OKLAHOMA CITY — No. 22 Texas Tech simply could never get going against Oklahoma on Tuesday. The Red Raiders (18-10, 9-6 Big 12) made just 33.3 percent of their shots, losing 65-51 to the Sooners.
Kevin McCullar led the team with 13 points on 6-17 shooting. Jahmi’us Ramsey and Davide Moretti combined for three.
Texas Tech got into a pinch early as Ramsey picked up his second foul with 13:50 remaining in the first half. The team fell to a quick deficit, and was never able to dig itself out of the hole.
The Red Raiders were already struggling with Ramsey in the game, and losing his shot creation was a blow to their offense. Drives were stonewalled, passes were bobbled and open looks didn’t drop. It took them more than 11 minutes to reach double digit points.
Texas Tech’s lack of assists was another concerning sign. Chris Beard’s bunch has been one of the better passing teams in the nation this season, but didn’t get an assist until Clarke found Davide Moretti for a 3 with 4:53 remaining in the first half. The team finished with just nine dimes on the night.
When working, the offense feeds off of ball movement. It is at its best when the ball is whipped around by the five players on the court. For most of Tuesday’s first half, Oklahoma caused the ball to stop, mucking up the offense.
While Texas Tech had early issues scoring the ball, Oklahoma certainly did not. The Sooners made eight of their first 13 shots, getting out to an early 21-6 lead.
They got a solid performance out of Austin Reeves, who is shooting 25.4 percent from 3-point range this season. In the first half Tuesday, Reeves made three 3s.
Oklahoma’s Kristian Doolittle did a lot on the night, scoring a game high 19 points and making shots down the stretch to seal the game.
Clarke returned to Texas Tech’s rotation after sitting Saturday’s game as a healthy scratch. The senior tried to rescue the slumping offense with his best scoring game of the Big 12 season, but it was not enough to overcome cold shooting by other players.
At the forefront of the shooting struggles was Ramsey. His foul trouble eventually became more manageable in the second half, but he still could not get going.
Coming off perhaps his best all-around game of the season on Saturday, the freshman had his worst on Tuesday. He didn’t score, shooting 0-8.
Down 18 with 6:30 left in the game, Beard installed a trapping defense that had some success. The Red Raiders forced turnovers and the increased energy breathed some life into their offense. Still, it was too little, too late. They never got the deficit closer than 10 points.
Texas Tech had won five of six games going into the match-up with Oklahoma, but turned in its worst scoring performance of the season against the Sooners.
The Red Raiders must become more consistent to approach the heights of last season.