Oklahoma at Texas Tech
Sixth-ranked Texas Tech is experiencing a magical season and looks to retain its lead in the Big 12 when it hosts No. 23 Oklahoma on Tuesday. The Red Raiders are 15-0 at home this season and hold a one-game edge over Kansas in the conference race as they look to avenge last month’s road loss to the Sooners.
Texas Tech’s 21-4 start matches the second best in school history and the program is thriving in Chris Beard’s second season at the helm. “We are just a program that prides ourselves in getting up every day and going to work,” Beard told reporters. “The next game on the schedule is our biggest game. You have to give a lot of credit to our players. I think they have bought into this identity, and they are the ones executing it.” Oklahoma is sliding in the wrong direction with three consecutive setbacks and is coming off Saturday’s 88-80 loss to last-place Iowa State. Freshman sensation guard Trae Young had 27 points and nine assists in the first meeting, when the Sooners recorded a 75-65 home win over the Red Raiders.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (16-8, 6-6 Big 12): Young leads the nation in scoring (29.5) and assists (9.4) and has topped 40 points while becoming the favorite to win national Player of the Year honors. While he has registered 11 outings with 10 or more assists, his ball-handling and decision making are far from flawless as he is averaging 6.6 turnovers over the past 13 games. Junior guard Christian James (11.9 points) and freshman forward Brady Manek (11.4) are solid complementary players while senior forward Khadeem Lattin (7.8 points, team-best 6.7 rebounds) mixes it up in the inside and has a team-best 55 blocked shots.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (21-4, 9-3): Senior guard Keenan Evans (19 points) was the only player to score in double digits in last month’s loss to the Sooners and he has posted outings of 38, 31, and 26 during the squad’s current six-game winning streak. Evans has team-best averages of 18.4 points and 3.5 assists and he has scored 20 or more points on nine occasions. Freshman guards Jarrett Culver (11 points per game) and Zhaire Smith (10.6) are enjoying solid debut seasons, with Smith shooting a torrid 57.6 percent from the field.
1. Oklahoma has won eight of the last 11 meetings.
2. The Red Raiders are tied for 19th nationally in 3-point percentage defense at 31 percent.
3. Lattin has 229 career blocked shots, one shy of the school record held by Al Beal (1976-80).