Second-half surge pushes Oklahoma past Texas Tech

Oklahoma's Taj Gray dunks over Texas Tech's Joey Hawkins during the second half of the Sooners' 74-54 win over the Red Raiders Saturday in Lubbock. Gray scored all 14 of his points in the second half. With the win, Oklahoma improved to 12-4 in Big 12 play and moved to within a half-game of first-place Kansas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Don't ship the Big 12 championship banner to Kansas just yet. A piece of that just might be headed to Norman.

With big men Kevin Bookout and Taj Gray leading the way inside, 20th-ranked Oklahoma handed Bob Knight his worst home loss at Texas Tech and kept their Big 12 regular season title hopes with an impressive 74-54 win Saturday in Lubbock.

But more importantly, the Sooners finished Big 12 play at 12-4 and moved to within a half-game of first-place Kansas (12-3). With a Jayhawk loss tomorrow at Missouri, Oklahoma will claim a share of the regular season championship.

"I'm proud of this bunch," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson, whose Sooners improved to 23-6 overall and pushed their winning streak to six games. "We're not going to get overly excited about this. We've been buidling toward this.

"Last year was obviously one of those blips on the screen that every program's going to go through. For this team to win 12 out of 16 conference games, and for the schedule we've played to be 23-6, I'm proud of this team."

The Sooners, who led 30-29 at halftime, scored the first 12 points over the first two minutes and 43 seconds of the second half to take a 42-29 lead with 17:13.

The Red Raiders would cut the lead to 47-38 with 14:01 to go, but that would be as close as they would get.

Over the next five minutes and 12 seconds, Oklahoma used a 10-2 run to break the game open for good with a 56-40 lead and lead by as many as 22 points late in the game.

Bookout led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds. Gray, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored all of his 14 points in the second half, including a massive alley-oop dunk from Terrell Everett during the 10-2 run. Everett also scored in double figures and nearly pulled off a triple-double with 12 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

But not to be forgotten was the play of Jaison Williams, Lawrence McKenzie and Johnnie Gilbert off the bench. Williams and McKenzie each each finished with eight points, and Gilbert recorded a game-high 11 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

"Taj and Kevin were really good inside tonight," said Sampson. "Johnnie Gilbert had 10 rebounds in the first half. I liked Jaison Williams off the bench tonight. Our bench was good."

Also not to be overshadowed was OU's performance on defense. The Sooners outrebounded Tech 42-26 and held the Red Raiders to just 34.5 percent shooting (19-of-55) from the field.

"We've really worked at getting better and focused on defense and rebounding," said Sampson. "Those have always been the staples of our program, and its allowed us to be a good team."

OU-Texas Tech Box Score

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