A foul mood
Foul trouble hampered Oklahoma on Tuesday night against Texas Tech as the Sooners lost their fourth straight game.
LUBBOCK, TEXAS — Lon Kruger planned on using some zone defense against Texas Tech on Tuesday night.
He didn’t plan on being forced into the zone.
In the second half of the Red Raiders’ 88-78 win at United Supermarkets Arena, Oklahoma dealt with foul trouble on the perimeter.
In the critical last eight minutes of the game, Trae Young picked up his third and fourth fouls in less than 45 seconds.
Christian James picked up his fourth with just more than five minutes remaining.
Kristian Doolittle was called for three in the final 3:32, fouling out with the last of those with 0:46 remaining.
The Sooners played better defense overall than they’d done in several games, but that also led to more fouls.
Oklahoma was called for a season-high 25 against Tech.
“I think we did pretty good,” Kameron McGusty said. “We got under all their little screens and their slips and we made it hard for them. A lot of their shots came at the end of the shot clock.”
Texas Tech averaged 18 seconds per possession against the Sooners, and 10 offensive rebounds helped the Red Raiders extend quite a few other possessions. Only one of those offensive rebounds came after halftime, though.
The Sooners have largely avoided getting into foul trouble much this season outside of big men Khadeem Lattin and Jamuni McNeace.
Before Tuesday, Sooners players had fouled out of games just three times. One of those was Matt Freeman’s twominute spate of fouls against Kansas that was part of Kruger’s strategy to put the Jayhawks’ Udoka Azubuike at the free-throw line.
Entering Tuesday, the Sooners had 25 times this season had a player pick up at least four fouls. More than half of those — 13 — were by either Lattin or McNeace.
Kruger came into the game expecting to go to a zone look after having success with it when Tech went to its fiveguard lineup during the teams’ first meeting this season.
But against the Red Raiders, foul trouble rather than simple game strategy dictated when the Sooners had to show a different defensive look.
“Tech does a great job with their motion,” Kruger said. “You’ve got to show your hand and you’ve got to do a good job of staying in position. We picked up a couple fouls grabbing them on cuts and you can’t do that.”
The Sooners have dropped four consecutive games going into Saturday’s home game against Texas (11 a.m., ESPN).
For Young, the secret to getting things turned around is simple.
But simple is not easy. “Get a win,” Young said. “We’ve got to get a win. That’s the ultimate key is getting a win and letting that roll over to the next game. I know we’ll be ready Saturday and I can’t wait to get back in front of our home crowd and get that home-court advantage back and we’ll get it right Saturday.”
Oklahoma’s Kristian Doolittle (21) was one of a handful of Sooners who were in foul trouble late in the Sooners’ 88-78 loss at Texas Tech on Tuesday night.