A foul mood

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS - Ryan Aber raber@ oklahoman.com

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.”

[AP PHOTO]

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.

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