OU Aims for Fifth Straight Tuesday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 12, 2007

Oklahoma (15-8 overall, 6-4 Big 12) will try for its fifth straight win when it plays at Iowa State (12-12, 3-7) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CST.  The Sooners are coming off a 68-64 win at Baylor on Saturday for their first victory in a true road game this year.  The Cyclones, who dropped a 77-68 decision at Texas on Saturday, have lost seven out of their last eight.

Tuesday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC-AM 1520 in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry Sr. and Mike Houck announcing.  It will be televised by the Cyclone Television Network with the Sooner Sports Network picking up the feed in Oklahoma (KAUT 43/Cox 16 in OKC; Cox 78 in Tulsa).  Announcers Dave Armstrong and Paul Splittorff will call the action.  The game will also be available on ESPN Full Court.

Tuesday, Feb. 13
Location: Ames, Iowa (Hilton Coliseum)
Tip: 7:06 p.m. CST
TV: Sooner Sports Network (KAUT 43/Cox 16 in OKC; Cox 78 in Tulsa; ESPN Full Court)
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (Flagship KOKC 1520 AM in OKC); Yahoo! Broadcast (subscription)
Series: OU leads 105-76

OU owns a 105-76 (.580) series lead against Iowa State and is 7-4 against the Cyclones since the formation of the Big 12 Conference.
Oklahoma is shooting .845 from the free throw line over its last five Big 12 outings (82-for-97).
Nate Carter averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds prior to Big 12 play, but leads OU with his 19.3 points and 7.9 rebounds over the team’s 10 conference outings.
Over the last six Big 12 games, Carter is averaging 21.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while going 49-for-50 at the free throw line.
The Sooners have been outrebounded just twice in the last 19 games and just four times all season.
Michael Neal is 25-for-58 (.431) from 3-point range in Big 12 play (he was 13-for-60 (.217) over OU’s 13 non-conference outings.
In its 15 wins, OU is holding foes to a .345 field goal mark.  Twelve of those 15 opponents have failed to shoot .400.
Thirteen of OU’s 15 wins have been by double digits.  Its average victory margin is 24.1 points.

Game Notes (PDF)  

F  24  Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 111.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg) 
C  30  Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 11.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) 
G  2   Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 10.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg) 
G  15  David Godbold (6-5, 215, Jr., 7.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg) 
G  20  Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 7.9 ppg, 3.4 apg)

F  4   Wesley Johnson (6-7, 195, Fr., 12.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg) 
F  13  Rahshon Clark (6-6, 200, Jr., 7.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg) 
C  33  Jiri Hubalek (6-11, 225, Jr., 10.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg) 
G  4   Corey McIntosh (6-0, 160, Jr., 3.8 ppg, 2.4 apg) 
G  24  Mike Taylor (6-2, 165, Jr., 16.9 ppg, 4.4 apg)

Season Stats | Schedule  

The Sooners remained in sole possession of fifth place in the Big 12 Conference race (they were picked by league coaches to finish in ninth place in the preseason league poll) by posting their first true road victory of the season on Saturday, a 68-64 win at Baylor.  Oklahoma led 28-27 at halftime but had to rally back from a 39-32 deficit to improve to 6-4 in Big 12 play.  OU shot .521 from the field its second best mark in league action and posted a 20-13 second-half rebounding advantage as it won for the 26th straight time against the Bears.

Nate Carter
Making his eighth start of the year, senior forward Nate Carter was 9-for-14 from the field and finished with a team-high 22 points.  It was the sixth time in the last seven games he paced the squad in scoring.  Since freshman Keith Clark sustained a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 28, Carter has seen his playing time and production skyrocket.  In 10 Big 12 games, he is averaging team highs in points (19.3) and rebounds (7.9) while shooting .543 from the field in 31 minutes an outing.  He averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 boards in 13 minutes a game prior to league play. 

OU’s leading scorer (11.8 ppg) and rebounder (7.4 rpg) on the season, Longar Longar recorded his fifth double-double of the year and second in the last three games with 12 points (all in the second half) and 12 boards against the Bears.  The junior center was 4-for-5 from the floor and now is shooting .598 on the year (he would rank second in the Big 12 but is one make shy of qualifying in the category).  Longar is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in OU’s victories. 

Senior forward Michael Neal has converted 23 of his 49 long-range attempts (.469) over the past eight league games and is averaging 13.1 points over those contests.  On the year, Neal averages 10.3 points and 2.0 assists while shooting .322 from beyond the arc.  He ranks fourth in the Big 12 (league games) in 3-point percentage (.431) and seventh in 3-point makes per game (2.5).  

Sophomore guard Tony Crocker, one of the Big 12’s more productive freshmen, ranks fouth on the team by scoring 9.2 points a game despite being held to single digits in eight of the last nine games.  Crocker also supplies 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal.  He started the first 22 games of the season but came off the bench Saturday.  Another guard, sophomore Austin Johnson averages 7.9 points and a team-high 3.4 assists while shooting .354 from 3-point range and .920 (23-for-25) from the free throw line.  Johnson also ranks third in the Big 12 with his 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Over the past four games he has 19 assists and six turnovers for a 3.2 ratio.

Sophomore forward Taylor Griffin has started 18 of 23 games on the year but has come off the bench each of the last four.  On the year, Griffin is averaging 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds (ranks second on the team) and 1.5 assists.  Junior guard David Godbold, who started Saturday for the first time in 14 games, averages 7.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and a team-high 1.1 steals.  He averages 1.3 treys per contest on the year and ranks third on the team in minutes per game (26.7).

After not playing against Oklahoma State last Wednesday, freshman guard Bobby Maze came off the bench to record 12 points, four rebounds and three assists without a turnover in 26 minutes.
Nate Carter was 2-for-2 from the free throw line (his previous low for attempts in league play was four).
The Sooners improved to 15-1 this year when leading at halftime.
OU’s bench (16 points) outscored its starters (12) in the first half.
The team’s .500 3-point performance was its best in 17 games.

Iowa State, loser of two straight and seven of its last eight, is 10-4 at Hilton Coliseum this year with home conference wins over Nebraska (71-62) and Baylor (71-58).  The Cyclones, who took Kansas to overtime in Ames on Jan. 13, are coming off a 77-68 loss at Texas on Saturday.  They won their first two league games but now stand in a tie with Missouri for ninth place in the Big 12 at 3-7.  They are 12-12 overall.

Junior guard Mike Taylor averages team highs in points (16.9) and assists (4.4) while shooting .380 from 3-point range (he averages 2.6 3-point makes per contest).  Taylor was 5-for-10 from 3-point territory at Texas on Saturday and finished with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists.  Freshman forward Wesley Johnson averages 12.8 points and ranks second in the Big 12 with his 8.8 boards per outing.  He has 11 double-doubles on the year and his 3.7 offensive rebounds per game lead the league.  Junior center Jiri Hubalek supplies 10.6 points and 6.8 rebounds a contest while junior forward Rahshon Clark averages 7.0 points and 6.4 boards a game.  Hubalek registered 18 points and eight rebounds at Texas while Clark was held scoreless.

The Cyclones are shooting .410 from the field, .337 from beyond the arc and .695 from the free throw line.  They outrebound their opponents by 3.8 a game. 

Head coach Greg McDermott is in his first year at Iowa State and is 233-139 (.626) in his 13th season overall. 

Oklahoma owns a 105-76 (.580) series advantage against Iowa State but trails in Ames, 44-35.  The Sooners are 7-4 against the Cyclones since the inception of the Big 12 Conference and have won four of the last five meetings.  In Big 12 games in Ames, OU sports a 2-3 record.

Michael Neal
Trailing by seven points with a minute left, Oklahoma rode Michael Neal to an improbable 83-82 win over Iowa State in Norman last year.  Neal’s three free throws with 8.4 seconds left after being fouled on a 3-point attempt were the game’s final points.  Neal, who was 8-for-12 from 3-point range on the day en route to a career-high 29 points, scored all 17 of his second-half points in the final seven minutes as OU overcame an 11-point deficit.  His eight treys were the most by a Sooner in three seasons.  Terrell Everett recorded his first ever double-double with 18 points and 11 assists while Taj Gray added 13 points and eight rebounds for OU.  Iowa State’s Curtis Stinson (24 and nine) and Will Blalock (22 and seven) combined for 46 points and 16 assists.  The Cyclones shot .561 from the field and .643 from 3-point range (9-for-14) while OU posted respective .538 and .565 (13-for-23) figures.

In what has to be one of the most remarkable in-season turnarounds in college basketball this season, senior Nate Carter has taken advantage of his increased minutes since the new calendar year.  Carter, who averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game prior to Big 12 play, is averaging 19.3 points and 7.9 rebounds (both team highs) in 31 minutes per contest over 10 league outings.  He is shooting .543 from the field and .901 from the free throw line (64-for-71) in conference play, and leads the team with his 36 offensive rebounds (his 3.6 average ranks second in the league).  Over the last six Big 12 games, he is averaging 21.3 points and 8.2 rebounds while going 49-for-50 at the free throw line.  Carter had 53 points over OU’s first 12 games but has tallied 208 over the last 11.  In Big 12 play, he ranks third in the league in scoring, eighth in rebounding, second in offensive rebounding, second in field goal percentage and third in free throw percentage.

Nate Carter scored 13 points in OU’s Big 12 opener at Texas Tech and has scored at least 15 in every league outing since (15 points versus Colorado, 18 at Texas, 19 against Nebraska, 22 versus Baylor, 23 at Oklahoma State, 19 at Texas A&M, 24 against Texas Tech, 18 vs. Oklahoma State and 22 at Baylor).  Prior to OU’s game at Texas on Jan. 13, the most points Carter scored in an OU uniform was 16 last year against Oral Roberts.  He has surpassed that total in each of the last eight league contests. 

Carter (19.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg) is one of two players who average at least 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in Big 12 play.  Texas’ Kevin Durant averages 31.0 points and 13.0 boards and Oklahoma State’s Mario Boggan averages 20.4 and 9.3. 

 Carter in Big 12 Play

Rebs.  (O-D-T)
 at Texas Tech
 at Texas
 at Oklahoma State
 at Texas A&M
 Texas Tech
 Oklahoma State
 at Baylor

Nate Carter’s high number of free throw attempts and makes are a big reason why the senior forward’s scoring average has taken off since the start of Big 12 play.  Carter is shooting .901 from the line in league action to rank fourth in the Big 12 (he ranks first with his .872 mark in all games) and leads the conference with his 6.4 makes per league outing.  He has made 53 of his last 54 attempts in conference play dating back to the Jan. 17 Nebraska game.  After making his final four attempts against the Huskers, Carter went 10-for-10 against Baylor, 9-for-9 at Oklahoma State, 13-for-13 at Texas A&M, 11-for-12 versus Texas Tech, 4-for-4 against Oklahoma State and 2-for-2 at Baylor.  He had his school-record string of 37 consecutive makes broken against Longwood Jan. 30.  He made 39 straight free throw attempts in conference play before a second-half miss against Tech Feb. 3.

As a team, the Sooners are shooting .759 from the free throw line in Big 12 games to rank second in the league.  They are shooting .845 from the stripe (82-for-97) over their last five conference outings.  OU shot .670 from the line in non-conference play. 

After playing limited minutes the last two years behind All-Big 12 big men Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout, junior center Longar Longar is making the most of his opportunity this year.  The 6-11, 228-pounder averaged 2.9 points in 7.9 minutes a game as a freshman and 2.1 points in 7.2 minutes a contest last year.  This season, Longar leads OU with his 11.8 points per game, 7.4 rebounds (ranks seventh in Big 12), 1.3 blocks (ranks seventh) and his .598 field goal mark (would rank third but he’s one attempt shy of qualifying for league ranking).

Longar registered his fifth career double-double (all this year) and second in the last three games when he scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds at Baylor on Saturday.  The performance came two games after he had 19 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Texas Tech.  Longar also turned in a 20-point, career-high 15-rebound game against SMU on Dec. 28 to earn Big 12 Co-Player of the Week honors.  Additionally, Longar recorded a 24-point, 14-rebound performance against Chaminade in the third round of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Nov. 22, and a 15-point, 11-rebound game against Coppin State on Dec. 9.

Longar, who was born in Sudan and also lived in Egypt before coming to the United States, attended high school in Rochester, Minn., and one year of prep school in Laurinburg, N.C.  He already has nearly twice as many points this year (247) than he scored over his first two seasons combined (127).

Freshman Keith Clark sustained torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee during first-half action against SMU on Dec. 28.  He underwent surgery Jan. 11 and will miss the rest of the season.  The 6-8, 245-pound forward from Oklahoma City came off the bench in all of his 11 games this year and averaged 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.2 minutes a contest.  He scored a season-high nine points against Purdue on Nov. 21 and pulled down a season-high four rebounds twice. 

The Sooners’ defense has been suffocating at times this year, as evidenced by opponents’ 57.7 points per game and .386 combined field goal percentage.  The last time OU gave up less than 57.7 points per contest for an entire season was in 1959-60 (56.8 ppg) a span of 47 years.  The last time Oklahoma opponents shot worse than .386 for a season was in 1960-61 (.377).  

No opponent has scored more than 80 points against OU this year and Texas is the only foe to shoot .500 or better from the field (.547 on Jan. 13 in Austin).  The Sooners have held 12 of their 23 opponents under .400 shooting.

Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 Conference with its +6.6 rebounding margin per game and has been outrebounded just twice over the last 19 contests.  The importance of rebounding is illustrated in the fact that OU is 13-3 when it has outboarded its opponents and 1-5 when it hasn’t.  In their victories, the Sooners have outrebounded their foes by 10.2 a game.  

After averaging 15.8 turnovers a game prior to conference play, the Sooners have done a much better job of taking care of the basketball in their 10 Big 12 games.  OU is averaging just 12.0 turnovers per conference outing to rank third in the Big 12.  The Sooners are 10-1 this year when committing fewer turnovers than their opponents.

The following notes compare Oklahoma’s stats in wins and losses this year...

In its 15 wins this year OU is outrebounding its opponents by 10.6 a game.  In its eight losses it is getting outboarded by 0.1.
OU is shooting .493 from the field in its wins but only .390 in its defeats.
Opponents are shooting just .345 from the field in OU’s wins while they are shooting .466 in OU’s losses.
OU’s assist-to-turnover ratio in its victories is +1.2 (235 assists and 194 turnovers).  The ratio in losses is 0.8 (96 and 126).
Longar Longar is averaging 14.7 points and 8.4 rebounds in the Sooners’ wins but just 5.9 points and 5.6 boards in their defeats.

Oklahoma made its 25th consecutive postseason appearance last year (20 NCAA and five NIT), good for the longest current streak among Division I programs.  The last time OU did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81.  The Sooners have competed in the NCAA Tournament 11 times in the last 12 seasons.

The Sooners boast a streak of nine straight 20-win seasons dating back to the 1997-98 campaign.  OU and Kansas are the only Big 12 schools who have won at least 20 games each of the last nine seasons.  Oklahoma State has eight 20-win seasons in the last nine years while Texas is next with seven.

Lloyd Noble Center has been overly kind to the Sooners, as they have won 43 of the last 46 games and 91 of the last 98 in the building.  Oklahoma finished 14-1 at home last year after also going 14-1 in 2004-05.  OU is 410-66 (.861) in the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign.  The Sooners have posted home winning streaks of 51 games (1987-90) and 37 games (2001-03).  The 37-game streak is a Big 12 Conference record.

OU ranks in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (57.7 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.386).
Nate Carter has led OU in scoring in five of the past six games.  He has scored in double figures in each of the last 11 games after doing it just three times in the first 12 contests of the year.
David Godbold has come off the bench 16 times in 23 games but ranks third on the team with his 26.7 minutes an outing.
Chris Walker is averaging 12.4 minutes over the last five games after averaging 2.3 minutes over the previous 10 contests.
Austin Johnson sports a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio over the past five games (19 assists and six turnovers).
Longar Longar is averaging 15.0 points over the past four games on 24-for-36 shooting (.667).  He has nine blocked shots over the past five outings.
OU has been outrebounded just twice in Big 12 play (at Texas and at Texas A&M) and has been outboarded just twice in the last 19 games overall.
The Sooners are 15-1 this year when leading at halftime.
Head coach Jeff Capel, the second youngest coach in NCAA Division I, turned 32 on Monday, Feb. 12.




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