DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 8:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: United Spirit Arena (15,098) -- Lubbock, Texas. Television: TTSN. Home Record: OU 9-4, TTU 6-5. Away Record: OU 1-4, TTU 1-8. Neutral Record: OU 3-2, TTU 0-3. Conference Record: OU 3-8, TTU 0-9. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 31-19.
GAME NOTES: The Oklahoma Sooners have sputtered along through their Big 12 Conference schedule, but tonight they'll take on a team in even worse shape as they visit the Texas Tech Red Raiders at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock.
Oklahoma has dropped three in a row and eight of its last 11 contests dating back to the beginning of January. However, the Sooners did put up quite a fight against fourth-ranked Missouri on Monday night before ultimately being dealt a 71-68 loss. They have played only five true road games to date, although four of the Sooners' next six contests will take place in unfriendly confines.
Texas Tech is still winless in conference play, and in the 2012 calendar year, in fact. The Red Raiders have merely been a doormat for Big 12 opponents, as they have been out-scored by an average margin of 17.3 points. Most recently, they were on the wrong end of a 65-46 final at Kansas State on Tuesday.
Oklahoma was a 64-55 winner over Texas Tech in the first meeting back in mid- January. The Sooners lead the all-time series, 31-19.
Steven Pledger turned in a magnificent performance for the Sooners on Monday night, hitting 5-of-9 three-pointers en route to a team-high 22 points. He had a chance to play the role of hero against a top-five opponent as time expired, but his potential game-tying three-pointer bounced off the rim. He was afforded the last-second shot opportunity when Romero Osby intentionally missed a free throw, which was tipped from teammate Andrew Fitzgerald over to an open Pledger. Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the game, and OU even held a commanding 36-22 rebounding advantage, including a 13-3 edge on the offensive glass. But the Sooners simply shot themselves in the foot by missing 14 of their 23 free throws for a porous 39 percent average, a statistic that head coach Lon Kruger could not rationalize. Even Pledger, who had made 27-of-28 free throws in conference play, missed 3-of-4 at the line. On the season, Pledger leads the squad with 17.8 points per game. Andrew Fitzgerald is next in line with 13.4 ppg, followed by Osby with 12.3 points and a team-best 7.7 rebounds per tilt.
The Red Raiders have only one player scoring in double figures, and that is Jordan Tolbert with 11.9 ppg. Tolbert is a solid 54.1-percent shooter from the floor and is also pulling down a team-best 6.1 rebounds per contest, but he cannot carry the load all by himself. in Big 12 play, Tolbert's average has dipped to 8.0 ppg while shooting 36.2 percent. TTU is averaging just 61.0 points as a team and has been borderline reckless with the basketball, committing 17.4 turnovers per game for a -5.0 margin. Earlier this week, the Red Raiders held a solid Kansas State squad to 30 percent shooting on its home floor. However, TTU turned in an even more abysmal performance, managing only 11 field goals for the game on 28.9 percent shooting. In addition to its poor shooting, the team committed 22 turnovers and had just six assists, as K-State capitalized with a 21-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Luke Adams led the way with 15 points off the bench, while Tolbert scored 11 and pulled down eight boards, although he also turned the ball over four times and shot just 1-of-5 from the floor.
Neither of these teams figures to be a postseason participant, but tonight presents a good opportunity to take out their frustrations on each other. OU gained some confidence with a near-win against a ranked opponent, and that should carry over into this matchup.