Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 21, 2013

Pledger leads Oklahoma past Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas — Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger was happy with his team's effort after Wednesday night's relatively easy 86-71 victory over Texas Tech.

"Guys really moved the ball well," Kruger said. "I thought they made the extra pass, shot it with confidence, made good plays for one another."

Steven Pledger scored 22 points for the Sooners and was 6 of 13 from 3-point range. Romero Osby added 21 points and nine rebounds, and Amath M'Baye had 15 points and 13 boards.

"I'm excited for him; that's big," teammate Sam Grooms said of M'Baye's double-double. "He's been down on himself a little bit lately. He hasn't been doing what he thinks he should do. . We've been on him to play like that. I'm happy for him today; he went out there and played hard. He rebounded, he dominated."

Josh Gray led the Red Raiders with a career-high 26 points — and earned Kruger's respect.

"He's not just a terrific young player, but he's a terrific player," Kruger said. "He's a guy that keeps pressure on you all the time, very quick with the ball. He's got a good ability to get into the paint and finish plays, very tough to stay in front of."

Jaye Crockett added 15 points and seven rebounds. Crockett's 3-pointer with 10:40 left in the first half gave the Red Raiders their only lead of the night, 18-16.

Late in the first half, Cameron Clark led a 14-3 run for the Sooners (17-8, 8-5 Big 12) to put them up 39-28 before Texas Tech cut the lead to eight at the half.

The Red Raiders (9-15, 2-11) got within four points on a Crockett 3-pointer 5 minutes into the second half, but that was the closest they would get the rest of the game.

Pledger, whose 22 points were a season high, now has scored in double figures in 14 of the last 18 games for Oklahoma.

The Sooners saw five players go into double digits, with Grooms scoring 12 points and Clark adding 10 points and five rebounds. In spreading the ball around so well, the Sooners totaled 17 assists, including five each by Grooms and M'Baye.

Gray had four steals, including back-to-back steals and layups with just over 9 minutes to go in the game. Gray single-handedly put Texas Tech back in the game with six points in roughly 20 seconds to cut a 15-point lead down to nine, 68-59.

Jordan Tolbert scored 10 points and grabbed seven boards for the Red Raiders.

Oklahoma outrebounded Texas Tech 39-29, but it didn't show with an increase in second-chance points made. What pushed the Sooners to victory were a few hot hands offensively.

The Sooners shot 53 percent from the field and limited the Red Raiders to only 41 percent. Osby and Clark helped boost that stat for the Sooners, shooting 7 of 11 and 5 of 6, respectively. Osby now has shot over 50 percent from the floor in 14 of his last 17 games.

"They were just extremely efficient tonight — they made every shot," Texas Tech coach Chris Walker said. "Every time we had a chance where we thought maybe we can make them do something different, they made the shot."

Texas Tech pulled within seven on a Gray free throw with around 7 minutes left in the game, but Osby and Grooms re-extended the lead for Oklahoma.

The Red Raiders dropped their seventh straight Big 12 game. Their last win came against Iowa State on Jan. 23.

Oklahoma returns home to take on Baylor on Saturday.

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