Texas Tech 48

(10-9, 2-3 Big 12)

(25) Oklahoma 60

(11-4, 2-2 Big 12)

1:00 PM ET, January 21, 2006

Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma

1 2 T
TTU 12 3648
#25OKLA 32 2860

Top Performers

Texas Tech: M. Zeno 13 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Oklahoma: T. Everett 11 Pts, 1 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

Neal's shooting helps Sooners hold off Texas Tech

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Painful injuries to his thumb, heel and groin affected every part of Michael Neal's shot and kept him out of Oklahoma's lineup for two Big 12 losses.

He couldn't stay out any longer.

Neal scored 15 points and hit four 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes to help the Sooners (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) fend off Texas Tech's second-half rally for a 60-48 win over the Red Raiders on Saturday.

The junior college transfer hurt his thumb in November, Achilles' tendon in December and groin this month. It's the latter injury that's affecting him the most now.

"I get treatment every day, sometimes twice a day. I've got to get this thing better," Neal said.

Still, Neal was on the floor when it counted, and Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson was calling his number.

The Red Raiders (10-9, 2-3 Big 12), who trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half, pulled to 40-38 when Jon Plefka hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line to cap a 17-1 run.

Austin Johnson made a pair of free throws to get Oklahoma's offense going and Taylor Griffin's two-handed dunk ended an 8-minute field goal drought and moved the Sooners' lead to 45-38.

Terrell Everett added a free throw, then set up Kevin Bookout for a layup before Neal's first 3-pointer extended the lead to 51-40. Neal, Oklahoma's top 3-point shooter, also hit 3s on the next three possessions, with the last putting the Sooners up 60-44.

"When the game got tight, out of every timeout we would run something for Michael," Sampson said.

Neal missed Oklahoma's first two conference games with a groin injury, and the Sooners (11-4, 2-2 Big 12) lost by one point to Nebraska and two points to Missouri. Without him, the Sooners were 8-for-35 from 3-point range in the two losses.

"We could have won both of those games without me. That's a no-brainer," Neal said. "But whenever they lose, you just feel you could have done something to help them out."

He returned in time for Oklahoma's 45-44 win over Texas A&M last Saturday. The Sooners had never before played four straight games decided by two points or less, and Neal ensured it wouldn't happen against Tech.

He was 4-for-7 from 3-point range and finished one point shy of matching his career high. Everett scored 11 and Johnson had 10 while Taj Gray had 11 rebounds and Bookout pulled down 10 boards. Oklahoma outrebounded Tech 38-23.

The losses without Neal knocked the Sooners from No. 12 to 25th in the AP poll.

"I always knew what was wrong. We lost a one-point game and a two-point game without our best shooter," Sampson said. "I said, `When we get him back, we're a lot better shooting team."

Neal was feeling good enough to get to the gym each day this week early in the morning to work on his shot, something he did on summer mornings before the season started.

"I'm still not 100 percent, but this past week I got a lot of time to rest," Neal said.

He missed his first three 3-point tries, but was on target when it mattered the most.

"Once you hit that first one, you automatically feel good about yourself," Neal said. "You think the next shot is going to go in, so you just shoot it with confidence. You just totally relax out there."

Jarrius Jackson, the Big 12's second-leading scorer at 19.3 points per game, scored all 15 of his points in the second half and Martin Zeno added 13 for Tech.

"We brought the game back to a point and sometimes when things get going your way, they start to get going against you," Tech coach Bob Knight said. "It's really difficult to get it going back your way."

Early on, the Sooners were poised to run away with the game.

Everett scored eight points and Johnson hit two 3-pointers as Oklahoma capitalized on Tech turnovers on four straight possessions for a 16-2 lead.

Griffin added back-to-back baskets to start another Oklahoma run, and Longar Longar banked in a hook shot from the right block to give the Sooners a 27-5 advantage.

The Red Raiders trailed 32-12 after shooting 5-for-21 (24 percent) in the first half, but were able to close in as the Sooners went on a scoring shortage of their own.

Jackson hit a 3-pointer to start Tech's comeback and he and Zeno had five points apiece as the Raiders closed to within two.

Tech was 11-for-20 (55 percent) in the second half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 48 60
FG Made-Attempted 16-41 (.390) 23-55 (.418)
3P Made-Attempted 4-9 (.444) 6-16 (.375)
FT Made-Attempted 12-14 (.857) 8-12 (.667)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
Largest Lead 0 22

2005-06 Season

» Jan 21, 2006 @OKLA 60, TTU 48Recap
Feb 20, 2006 OKLA 71, @TTU 70Recap