Phoenix staff, wire reports
NORMAN — Oklahoma forward Romero Osby’s recent offensive surge continued Wednesday night against Texas Tech, and as a result, the Sooners seem primed for their biggest Big 12 Conference game in several years.
Osby scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half of Oklahoma’s 81-63 win over Texas Tech, which extended the Sooners’ winning streak to five games, matching their longest under second-year coach Lon Kruger.
Oklahoma (12-3, 3-0) remained tied atop the Big 12 standings with No. 4 Kansas and No. 16 Kansas State, heading into a showdown Saturday at K-State, Kruger’s alma mater. At least a share of first place will be on the line.
“We are going to have to continue to play better," Kruger said. "Like Ro said, our challenge is to keep improving our habits and keep playing better basketball. We are playing better basketball right now and the challenge is to keep doing that and everything else will take care of itself. We need to focus on playing better each possession and certainly you have to do that, especially on the road in a tough place."
“The Sooners have won seven of their last eight games in Norman against Texas Tech (8-7, 1-3). Dejan Kravic scored 20 points for the Red Raiders, who have lost three straight games after opening conference play by winning at TCU.
Oklahoma led almost all the way but had just a 34-29 halftime lead, that only because Andrew Fitzgerald scored 10 first-half points. Osby, who entered the game having averaged 15.9 points during the Sooners’ previous seven games, had just two points on 1-of-3 shooting.
"The second half Ro came out with good energy and we definitely wanted to throw it inside to him," Kruger said. "He did a good job of getting into position in there a little bit more physically and finished the opportunities."
On Oklahoma’s first possession of the second half, he got the basketball and nailed a jump shot over Kravic. Osby went on to score the Sooners’ first four baskets of the half, and he and Buddy Hield, who scored 16 points, combined to score all of Oklahoma’s 21 points in the first seven minutes of the half.
That allowed Oklahoma to stretch its lead to 13 points with 13:22 left and Texas Tech came no closer than six points after that.
"My coach and my teammates were finding me in certain spots," Osby said.
NSU 80, UCO 71
EDMOND — Scorching shooting by a trio helped RiverHawks (11-4, 4-3 MIAA) snap a three-game losing skid, while also halting the Bronchos (6-9, 4-3 MIAA) recent three-game win streak. Northeastern State earned its first win over UCO in Edmond since Feb. 4, 2009.
Senior forward Jermaine Bransford paced NSU with 22 points and nine rebounds, while playing all 40 minutes. He was 8-for-10 from the field and 6 of 7 at the free-throw line. Junior forward Marcus Sheppard recorded a career-best 20 points. Junior guard Bryton Hobbs was 13-for-13 from the free-throw line and finished with 19 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Senior guard Ethan Anderson added 10 points.
NSU shot 48 percent from the field (22-for-46), 28 percent from behind the arc (5-for-18) and 86 percent from the charity stripe (31-for-36). The 31 made free throws was the most in a game by Northeastern State since Jan. 13, 2010 against Cameron.
“We put ourselves in situations to get fouled,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “We attacked them both inside and outside. We were able to penetrate.
“Their scheme is to switch up the defenses, and I thought that would give us some advantages. They have some quicker players in spots, especially when they were in a zone. We’re normally a good free-throw shooting team, but it was certainly an improvement over the last couple games.”
NSU hosts No. 10 Washburn in a 3:30 p.m. tipoff on Saturday.
TU 45, UTEP 42
TULSA — Kauri Black scored 11 points and James Woodard added 10 to lead Tulsa to a 45-42 victory against UTEP on Wednesday night.
The Golden Hurricane (11-7, 3-1 Conference USA) won a game marred by cold shooting and turnovers, with the last miscue giving the Miners (9-7, 2-1) a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation. UTEP’s McKenzie Moore made a steal with four seconds left and got the ball to Konner Tucker, but his 3-point try missed.
John Bohannon had 11 points for the Miners, who shot just 31.4 percent (16 of 51) from the floor en route to their second loss in eight games. Tucker, UTEP’s leading scorer, was held to seven points on 3 of 13 shooting.
The teams combined for 28 turnovers.
Tulsa took the lead for good while the Miners went scoreless for a 5:25 second-half stretch. Black had four points during the 9-0 run by the Golden Hurricane, who shot 40 percent (18 of 45) for the game.
The 87 points were the lowest by TU in Reynolds Center history.
Auburn 80 (2 OT)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — BJ Young’s late 3-pointer in double overtime and Marshawn Powell’s 28 points helped Arkansas hold on to secure an 88-80 win over Auburn on Wednesday night.
The win was the second straight for the Razorbacks (11-5, 2-1 SEC), who survived the hot-shooting Tigers and guard Frankie Sullivan’s five second-half 3-pointers. Young added 22 points and Mardracus Wade had 12. Powell had 21 points in the second half and overtimes, finishing with his second-highest point total of the season.
Sullivan led Auburn (8-8, 2-1) with 26 points,