Two questions come to mind when looking at Wednesday night's game between Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
The first is how this Oklahoma team has managed to lose seven games this year with as much talent as the Sooners have. The second, how the heck did Texas Tech manage to beat Iowa State on Saturday?
Both questions came to the forefront thanks to the bludgeoning the Sooners delivered to the Red Raiders at Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma snapped a two-game losing streak with an 81-36 romp.
The 36 points allowed set a new Big 12 record for fewest points allowed in a Big 12 conference game.
For a team that has struggled in crunch time this year, the Sooners took care of business early against the Red Raiders, using a 31-1 run over the end of the first half and first seven minutes of the second half to turn a 26-16 slugfest into a 57-17 beatdown. It was stunning this same Texas Tech team pulled off an upset of then-No. 9 Iowa State in Lubbock just four days prior.
Whatever magic Texas Tech used to stun the Cyclones on Saturday was all used up by the time the Red Raiders took the court against the Sooners. Oklahoma held Tech to a measly 21.2 percent from the field. Tech made just 11 shots and 17 turnovers. The Red Raiders had just two assists for the entire game, one in each half.
Meanwhile, the Sooners looked terrific across the board, hitting 52.5 percent from the field and committing just nine turnovers. Oklahoma was particularly active on the defensive end, blocking 10 shots—five of those from freshman Khadeem Lattin—and picking up 10 steals which led to 18 fastbreak points for the Sooners. Oklahoma also finished with 32 points off Texas Tech turnovers.
The win came at a key time for the Sooners, which came into the game having lost four of their last five. With a Bedlam tilt in Stillwater upcoming, it was important for Oklahoma to shake off the rust and get back to playing how they played at the beginning of conference play.
After a slow start, the Sooners simply ran Texas Tech right out of the gym. Ryan Spangler led the way with a season-high 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Buddy Hield added 15 points and Isaiah Cousins had 13 points. Cousins played with a wrap on his right wrist after spraining it against Baylor on Saturday. The injury hasn't seemed to faze him, as he made five straight 3-pointers over two games after sustaining the injury.
Stan Mays and Robert Turner each scored eight points to lead Texas Tech.
Wednesday began arguably the easiest stretch of conference play for the Sooners, a stretch Oklahoma must take advantage of if it wants to climb up the Big 12 standings and prepare for a deep run in March. Defense leading to easy buckets is a great formula for winning basketball, as the Sooners discovered against Texas Tech. More of that will have the Sooners back in the thick of the Big 12 race.