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After close losses, Oklahoma, Texas Tech seek first Big 12 triumph

Texas Tech guard De'Vion Harmon (23), center, passes the ball against Kansas during the Big 12 basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, at United Supermarkets Arena.

It’s a little early for either Oklahoma or Texas Tech to be in must-win mode when it comes to the Big 12 race and hopes of an NCAA Tournament spot.

But headed into Saturday’s matchup between the two in Lubbock, Texas, the urgency is heightening.

Both have dropped their first two conference games — all to ranked competition — and none of the four games have been decided by more than six points.

“They’re very similar to us,” Red Raiders coach Mark Adams said of Oklahoma. “They’re hungry like we are.”

Texas Tech (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) is coming off a 75-72 home loss to No. 3 Kansas that could’ve proven much more costly than just the narrow defeat.

During a sequence in the closing seconds, Red Raiders guard Pop Isaacs suffered a head injury while forward Daniel Batcho dislocated a finger. Adams said both were questionable for Saturday’s game.

Batcho is Texas Tech’s leading rebounder at 7.8 per game while adding 11.4 points. Isaacs is averaging 10.9 points.

Adams said consistency has been the biggest thing missing lately for the Red Raiders.

“It’s still a young team that’s learning,” Adams said. “We’ve got to get 20 minutes first half, 20 minutes second half and put them together.”

The Sooners (9-5, 0-2) are coming off a 63-60 home loss to No. 25 Iowa State that followed a one-point loss to No. 6 Texas.

Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said it’s been a matter of inches that has kept his team from breaking through.

“That’s what we’ve got to keep pushing for — that inch,” Moser said. “We’ve got to keep pushing.”

Only one of Oklahoma’s losses has come by more than four points and none have come by more than 10.

“I just think we’ve got to learn how to win,” forward Jalen Hill said. “There are 17 more games left. … We’ve just got to keep getting better and keep our heads high.”

Hill is the only player remaining on Oklahoma’s roster from when De’Vion Harmon, Texas Tech’s second-leading scorer, played for the Sooners from 2019-21. Harmon transferred to Oregon last season and then to the Red Raiders this season. He’s averaging 11.7 points and 3.7 assists per game.

–Field Level Media