OU extends winning streak to five games and improves to 3-0 in Big 12 play.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) --
| Texas Tech
Oklahoma forward Romero Osby's recent offensive surge continued Wednesday night against Texas Tech, and as a result, the Sooners seem primed for their biggest Big 12 Conference game in several years.
Osby scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half of Oklahoma's 81-63 win over Texas Tech, which extended the Sooners' winning streak to five games, matching their longest under second-year coach Lon Kruger.
Oklahoma (12-3, 3-0) remained tied atop the Big 12 standings with No. 4 Kansas and No. 16 Kansas State, heading into a showdown Saturday at K-State, Kruger's alma mater. At least a share of first place will be on the line.
"We are going to have to continue to play better," Kruger said. "Like Ro said, our challenge is to keep improving our habits and keep playing better basketball. We are playing better basketball right now and the challenge is to keep doing that and everything else will take care of itself. We need to focus on playing better each possession and certainly you have to do that, especially on the road in a tough place."
The Sooners have won seven of their last eight games in Norman against Texas Tech (8-7, 1-3). Dejan Kravic scored 20 points for the Red Raiders, who have lost three straight games after opening conference play by winning at TCU.
Oklahoma led almost all the way but had just a 34-29 halftime lead, that only because Andrew Fitzgerald scored 10 first-half points. Osby, who entered the game having averaged 15.9 points during the Sooners' previous seven games, had just two points on 1-of-3 shooting.
"The second half Ro came out with good energy and we definitely wanted to throw it inside to him," Kruger said. "He did a good job of getting into position in there a little bit more physically and finished the opportunities."
On Oklahoma's first possession of the second half, he got the basketball and nailed a jump shot over Kravic. Osby went on to score the Sooners' first four baskets of the half, and he and Buddy Hield, who scored 16 points, combined to score all of Oklahoma's 21 points in the first seven minutes of the half.
That allowed Oklahoma to stretch its lead to 13 points with 13:22 left and Texas Tech came no closer than six points after that.
"My coach and my teammates were finding me in certain spots," Osby said.
"I didn't have to make many individual moves. It was more of them just catching me when I was posted deep and catching me in certain spots and getting a couple of offensive rebounds. It's a testament to them."
Texas Tech coach Chris Walker said Osby came out noticeably more aggressive in the second half.
"He went right at us," Walker said. "Our game plan was to dig down a little bit and we just didn't do as good a job in the second half. That's two games in a row where we've played decent in the first half, and in the second half we lose focus on the game plan and it kind of gets away from us."
Texas Tech -- playing only its second road game of the season -- still was within 50-42 after a basket by Jordan Tolbert with 13:42 left, but Hield nailed a 3-pointer, then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored again to put the Sooners up 55-42.
"That was me trying to be aggressive," Hield said.
The Red Raiders pulled within 57-51 on a put-back by Kravic with 9:34 left, but the Sooners scored the next six points -- baskets by Fitzgerald and Hield and two free throws by Isaiah Cousins -- to restore their lead to double digits.
The Sooners had two turnovers in the second half after committing seven in the first half.
Oklahoma also continued its recent streak of quality free-throw shooting, finishing 22 of 26 (85 percent).
The Sooners have shot 70 percent or better from the line for nine straight games and have missed only nine free throws in their last four games.
Texas Tech went 8 of 13 from the line (62 percent).
"It just really came down to toughness for us the whole game," Walker said. "If we were a little bit tougher and rebounded the ball a little bit, I think it would have made a little bit of difference in the game.
"I'm not upset with my team. I thought we fought. I think we're a victim of inexperience. With each game, they show signs of getting better and better."
Hield finished with 16 points and seven rebounds for the Sooners, while Fitzgerald scored 12, Steven Pledger had 11 points and Cameron Clark had 10 points.
Jaye Crockett was the only other Texas Tech player to reach double figures in points, scoring 11 and grabbing 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.