Feb. 9, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma's first ever No. 1 NBA draft pick was back in the Lloyd Noble Center and even joked with the crowd that he was relishing a weekend upset over rival Texas.
Then John Roberson and Texas Tech came in and spoiled it all.
Roberson scored 22 points and Mike Singletary made enough plays down the stretch to help the Red Raiders hold off a second-half rally for a 72-71 victory Tuesday night, snapping the Sooners' 31-game home winning streak against unranked opponents.
Texas Tech (16-7, 4-5 Big 12) built a 12-point lead early in the second half and was able to stave off a series of comebacks to break a six-game losing streak and sweep the season series from the Sooners.
"They play well at home, and you knew they were going to come at you," Tech coach Pat Knight said. "I'm just glad, for our kids' sake. I didn't want those errors at the end to cost us the game because they'd worked too hard."
The Red Raiders didn't score after Singletary's layup off a Roberson lob made it 72-67 with 2:28 left, but that proved to be just enough cushion.
Willie Warren and Tommy Mason-Griffin each missed potential game-winning 3-pointers in the final 5 seconds as Oklahoma (13-10, 4-5) absorbed a disheartening blow to its postseason hopes.
"I thought they played with more energy and just better than us throughout the game. I thought we made a good run, played with some energy the last 6 minutes and just could not get over the hump," Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. "We had a couple of really good opportunities."
Former Oklahoma star Blake Griffin, the No. 1 pick in last year's NBA draft, returned to Norman for the first time this season and was presented with the NCAA Sportsmanship Award during a halftime ceremony. He finished his comments by saying he was even more proud of his school for beating then-No. 9 Texas.
He sat courtside and stood up several times as the Sooners mounted one charge after another, only to have their 12-game home winning streak snapped. The run started with their final regular season home game last year.
"It's very tough, not just because Blake was in the house or not just because it was a home game," Warren said. "It's just tough to lose period."
Warren had 18 points while playing his most significant minutes since missing two games with a sprained ankle, and Tony Crocker added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma.
The Sooners played without suspended freshmen Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald, who were cited for petty larceny on Saturday after the team's 80-71 win against the Longhorns. Capel pinpointed that moment as when Oklahoma lost its momentum from the upset.
"It is what it is. No excuse for us," Capel said. "We put ourself in that situation, so it is what it is."
Darko Cohadarevic added 12 points for Tech, and Singletary scored 10 - including eight of the Red Raiders' 10 points in the final 6:06.
The Sooners, who went 9 for 16 from 3-point range to build a commanding first-half lead in the win against Texas, were off the mark against a Tech defense allowing a league-high 74.6 points per game. Oklahoma, which is first in the Big 12 in 3-point attempts but is shooting only 35 percent from long range, hit just three of its first 17 shots from behind the arc.
"We were really concentrating on not letting them get threes," Knight said. "We gave up some drives because we thought we'd be better off giving up twos instead of threes. We studied their last game against Texas, and (Cade) Davis got going and everyone got going. We just didn't want that to happen.
"If you're going to win on the road, you've got to eliminate the three-point shot, I think, because teams can really get going."
When the shots finally started falling, Oklahoma cut into a Tech advantage that grew from eight at halftime to 49-37 after Roberson hit both free throws following Capel's technical foul early in the second half. Davis followed a series of baskets inside by reserve Tiny Gallon to get the Sooners within 53-48, but the Red Raiders scored the next seven points to restore their lead.
Singletary staved off the next rally by hitting a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to extend a five-point lead back to 67-57. But the Sooners kept coming.
Gallon followed Mason-Griffin's four point play with a right-handed jam to get Oklahoma within four, and Mason-Griffin's driving layup made it 72-69 with 2:12 to play. Crocker missed a potential tying 3-pointer before stealing the ball and hitting two free throws to make it a one-point game with 55.6 seconds left.
Roberson lost the ball out of bounds with 21.5 seconds left to give Oklahoma one last chance at the win, but Warren was off target from the left wing and Mason-Griffin's contested shot from the right side caromed off the rim.
Oklahoma ended up 6 for 26 from 3-point range.
"Too many threes," Capel said. "One of the things we talked about for two days with our guys is the fact that teams know that we're a three-point shooting team. ... I thought we settled entirely too much tonight for threes, especially when they weren't going in. It's a little bit different, like in the Texas game, when you're making them."
The Sooners, who are only 1-5 on the road this season, now start a two-game road trip hoping to salvage their season.
"It's going to be very big, especially if we want to make a run and be an NCAA Tournament team," Warren said. "We believe that we still have hope."