Could Godbold be the difference in Tech rematch?

Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson talks about the emergence of freshman guard David Godbold (pictured above) and Saturday's matchup with Texas Tech. Since Godbold was inserted into the starting lineup on February 16 against Nebraska, the Sooners are 5-0. Tip-off for Saturday's game in Lubbock is set for 5 p.m. OU leads the all-time series against the Red Raiders 21-14. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The last time Oklahoma played Texas Tech David Godbold was a non-factor, but that's a good thing.

Why? Well, it's good because the freshman from Oklahoma City didn't have a chance to be a factor after getting only 16 minutes of action.

The good news for the 20th-ranked Sooners (22-6, 11-4) is that Godbold will be a factor on Saturday when OU travels to Lubbock for their Big 12 regular season finale against Texas Tech (18-8, 10-5).

In the teams' first meeting in Norman on February 5, Oklahoma allowed their second-highest point total of the season in an 88-81 loss, but that was without Godbold in the starting lineup.

"(Now) We're a different team, a lot better team," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson on his Sooners since the emergence of Godbold.

"We're playing a lot better, but I still think this team cam continue to improve because we've just kind of got into this with Godbold in the lineup."

Since Godbold was inserted in the starting lineup on February 16 against Nebraska, the Sooners are 5-0. During that stretch, the Douglass high school product has averaged 11.2 points per game.

But where Sampson hoped Godbold would make the biggest difference was on defense, and he's done just that. Over the last five games, OU is giving up just 61.8 points per game.

"Just the opportunity David's got has really energized this team," said Sampson. "We felt like he could be doing what he's doing."

Godbold's defense will be key if Oklahoma is to beat a Tech team that blistered them in Norman, shooting 57 percent (28-of-49) from the field. The added presence of Godbold's quickness and 6-foot-5 frame will be needed to guard one of Tech's outstanding perimeter trio of Jarrius Jackson, Ronald Ross and Martin Zeno.

Jackson led the Red Raiders with a career-high 32 points in first game against OU. Tech also got 14 points from Ross, who ranks eighth in the conference with a 16.7 average.

"The game they played against us was the best we've had a team play against us this year," Sampson said. "They were really, really good that night."

However, since the Red Raiders' trip to Norman they have gone 3-3, which Sampson says is misleading.

"They've been losing on the road, but they've been awful good at home," said Sampson on Tech, who is 16-1 at home this season. "I think they've lost one game this year and that was against O-State earlier in the year. They're a good home team."

"It will be a big challenge. Obviously, our kids are playing with a lot of confidence. We'll be going in there on senior night, and you know how those deals are. We're looking forward to playing it."

And with the success OU has had with Godbold as a starter, why wouldn't they be looking forward to spoiling a senior night for the second straight game?

Game Notes: Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN...With a win, the Sooners can keep their hopes alive for a share of the Big 12 regular season. The Jayhawks (12-3 in Big 12 play) clinched a share of the conference title Wednesday night with their win over Kansas State. Oklahoma, 11-4 in Big 12 play, would need a win at Tech and a KU loss at Missouri on Sunday to claim a piece of the title. Oklahoma State could also grab a share of the title with a win Saturday against Texas in Stillwater and Jayhawk loss on Sunday...Oklahoma leads the all-time series against Texas Tech 21-14...Sampson is 12-7 overall against the Red Raiders and 5-3 in Lubbock.


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