NORMAN, Okla. – Senior forward Cameron Clark said he could sense it coming. Something was off for Oklahoma heading into what many expected to be a comfortable victory against visiting Texas Tech.
The theme all season in the Big 12 has been every game is a grind. If OU didn’t believe that before, it certainly does now as the Sooners dropped a 68-60 decision to the Red Raiders on Wednesday evening at Lloyd Noble Center.
OU has now dropped three of its last four games but none of them hurt as much as what happened at home against Tech.
Road losses are expected in the conference, especially against some of the top tier teams. But after having already beaten the Red Raiders in Lubbock last month, perhaps OU (18-7, 7-5) didn’t have the fire that it is known for this season.
It was evident in the first half as there is no doubt the Sooners played their worst 20 minutes of the season in trailing 37-21.
Things went from bad to worse at the start of the second half before OU woke up. The Sooners trailed 47-27 with 13 minutes left before trying to stage a memorable comeback.
OU got as close as 51-48, going on a 21-4 run in the process but could never get over the hump and never worked it back to a one possession game the rest of the contest.
It was the Sooners bench that provided the spark during the run as guard Je’lon Hornbeak scored all nine of his points during that stretch and freshman guard Frank Booker drained two 3-pointers.
The Booker conversions were a rare sight on this night. Coming off making a season-high 14 3-pointers against Baylor, the Sooners were ice cold from downtown.
OU finished an awful 22 percent on its 3-point field goals, converting a mere 6 of 27 attempts.
The hallmark of OU’s season has been when one player couldn’t bring it, somebody else would step up. It didn’t happen this time. Clark led the team with 16 points, but sophomore guard Buddy Hield had a game he would like to forget.
Hield finished 1 of 13 from the floor, including making just 1 of 10 3-point field goal attempts. Hield also had four turnovers as the team had 14 giveaways compared to just 11 assists.
It’s going to be a gut check game for both OU and Oklahoma State in the Bedlam showdown Saturday afternoon in Stillwater. Both in-state schools are coming off tough outings and desperately need to get back on track.
The loss moved OU from third place in the conference to fifth with a lot more battles still left to be waged.