Tech ends OU's winning streak, tourney title hopes

Oklahoma's Taj Gray is squeezed under the basket by Texas Tech's Damir Suljagic, left, and Devonne Giles, right, during the Sooners' 69-63 loss to the Red Raiders in the Big 12 semifinals Saturday in Kansas City. With the win, Tech (20-9) advances to their first-ever Big 12 Tournament Championship game on Sunday, while the Sooners fell to 24-7 overall. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

What a difference a week makes. Oklahoma looked dominant seven days ago in their 74-54 win against Texas Tech in Lubbock, but Saturday in Kansas City was a different story.

Texas Tech guard Ronald Ross had his way with OU's defense scoring 28 points and helping end the Sooners' seven-game winning streak in the Red Raiders' 69-63 Big 12 semifinal win.

"We didn't play very good in Norman and they didn't play very good in Lubbock," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson. "Today I guess it was our turn. We didn't play very good."

Oklahoma led 29-26 at halftime and then pushed the lead to five just eight seconds into the second half on a Kevin Bookout layup. Tech then went on an 8-3 run to tie the game at 34-34. The lead would change four times over the next four minutes before Johnnie Gilbert gave OU a 41-40 lead at the 14:04 mark.

However, that would be the last time the Sooners would lead as Ross scored 12 points in a 16-4 run over the next eight minutes and 40 seconds to propel the Red Raiders into a 56-45 lead with 5:08 to go.

Oklahoma would cut the lead to to 62-58 on a Terrell Everett 3-pointer and then 64-61 on a Jaison Williams three with 44 seconds left, but that would be as close as they would get as Tech sank five free throws from that point on to keep put the game away.

"When Texas Tech had that one stretch in the second half where they seperated from us, I didn't think we played with as much zip, as much energy," Sampson said. "Obviously, our defense wasn't as good as the last time we played them."

The Red Raiders shot 42 percent from the field for the game and an impressive 48.3 percent (14-of-29) in the second half. Tech also did a good job of getting to the free throw line, where they hit 24 of their 33 free throw attempts. Ross hit a career-high 10 free throws by himself.

Offensively, the Sooners struggled shooting 37.9 percent shooting from the field, which was the their worst shooting performance since a 61-53 win against Southwest Missouri State on December 23.

OU also struggled from the free throw and 3-point line. The Sooners went just 8-for-22 from beyond the arc and 11-of-19 from the free throw line.

Everett led the Sooners with 15 points, while Bookout chipped in 12.

"This team won 24 out of their last 31 games," Sampson said. "Texas Tech deserved to win that game. We didn't, but we're looking forward to next week."

If there's any consolation to the loss it is that the Sooners won't have to play three games in three days. Sampson says he'll give his team an extra day off in preparation for next week's NCAA tournament.

"We get to take Sunday off now," Sampson said. "We will probably take Monday off too because we ended the regular season with two straight road trips then we had to come right here, but we're going to get excited about playing next week."

With the loss, the Sooners will enter the NCAAs at 24-7. Tech improved to 20-9 and advanced to their first-ever Big 12 Tournament Championship game on Sunday.

The question now is will Oklahoma get sent to Oklahoma City for the first and second round of the NCAA Tournament next weekend? The consensus opinion is that only two top-four seeds from the Big 12 region will get to play at the Ford Center, which would send Kansas, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State elsewhere.

"There's three teams, only two can go," Sampson said. "We won the regular season, we were the No. 1 seed, we shared the regular season. We were the one seed, so we have that going for us."

The NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced at 5 p.m. central time Sunday on CBS.

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