with a one-point loss to Kansas.
While there are likely to be plenty of similar grind-it-out games as the league season plays out, the Red Raiders (6-2, 0-1 Big 12) will have to switch gears Tuesday night when they take on host Oklahoma in Norman.
Oklahoma (5-1, 1-0) isn't a defensive pushover, by any means: The Sooners rank fifth in the Big 12 in field-goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot 40.2 percent.
The challenge the Sooners present is they arguably are the best offensive team that Texas Tech has encountered this season, and that figures to be a new kind of test for the league's best defense.
Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring (85.3 points per game) and field-goal shooting (47.9 percent) and features two of the league's top five scorers in Brady Manek (third at 16.7 ppg) and Austin Reaves (fourth at 16.3).
Reaves also ranks second in assists per game with 6.2, while Manek's three 3-pointers per game are tied for tops in the league.
What that means for the Red Raiders is they likely will have to ramp up their offense after struggling to score in a 58-57 loss to Kansas.
Texas Tech shot a frosty 32.3 percent (20 of 62) against the Jayhawks and were just 6-for-23 from 3-point territory.
Although Mac McClung and Terrence Shannon were effective, with 21 and 20 points, respectively, two Red Raiders starters didn't score at all: Kyler Edwards was 0-for-9 shooting in 37 minutes, while Marcus Santos-Silva wrestled with foul trouble and took only two floor shots in 19 minutes.
"We've got veteran players that are zeros across the stat sheet," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. "That's not going to get it done."
Oklahoma found a way to get things done in an 84-65 victory vs. Houston Baptist on Saturday night despite a cold night from the perimeter.
The Sooners connected on a season-low five 3-pointers, and that allowed the Huskies to stick close in the first half. Oklahoma adjusted its approach and seized command with 54 points in the paint to pull away.
Even with dominance inside, the Sooners led only 58-54 with 12:04 to go before reserve Victor Iwuakor lit a fuse that ignited a 14-0 run. The Nigerian native supplied eight points during the burst -- three buckets on dunks -- and finished with 12 points in 19 minutes. He also had a vicious block to extend Houston Baptist's scoring drought to six minutes.
"A lot of times you need someone to go in and make a play or create something that creates more energy," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. "Victor kind of does that naturally. We've got to have more guys doing that."
--Field Level Media
Updated December 21, 2020