2:00 PM ET, March 12, 2005
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Bob Knight hates conference tournaments. Always has, swears he always will.This time, though, he'll be despising the Big 12 tournament finals from Texas Tech's bench. Knight's Red Raiders are in the title game for the first time in the conference's nine-year history, after beating No. 17 Oklahoma 69-63 on Saturday. "There's no greater opponent of postseason conference tournaments than I am, nor will there ever be," Knight said. "But it's here to be played, and we played right from the very beginning." Ronald Ross scored 28 points and Jarrius Jackson added 22 for the fourth-seeded Red Raiders, who led by as many as 11 points in the second half before top-seeded Oklahoma (24-7) made a late run. Jaison Williams tracked down an offensive rebound and hit a 3-pointer from the corner, pulling the Sooners within 64-61 with 38.5 seconds to go. Oklahoma scored only once more, though, on Terrell Everett's layup with 7.7 seconds to go, and Texas Tech (20-9) sealed the win by hitting 5-of-8 free throws down the stretch. "They out-toughed us today," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "We'll get it back." The Red Raiders will meet Oklahoma State (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP). The Sooners will wait to find out their draw in the NCAA Tournament. "We'll take Sunday off and probably Monday, too," Sampson said. "But we're going to get excited about next week." The Sooners, three-time Big 12 tournament champions and the regular-season co-champions, were denied their sixth trip to the title game. The Red Raiders drew 27 fouls and shot 24-for-33 from the line, compared to Oklahoma's 11-for-19. Ross hit 10-of-11 free throws and was perfect until he missed the front end of a two-shot foul in the closing seconds. Devonne Giles had 11 rebounds, nine on the defensive end, for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders gave up 10 offensive rebounds in the first half -- but only two in the second. "I mentioned -- I think rather subtly -- that if anybody gave up an offensive rebound in the second half they'd be shot," Knight said. "The message seemed to get through, and I didn't have to shoot anybody." Ross, a former walk-on who played his way into a spot on the All-Big 12 first team by his senior season, was held to 14 points when Oklahoma routed the Red Raiders 74-54 a week ago in the regular-season finale. But on Saturday, he came up big when Texas Tech needed him most. The Sooners, who were up 29-26 at the half, took a 41-40 lead when Johnnie Gilbert scored inside with just over 14 minutes remaining. Ross scored 12 points in a 16-4 run that gave Texas Tech a 56-45 lead with just over 5 minutes left, and Oklahoma never led again. "We just kept things under control," Ross said. "We made the shots, and shot the shots, that we were capable of shooting." Everett led the Sooners with 15 points. Kevin Bookout added 12 points and eight rebounds -- but had only two points and one rebound after the half. Lawrence McKenzie had 10 points for Oklahoma, and Taj Gray -- the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year -- led the Sooners with 11 rebounds. Gray was largely ineffective on offense, though, missing his first seven shots and finishing with eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. "He has to play harder," Sampson said. "He has to play smarter. But Taj is the reason we're here. I'd be shocked if he doesn't play great next week." Gray's struggles mirrored his team's. The Sooners also started 0-7 and shot just 38 percent for the game. "We got it in there and got some open looks," Gray said. "But the shots just weren't falling for us. We couldn't knock them down."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||21-50 (.420)||22-58 (.379)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-8 (.375)||8-22 (.364)|
|FT Made-Attempted||24-33 (.727)||11-19 (.579)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (0/0)||26 (0/0)|