Monday, January 23, 2006

Sooners Survive Texas Tech

Michael Neal scored 15 points and hit four 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes to help the 25th-ranked Sooners fend off Texas Tech's second-half rally for a 60-48 win over the Red Raiders on Saturday.

It was a tale of two halves for the Sooners on Saturday. In the first half they showed the team they could be with dominating defense, rebounding and scoring from anywhere on the floor. Terrell Everett scored eight points and Austin Johnson hit two 3-pointers as Oklahoma capitalized on Tech turnovers on four straight possessions for a 16-2 lead.

Taylor Griffin added back-to-back baskets to start another Oklahoma run, and Longar Longar banked in a hook shot from the right block to give the Sooners a 27-5 advantage.

OU led the Red Raiders 32-12 at half-time who were only 5-for-21 shooting (24 percent).

Unfortunately in the second half the Sooners showed the team they are. That is a turnover prone team who can’t even make point blank shots. The Red Raiders pulled to 40-38 when Jon Plefka hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line to cap a 17-1 run.

Austin Johnson made a pair of free throws to get Oklahoma's offense going and Taylor Griffin 's two-handed dunk ended an 8-minute field goal drought and moved the Sooners' lead to 45-38.

Terrell Everett added a free throw, then set up Kevin Bookout for a layup before Neal's first 3-pointer extended the lead to 51-40. Neal, Oklahoma's top 3-point shooter, also hit 3s on the next three possessions, with the last putting the Sooners up 60-44.

''Once you hit that first one, you automatically feel good about yourself,'' Neal said. ''You think the next shot is going to go in, so you just shoot it with confidence. You just totally relax out there.''

OU should continue to improve each week as they continue to get healthy. The Sooners travel to Waco Wednesday night to play the Baylor Bears before hosting Texas on Saturday. A win over the Bears would be OU’s third in a row and would put their conference record at 3-2.

Where’s Nate?
Nate Carter failed to get into the game on Saturday. I don’t know if he was injured or what, but he is another athletic body that the Sooners can use on the floor.

At least Freshman Taylor Griffin is seeing more playing time. He just makes things happen when he is in the game.

Knight-Mare Part II
I wanted to think Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight for proving my point that he is a classless human being with his post-game antics in the press room.

Hey Knight, my son had a pouty fit like that last week when he didn’t get a piece of candy that he wanted. Then again he is only five.