Men's basketball: Set to rumble in Lubbock
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The Oklahoma men’s basketball team will try to get back into the win column against Texas Tech at 6 p.m. in Lubbock.
In its last game, the Sooners (16-8, 7-5 Big 12) were unable to hang on to a lead over No. 17 Oklahoma State and ended up losing in overtime, 84-79, despite never trailing in the second half.
OU was unable to slow OSU’s talented tandem of underclassmen, freshman guard Marcus Smart and sophomore forward Le’Bryan Nash.
“[Smart] has been terrific all season,” OU men’s coach Lon Kruger said. “He just impacts the game in so many ways. He can score, obviously. He’s one of the most outstanding players in the country.”
Smart ended up burning the Sooners to the tune of 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Nash joined him in stuffing the box score, with 26 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The game was an instant classic, back-and-forth, high-energy and complete with an Oklahoma State court storming.
“The atmosphere was great,” OU senior guard Sam Grooms said. “I haven’t been around for that long, but from my understanding, it felt like an old Bedlam game. The students were in here, it was loud, it was intense and it was a great atmosphere to play in.”
Grooms was a big bright spot for OU on the day, finishing with a career-high 18 points, but the true star for the Sooners was senior forward Romero Osby.
After having a miserable first half, in which he scored three points on 1-7 shooting, Osby put together a fantastic second period to help keep the Sooners in the game, ending with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
“In the first half, I took some tough shots and didn’t make them,” Osby said. “Then, in the second half, I got a couple nice passes and a couple rebounds that kind of got me in a groove.”
Oklahoma will hope that Osby can put up similar numbers against the Red Raiders (9-14, 2-10 Big 12). Last time they played, an 81-63 Sooner win, he had 17 points and six rebounds.
Along with getting production from Osby, Oklahoma will need to do a better job of slowing down Texas Tech’s big man in the middle, junior forward Dejan Kravic.
In that OU victory, Kravic was one of the big bright spots for the Red Raiders, finishing with 20 points and nine rebounds.
If Texas Tech hopes to be more competitive than they were in the two teams’ previous meeting, players other than Kravic will need to do a better job of scoring.
In its last meeting, the only player other than Kravic to finish with double-figure scoring was junior forward Jaye Crockett, who ended with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Luckily for Texas Tech, they get the Sooners at home, so this game could turn out to be much more interesting than the last.