OU Suffers Heart Breaking Loss

Oklahoma's 72-71 loss to Texas Tech was its first at home versus an unranked (AP) opponent since Jan. 12, 2008. The Sooners had won 31 straight home games versus unranked competition, with their last loss at Lloyd Noble Center coming against Kansas State (84-82) in Jeff Capel's second season.

The Sooners could have used the man sitting in a suit and tie for his memorial night, but former OU star Blake Griffin—now forward for the Los Angeles Clippers—could only look on from his baseline seat when two would-be game winner shots bounced off the iron, leaving OU one point short in a 72-71 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders at the Lloyd Noble Center Tuesday night.

"We had a couple of really good opportunities, I thought," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "Willie [Warren] got a wide open shot, and I thought Tommy [Mason-Griffin] got a good look on that last one. It just didn't go in for us."

That all came after the Sooners rallied back from 10 points down with just more than five minutes remaining.

"I thought we made a good run, played with some energy the last six minutes," Capel said. "[We] just could not get over the hump."

That was mainly because of the way the Red Raiders played for the other 34 minutes.

"They made plays throughout the game," Capel said. "I thought they played with more energy and just better than us throughout the game."

In a back-and-forth battle throughout the first half that featured five ties and four lead changes, it was the Red Raiders that eventually grabbed control on their way to an eight-point halftime lead at 36-28.

And they did that with hard-nosed, gritty, fundamental basketball, as they won the rebounding battle in the first 20 minutes 22-17, and they also hit all five of their free throws.

But the Sooners had something to say about that in the second half.

"[At halftime] Coach Capel was just like, ‘We didn't have any intensity out there at all,'" said sophomore guard Willie Warren. "We were giving up."

Although Tech hit 48 percent of their shots in the second half, they shot nine less times than they did in the first half, in large part because of OU's 20-12 rebounding advantage in the second frame, a crucial component of "hustle" plays.

That allowed OU ultimately to sneak back into it and have the ball with a chance to win in the waning seconds.

"We feel like we had the right people taking the shots," Warren said. "The ball just didn't bounce our way."

One bright spot was Warren, who has fought an ongoing ankle injury and Tuesday night led the Sooners with 18.

"Yeah, it's getting a lot better," Warren said. [Alex Brown], our trainer, has been doing a good job with me, having me wake up every morning, getting treatment two or three times a day. And it's just a day-to-day process. I'm not quite 100 percent, but, you know, I'm pushing for that."

Senior guard Tony Crocker had the game's only double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and freshman forward Tiny Gallon added 13.

Junior John Roberson led the Red Raiders with a game-high 22.

The Sooners next take the court at 1 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater for Bedlam against Oklahoma State.


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