Soaring No. 24 Texas Tech travels to improving Oklahoma State

NCAA Men's Basketball
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Texas Tech is a team no one wants to play right now, as the No. 24 Red Raiders are beginning to hit their stride after a rough stretch to open the Big 12 Conference campaign.

But the same thing could be said about Oklahoma State, which has been playing its best basketball of late. That’s what makes Saturday afternoon’s battle in Stillwater between the Red Raiders and Cowboys an interesting matchup.

The Red Raiders (16-8, 7-4 Big 12) head east after a dominating 88-42 win at home over TCU on Monday, in which Texas Tech scored more points in the first half (45) than the Horned Frogs did the whole game.

Texas Tech avenged a 65-54 loss to the Horned Frogs on Jan. 21 to even the season series. The Red Raiders had a season-high 13 3-pointers, shot a season-best 60.4 percent from the field and limited TCU to only 26.7 percent shooting while forcing 20 turnovers.

“We always look at the defense first,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “To hold a good team, that’s well coached, to a low percentage in the field, you have to give our guys credit. On offense, it’s always nice to have balance and have guys in double figures and sharing the ball. That’s always our idea of how to win around here.”

Texas Tech had a season-low six turnovers and saw five players in double-figure scoring.

“We were the more aggressive team,” Texas Tech guard Davide Moretti said after scoring 17 points that included four 3-pointers. “We played a completely different game than what we played at TCU. We did a great job of coming out the tougher team on the floor tonight.”

Oklahoma State, meanwhile, returns home after a 64-59 win at Kansas State on Tuesday, the Cowboys’ third victory in their past six games and second in the last three outings.

Yor Anei scored 15 on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the floor and took seven rebounds for Oklahoma State in its win, while Lindy Waters III added 12 points, Jonathan Laurent hit for 11, and Cameron McGriff tallied 10 points for the Cowboys (12-12, 2-9).

It was the Cowboys’ first win at Kansas State since 2017. They shot 51.2 percent overall but really shined in the second half, when they made 13 of 16 field-goal attempts, an impressive 81.3 percent.

“We were really conscious about trying to play inside first and second and third,” Cowboys coach Mike Boynton said. “Really wanted to focus on just getting the ball to the paint as much as possible, getting ourselves to the free-throw line as much as possible.”

Oklahoma State shot a season-low eight 3-pointers, with Anei and senior Waters III making the only two.

“I like to think that we’re a good 3-point shooting team, but you gotta let the numbers tell you some of the story, too,” Boynton said. “The numbers show we just haven’t shot it well for whatever reason. We had to try to find other ways to have success.”

That seems to be working for Oklahoma State. But it remains to be seen how its recent success will translate to stopping surging Texas Tech, which defeated OSU by 35 points on Jan. 4 in Lubbock, Texas.

–Field Level Media

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