|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 PM GMT10:00 PM 北京时间7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST, Jan 8, 2019
United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, Texas Attendance: 14,090
Oklahoma-Texas Tech Preview
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In Big 12 Conference play, expecting easy offense is mostly a pipe dream. When No. 8 Texas Tech entertains No. 23 Oklahoma on Tuesday night, another grind-it-out defensive showdown is on the menu.
The Red Raiders (13-1, 2-0) have won two such games -- at West Virginia and Saturday at home against Kansas State, with the two wins coming by nine total points.
The Sooners (12-2, 1-1) are equally as tested with a road loss at Kansas and a home victory in the first of their annual Bedlam showdowns with Oklahoma State.
Texas Tech and Oklahoma rank 1-2 in the league in field-goal percentage defense (33.4 percent for the Red Raiders and 37.5 percent for the Sooners) and are in the upper echelon of nearly every defensive statistical category.
Tech has vaulted into the national spotlight on the back of that defense, which has been so stingy that the Raiders are the only team in the country that has not allowed 70 points in a game this season.
"They guard differently than anybody," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said after his team shot 33.3 percent (19 of 57) and missed its first 13 shots from the field in a 63-57 setback. "They kind of play on your ego. They push you to drive to the hoop and you got to make the right play. They lead the country in taking charges. You've got to go in there and make the right play."
Oklahoma operates a bit differently, especially with big man Jamuni McNeace limited by an ankle injury. McNeace missed most of the second half against Oklahoma State and has missed several games.
Like Tech, the undersized Sooners are aggressive in the passing lanes and force foes into shots they may not want. But the Sooners don't have a menacing shot-blocking presence like the Red Raiders; Tariq Owens averages 2.4 rejections per game.
Still, Oklahoma has been tough to score against, in large part because they rebound the ball well, and that looms as a key on Tuesday. The Sooners grab more rebounds per game (43.5) than anybody in the league and own a plus-5.9 margin on the glass. The Raiders allow only 30.9 rebounds a game.
Neither team has been dynamic offensively, both relying on a go-to scorer to set the pace. Tech's Jarrett Culver is the second-leading scorer in the Big 12 (18.7 points per game), while Sooners' guard Christian James is fourth (17.1). Both players have been the focus of opposing defenses in early league games.
Culver battled foul trouble at West Virginia and didn't score a point in the first half before notching 18 in the second half. K-State limited him to a season-low nine points.
James made only 4 of 15 shots against Kansas and missed seven of his first 10 attempts Saturday. But he bounced back to register 14 points and 11 rebounds against Oklahoma State.
"I just took a little bit of extra time to focus on my mechanics," James said. "It felt good, gave me a little confidence."
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders got a jolt of confidence from another defensive gem against Kansas State. Third-year coach Chris Beard said the way his team clamped down in the first half was particularly valuable.
"We won the game in the first half," Beard said. "We scored (34 points) against Kansas State in the first half, and that's a lot of points against their defense. Our defense was locked in. We basically won the game in the first half and made enough plays late to survive.
"This is what the Big 12 is. I would love to come out here and play well for 38 minutes, but that's not the reality of this league."
Updated January 7, 2019