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OU Basketball: Oklahoma Fails to Answer Texas Tech's Late Charge

The No. 11 Sooners were unable to hold onto a seven-point lead with eight minutes remaining and dropped their second straight Big 12 contest in Norman.

NORMAN — Late-game execution did Oklahoma in against Texas Tech on Saturday.

The No 11-ranked Sooners, who built a seven point lead with just over eight minutes remaining, found themselves down to the visiting No. 20 Red Raiders late at the Lloyd Noble Center.

Despite grasping onto a one possession lead for most of the final two minutes, Texas Tech was able to knock down massive shots and get to the foul line, outlasting OU 85-84.

The rebounding and turnover battle ended virtually even, the Red Raiders made shot after shot.

Texas Tech (16-3, 5-1 Big 12) connected on 72 percent of field goals in the second half, and converted 16-of-19 attempts from the free throw line.

Oklahoma (15-5, 3-3) shot 51.5 percent from the floor itself, but the Sooners were unable to overcome a season-high nine missed free throws on Saturday.

“Everything matters in a one-point loss,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said after the game. “… Offensively we kept on answering the bell… It’s just — 72 percent in the second half defense and missing your free throws is very very tough to overcome against a top 20 team.”

Final Box Score

Final Box Score

OU had a number of good looks in the final two minutes.

Red Raiders guard Pop Issacs put his team up by three points from the stripe with 49 seconds left, and Milos Uzan created an open look for OU guard Javian McCollum to try and tie the game.

McCollum missed, but Otega Oweh drew a goal tend to cut the deficit back to one.

Joe Toussaint put Texas Tech back up by three again the next trip down, and it was Oweh’s turn to miss a runner, but Rivaldo Soares rebounded and converted a pair of free throws after drawing a foul.

The setup, however, for Oweh’s missed was bungled by the Sooners.

“They were at the free throw (line),” said Moser, “and we were like, ‘Last shot. Last shot. Start the action at 10 (seconds). Start the action at 10.’ We go down on the other end and they start the action at 19 (seconds). We're screaming, hold up, hold up, we want the last shot. We didn’t.”

Forced to foul again, finally Toussaint missed, giving OU the ball down two with 17 seconds left, but Uzan couldn’t get his look to fall to tie the game, finally dashing the Sooners’ hopes.

Before Oweh’s shot drew the goal tend, Oklahoma’s last field goal was Soares’ 3-pointer with 1:56 remaining.

Soares drained a meaningless shot at the buzzer, cutting the final margin of defeat to a single point.

The Sooners were unable to hold onto a lead that had built to nine points with 7:30 left in large part due to what they weren’t doing on the defensive end of the floor.

“It’s our issue with this team,” Moser said. “We got certain—some of us, we take the foot off the gas defensively. We keep fighting, and I don’t have 30 timeouts.

“… I thought offensively, you told me we'd have scored 85, 84 points. I thought we did some really good things, man. Some really good things offensively time and time again against an elite defensive team. And our second half defense got us.”

Chance McMillian was the Oklahoma killer Saturday, hitting flying 3’s and tough shots in traffic to finish with 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including an unconscious 6-of-8 night from deep, and eight rebounds.

The Sooners got a balanced scoring night in the loss.

Soares ended with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Oweh (14 points), Sam Godwin (13) and uzan (13) all scored double figures.

McCollum had a hot start, hitting two early 3’s after a tough night against Texas, but he finished with seven points on 2-of-11 shooting from the floor.

As has become the norm in Big 12 play, the Sooners had to dig themselves out of a big hole early.

Texas Tech built a 17-9 lead, but then OU locked in defensively.

Grant McCasland’s Red Raiders were held scoreless for 7:23, allowing Oklahoma to claw its way back into the game.

Jalon Moore hit a 3 to pull Oklahoma within three, and then Javian McCollum drained his second shot of the afternoon from beyond the arc, finishing through an aggressive closeout in front of Texas Tech’s bench to draw a foul.

He closed out the four-point play at the free throw line, putting OU back on top 18-17.

Oklahoma then got another stop, and John Hugley IV was left open for a 3 of his own to get the Lloyd Noble Center crowd fully back into the game.

From there, a strong stretch from Rivaldo Soares helped the Sooners carry a 34-33 advantage into the break.

Oklahoma’s seven-point scoring spurt just before the eight-minute mark, punctuated by Otega Oweh uncorking a monster transition dunk, put a little daylight between the Sooners and the Red Raiders, but it wasn’t a knockout punch.

McMillian finished through contact late, completing the three-point play with 3:54 left to cut OU’s lead to just a single point, leading to the tight closing moments of the contest.

“This is a locker room that’s hurting right now,” Moser said. “They are crushed in there… I couldn’t have asked for them to respond better against Texas. I can tell you they responded every which way you’d want young men to respond.

“… And that’s what gives me absolute passion to know that we still can build wins on this thing because our schedule is so tough. You’re going to get great opportunities to win.”

Now, Oklahoma will have to break its losing streak on the road.

The Sooners head to Manhattan to take on Kansas State on Tuesday at 7 p.m.