No. 7 Texas Tech rallies for 66-59 win over 23rd-ranked OU
Culver scored 23 points, grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds and scored seven straight Texas Tech points to break a tie late in the second half, leading the No. 8 Red Raiders to a 66-59 win over 23rd-ranked Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
The sophomore put his hometown Red Raiders (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) ahead for good with a layup for a 53-51 lead with 4:22 remaining, then converted a three-point play to push the lead to five.
After Aaron Calixte hit a 3-pointer to get the Sooners back within two, Culver muscled through a crowd to rebound his own miss of a short bank shot and powered up over two defenders for a bucket and a 58-53 lead.
“Culver picks and chooses his spots,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “He’s playing against game plans and great defenders.”
Christian James scored 14 points for the Sooners (12-3, 1-2) and Brady Manek added 13, but Oklahoma shot 30 percent in the second half with 10 of its 14 turnovers in a second Big 12 loss against a Top 10 opponent.
“Guys on both teams fought like crazy,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “Right there at the critical stages, we didn’t get critical stops we needed. We turned it over, we didn’t take care of the ball and we had a couple of breakaways we didn’t finish in transition.”
The Sooners were up 40-33 after Manek hit a 3-pointer with 17:23 to play, but Brandone Francis sparked a 12-4 run by Texas Tech with a 3. Matt Mooney’s layup put Texas Tech in front before Manek hit another 3 to get Oklahoma even at 51-all.
Culver took over from there, finishing 8 of 13 from the field while scoring nine of Texas Tech’s final 15 points. It was his first double-double of the season and second of his career.
“He can do so many things,” Kruger said. “He can score from 3, he can drive and kick, he followed his own shot. He’s just a really good all-around player.”
Tariq Owens blocked four shots, Francis hit a pair of timely 3-pointers after making just two of 22 attempts over the previous seven games and Davide Moretti had 12 points, three steals and three assists.
Oklahoma: The Sooners dropped their second Big 12 game in the first three, but it’s hard to argue anybody has played a tougher early schedule. They still need more of an inside presence to get back on track.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders just keep winning because they make life miserable for opponents on the offensive end. Oklahoma shot 32 percent, right at Texas Tech’s nation-leading average for field goal defense.
CLINCHING FREE THROWS
The Red Raiders led by three with 21 seconds left when Moretti made two three throws, followed by a pair from Culver as the Red Raiders made all 17 from the line, including six in the final 45 seconds. Culver was 7 of 7 from the line.
Oklahoma: No. 25 TCU at home Saturday.
Texas Tech: At Texas on Saturday.