NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — If Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger ever needs to emphasize the importance of playing great defense, he’ll have a 40-minute how-to video in the archives.
The Sooners allowed the fewest points ever by a Big 12 team in a conference game, and No. 24 Oklahoma defeated Texas Tech 81-36 on Wednesday night. The Sooners eclipsed the league record of 37 points set by Texas against Oklahoma in 2004 and matched by Oklahoma against Texas A&M in 2008.
“From start to finish, I thought the focus was really good,” Kruger said. “Defensively, early, we were able to get on top of some things and create a little bit of offense from defense. A lot of guys played well. Most important, our focus and attention defensively was pretty good.”
Oklahoma’s offense wasn’t bad, either. Ryan Spangler scored a season-high 20 points, Buddy Hield scored 15 points and Isaiah Cousins added 13 for the Sooners (13-7, 4-4 Big 12), who had lost 4 of 5, with three of the losses against ranked opponents.
“Coach has been preaching to us that somebody has got to light the fire,” Spangler said. “I think all of us did that today.”
Texas Tech upset Oklahoma 68-60 in Norman last year, but the Sooners had this game in hand quickly and held Tech to 21 percent shooting.
“I don’t know, I really didn’t see this coming,” Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. “I thought we were prepared. We missed some shots early on and the rest of it was downhill. We just lost our confidence.”
Tech (11-10, 1-7) was coming off a win over No. 9 Iowa State last Saturday that snapped a six-game losing skid, and followed it with the worst margin of defeat of Smith’s coaching career.
“I told the guys, ‘Fellas, this may be the worst loss I’ve ever been a part of,” Smith said. “The worst beating I’ve ever had. We just kind of, I don’t know, gave up. We couldn’t make a shot and they were making all of theirs. It snowballed.”
Texas Tech had just seven points nearly 14 minutes into the game. Oklahoma’s Frank Booker drained a 3-pointer that put the Sooners up 22-11 with about 5 minutes left in the first half.
Hield, bottled up for most of the first half, made a 3 with 3 seconds left to give the Sooners a 37-16 lead at the break. Spangler had 12 points and three blocks in the first 20 minutes.
Oklahoma held Tech to 25 percent shooting before the break. Tech barely avoided its lowest-scoring half of the season, eclipsing the 14 the Red Raiders scored in the first half against TCU on Jan. 17.
Jordan Woodard dropped a 3-pointer in about four minutes into the second half, and Khadeem Lattin had a dunk on the fast break to put the Sooners up 53-17 with 15:25 to go.
Texas Tech’s first field goal of the second half came with 11:58 remaining. The Red Raiders shot 18 percent after the break.
Texas Tech: Oklahoma was Tech’s fifth consecutive ranked opponent. … The Red Raiders missed all five of their 3-point tries in the first half. … Tech had two assists and 17 turnovers.
Oklahoma: The Sooners went scoreless for the first three minutes of the game, but rallied and shot 54 percent in the first half. … Lattin had a career-high five blocked shots. … It’s the fewest points Oklahoma has allowed since the 2006-2007 season, when the team held Norfolk State to 36 and TCU to 35.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Smith, on the night in general: “It’s demoralizing. When you turn the ball over, a live ball turnover, and they’re dunking the ball on the other end — you could see our guys drop their heads.”
Oklahoma allowed its lowest opponent field-goal percentage since holding Arkansas Pine Bluff to 20.5 percent shooting on Dec. 2, 2003. Oklahoma won that game 94-24. … Tech posted its lowest point total of the season. … Tech has scored 43 or fewer points in three of its past four games.
Texas Tech: At West Virginia on Saturday.
Oklahoma: At Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.