Texas Tech was left for dead just two weeks ago after losing for the seventh time in eight games, but coach Tubby Smith’s team has given itself new life with a stunning three-game winning streak over ranked opponents that culminated Wednesday when the Red Raiders took down No. 2 Oklahoma.
The Red Raiders have work to do to make more out their resurgence than simply a fun stretch of basketball, but they can longer be counted out of the NCAA Tournament discussion. Consecutive wins over Iowa State, Baylor and now the Sooners puts Texas Tech into the bubble conversation but its going to have to keep winning to stay there.
Texas Tech upsets No. 3 Oklahoma 65-63 pic.twitter.com/uUtxOH3jbZ
— Phil Terrigno (@philterrigno) February 18, 2016
The Red Raiders held the nation’s best 3-point shooting team to a 6-for-23 performance Wednesday and national player of the year candidate Buddy Hield scored only 16, going 3-for-10 behind the arc himself.
Aaron Ross scored 17 points off the bench for Texas Tech and Keenan Evans scored 14 as the Red Raiders limited their turnovers to nine and competed for every rebound and loose ball in a tight game from start to finish.
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The loss likely knocks Oklahoma out of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, at least for now, though other competing teams for those seeds such as Iowa and North Carolina also lost Wednesday.
The Sooners had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but failed to get Hield even a touch as the clock drained. After a timeout with 14 seconds remaining, Isaiah Cousins took the inbound pass, surveyed the court and then drove to the left throwing a lob toward the rim that was high and off-target for forward Khadeem Lattin.
Ryan Spangler grabbed the offensive rebound but his short layup came up short off the front of the rim and the Red Raiders claimed the ball and their best victory of the Tubby Smith era in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders are 16-9 overall and 6-7 in the rugged Big 12 with more opportunities to help themselves before the regular season ends. They still must play at Kansas and West Virginia. The thing about Smith's team is it doesn't have anything resembling a really ugly loss. It's worst setbacks are Arkansas and Kansas State. Don't count out the Red Raiders just yet.
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