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January 25, 2014

OU drops Tech, 74-65

A 74-65 loss against No. 25 Oklahoma was not what Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith wanted, especially when 9,317 turned up at the United Spirit Arena to see the 'better than expected' Red Raiders for themselves.

He was disappointed with his boys. He let the public know it during his postgame press conference.

"We had a great crowd, we're at home," Smith said. "Our concentration level, you would think our guys, just by the sheer energy in the building, would make you play beyond your imagination. But that wasn't the case."

Only two Tech players escaped Smith's immediate criticism.

Those players were true freshman forward Alex Foster and senior guard Jamal Williams Jr. They were the only two Red Raiders of 10 which played that did not commit a turnover in a game that featured 11 Tech turnovers and 14 points for the Sooners off those turnovers in a nine-point margin of defeat.

"I thought Alex was outstanding," Smith said "He'll see more playing time because he played hard. He did it harder than anybody else. He and Jamal Williams, that's why they stood out, because they played harder than the rest of the guys that played. Simple as that."

Fielding a question regarding forward Dejan Kravic, who scored three points, recorded five rebounds and had two assists to one turnover, really got Smith.

"Yeah, well, I just said there were only two guys that played hard," the head coach said. "That kind of answers the question about Dejan. And the rest of them."

The Red Raiders (10-10, 2-4) made some runs that inspired the crowd and worked to within four points of Oklahoma (16-4, 5-2) with 11:26 to play and then again at the 6:27 mark of the second half, but they could never finish the job.

It didn't help just two Red Raiders, Jaye Crockett and Jordan Tolbert, got into double-digit scoring while Dusty Hannahs and Toddrick Gotcher combined for a 3-for-11 shooting performance from the field after being lights out earlier in the week.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, had three players score in double figures.

Buddy Hield scored 18 points for the Sooners, Cameron Clark had 17 points and Jordan Woodward had 15 points.

Tech needed a little more whether it be a foul call to go their way, a pass not deflected and then taken by the defense or just a few more shots to fall.

Crockett had four points with about seven minutes to go and then went on a personal 6-2 run against the Sooners which pushed the game to 59-54 after Oklahoma had started to build up the lead from four points the second and final time.

"I just wanted to be aggressive and give us some momentum," Crockett said. "We just weren't getting enough stops on defense. I think we just kept matching points. We did that in our last game at West Virginia, too. You can't do that in our league. Our defense was just killing us."

The Red Raiders actually beat the Sooners on the boards and the two teams tied at the free throw line with 13 made shots although Tech attempted three more.

Numbers such as 11 turnovers and 14 points off those turnovers really stand out.

"It wasn't anything the coaches could have done," Crockett said. "We just didn't play hard. We have to take that responsibility on ourselves and just change it. That's all we can do. It's nothing that you can practice. You can't practice going hard. It's just something you have to tell yourself you want to do and go out and do it."

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