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1:00 PM PT2:00 PM MT3:00 PM CT4:00 PM ET9:00 PM GMT5:00 PM 北京时间2:00 PM MST4:00 PM EST, Feb 9, 2019
Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma  Attendance: 9,463

No. 18 Texas Tech heads to Oklahoma feeling optimistic

A lot has changed since the first meeting between Texas Tech and Oklahoma earlier this season.

When the teams faced off Jan. 8 in Lubbock, the Red Raiders were 13-1, ranked No. 8 and looking like the most likely option to end Kansas' streak of 14 consecutive Big 12 Conference titles.

Oklahoma wasn't thought of that highly, but the Sooners were ranked and had only dropped two games to that point.

But coming into Saturday's second meeting between the teams, this one at Oklahoma, Texas Tech is still ranked at No. 18 but is tied -- with the Jayhawks -- for fourth place in the conference after dropping four of its last seven games.

The Sooners are in even worse shape, having lost six of their last nine, beginning with that 66-59 loss to Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders' recent problems have centered around their offense, which has scored more than 68 points just twice in Big 12 play. But those two games over 68 points have come recently, including in Monday's 81-50 home blowout of West Virginia.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said he's encouraged by the way his team reacted following last Saturday's 79-63 loss to Kansas.

"I thought there was a professionalism around our program the last two days," Beard said after the West Virginia victory. "A lot of truth telling. Credit to the players."

Beard said forward Malik Ondigo, who hasn't played since Jan. 19 and has played only one game since Big 12 play began, is getting closer to returning from a high-ankle sprain.

"I think Malik's getting real close to getting back on the practice floor," Beard said. "And then, as soon as he can practice, he'll play in games."

While Texas Tech is still in comfortable position as far as making the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, Oklahoma's hopes of making the tournament are fading fast.

The Sooners enter Saturday's game having lost three consecutive games, including a 30-point home loss to Baylor and a defeat at Big 12 cellar-dweller West Virginia.

Part of Oklahoma's struggles have come because of its inability to rebound effectively. The Sooners were expected to rely heavily on center Jamuni McNeace, but a December ankle injury has limited the senior. He has averaged just over 13 minutes per game over the last three contests, scoring two points in each game and grabbing a combined 10 rebounds.

Christian James has been the Sooners' leading scorer all season but hasn't scored more than 10 points in any of the last three games, shooting just 7 of 29 (24.1 percent) from the floor during the losing streak.

"Individually, I think Doo (Kristian Doolittle)'s doing an unbelievable job. Brady (Manek) is shooting the ball well. Christian, he keeps working at it," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. "We've got a lot of good things happening, we just have to keep working at it."

James said he expected his team to show fight Saturday.

"An opportunity to step up and play," James said. "That's what we're gonna do. These next couple games, we have to give it our all, and I feel this team's gonna do that."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 8, 2019

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