Coming off a 66-64 loss to West Virginia, the Texas Tech men’s basketball team (9-14, 2-10 in Big 12 Conference play) will look to put a halt to a six-game losing streak when it hosts Oklahoma (16-8, 7-5) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in United Spirit Arena.
The team nearly pulled off an upset when freshman guard Josh Gray missed a last-second shot against West Virginia. Tech lost against West Virginia by two points, a much smaller margin than the previous encounter with the Mountaineers where the Red Raiders lost by 16.
“Anytime you can go in and fight with a good team like West Virginia, that brings you confidence,” Tech junior forward Jaye Crockett said. “We are not happy with the loss, but we are happy with the way we played, and we can just build off that.”
Having lost on a last-second play, Crockett said he thinks back to the game and feels as if Tech could have won by 10 if they had executed their style of basketball throughout the game.
“I have a lot of confidence with this Oklahoma team coming in and I feel like it will be a battle,” he said.
Tech coach Chris Walker said he and his team are eager to come back home and play well in front of Red Raider fans.
“For us, we really want to play hard at home; we really want to redeem ourselves from the (loss to) Oklahoma State, because we are a lot better than that,” he said. “Bottom line is, we are a much better fit than that team that played last week.”
If the Red Raiders hope to defeat Oklahoma, they will likely need contributions from the whole team. During Tech’s most recent game against West Virginia, the Red Raiders had four players in double-digit scoring.
Walker said he told his team they need to put forth an immense amount of effort in order for the team to be successful in Wednesday’s matchup.
“I am not going to look at the scoreboard to see if my team’s on that floor,” he said. “I am going to look at the way you guys play the game.”
The last time Oklahoma met Tech, the Red Raiders lost by 18 points in Norman.
“The first time, at their place, we had a great chance — we stayed with them, and then a run came about and we did not respond well,” Tech freshman guard Dusty Hannahs said. “But I think this game, we should be able to be ready.”
Walker said he needs his team to play with aggression.
“I’m going to make sure my guys understand that if they come out, and they play hard, and they play together, and they minimize mistakes, and we get 50/50 balls that do not give up shots, we have an excellent chance to beat anybody in this league on any given night,” he said.
After their encounter with Oklahoma, Tech will have a limited amount of time to prepare for its next conference matchup, for which the Red Raiders will hit the road to face the Iowa State Cyclones. Despite defeating Iowa State in their previous matchup, Tech will face a hostile atmosphere in Ames, as the Cyclones are undefeated at home in conference play.