By John Shinn
Transcript Sports Writer
LUBBOCK, Texas — Oklahoma’s string of heart-stopping finishes continued Monday night at Texas Tech. And for the second straight game it was the Sooners who were jumping for joy at the end.
Kevin Bookout’s left-handed tip of a Terrell Everett miss with 4.5 seconds remaining gave the No. 20 Sooners a 71-70 victory over the Red Raiders.
The Sooners were coming off an 83-82 victory over Iowa State Saturday in which Michael Neal scored nine points in the final minute, pulling victory from the jaws of defeat.
Monday night’s performance was eerily similar.
Neal scored 18 points on 5 of 8 3-point shooting. The only difference was Bookout was the one the Sooners swarmed after Jarrius Jackson’s 16-footer clanged off the rim at the buzzer.
“I just applaud our kids’ toughness,” OU coach Kelvin Sampson said.
Bookout scored 12 points and pulled down four rebounds. He was the only post presence the Sooners had in the final minute after Taj Gray fouled out with 68 seconds left.
Moving to his left from the right baseline, Bookout tipped the ball in with the same left hand he’s been wearing a cast on due to a broken wrist suffered Jan. 21 in OU’s 60-48 victory over the Red Raiders at Lloyd Noble Center.
“When Terrell threw that little floater up there I was lucky enough to be in the right position,” Bookout said.
The Sooners improved to 18-6 overall and 9-4 in the Big 12. They remain alone in third place with three regular-season games remaining. The Red Raiders fell to 14-13 overall and 6-7 in conference play.
Texas Tech battled back from a 10-point deficit with 8 minutes remaining and were within a finger tip of splitting regular-season meetings with OU for the third straight season.
“I told them if we just hung in there we’d have a chance to win the game, which we did,” Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said. “The ball lands in our hands we win, the ball lands in their hands, they win.”
Neal spurred the Sooners to the 10-point lead, hitting four 3-pointers in a six-possession span to make it 60-50. He only attempted two shots in the first half.
“I knew I had to be patient coming in,” Neal said. “I knew they were going to be up in me trying to take me away.”
The Red Raiders sprinted back into the lead on Martin Zeno’s free throws with 1:08 left.
Jackson was the reason why. He followed up Saturday’s 41-point performance in Texas Tech’s 70-64 victory at Nebraska with 27 against the Sooners, 17 coming in the second half.
“I don’t know if there’s any guard in our league that’s playing better than Jackson,” Sampson said.
Zeno added 15 for the Red Raiders, who shot 45.1 percent (23-for-51). Jon Plefka added 11.
The Sooners shot 42.6 percent (23-for-54) and received 13 points and 13 rebounds from Gray. Everett added 10.
OU-Texas Tech Postgame
• What’s next: Oklahoma, now 18-6 overall and 9-4 in the Big 12 Conference after Monday night’s 71-70 victory at Texas Tech, returns to Lloyd Noble Center at 3 p.m. Saturday to play host to Kansas State .
• Keep an eye on: OU’s turnovers. The Sooners have been plagued by giveaways all season, averaging 14 a game. But the 15 they coughed up Monday were the biggest reason Texas Tech was still in the game in the final minutes. The Red Raiders scored 22 points off turnovers and used them to fuel a late run to take the lead in the final minute. It’s late February and turnover numbers like those must decrease as OU enters the postseason
• Interesting development: Longar Longar. Sooner coach Kelvin Sampson turned to the little used 6-foot-11 sophomore Monday and received some quality minutes. Longar pulled down six rebounds and scored four points in 14 minutes. It was the first time he had played extended minutes in a conference game that wasn’t against Baylor. He could see more playing time in the coming games.
• Notes of note: Michael Neal was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Week Monday. Neal averaged 27.5 points in OU’s games against Colorado and Iowa State. It was the second time Neal has received the honor this season …OU outrebounded Texas Tech 45-24 and has beat 28 of its last 32 opponents on the boards … Six of OU’s 13 conference games have been decided by two points or less … Neal has made at least two 3-pointers in 20 of 24 games.
— John Shinn
By John Shinn
This Week's Circulars
Harold Baird Emery, 94, Norman, passed away July 6, 2020. Memorial service, 11:00 AM, Thursday, July 16, First Baptist Church, 211 W. Comanche St, Norman. Inurnment at Warren Cemetery, Norman. Under the direction of Tribute Memorial Care, Norman. www.tribute.care
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