In its final regular season home game of the year, Oklahoma (15-12 overall, 6-8 league) tries to halt a four-game losing streak when it hosts No. 6 Kansas (25-4, 12-2) on Monday at 8 p.m. CST. The Sooners, who will celebrate the careers of Nate Carter, Michael Neal, Kellen Sampson and Chris Walker with Senior Night activities prior to the contest, are coming off a 68-58 home loss to No. 19 Texas on Saturday. Kansas, winner of six straight games, downed Iowa State 89-52 in Lawrence Saturday.
Monday’s matchup 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 nationally on ESPN and ESPN HD with Ron Franklin, Fran Fraschilla calling the action. Holly Rowe will serve as the courtside reporter.
Date: Monday, Feb. 26
Tip: 8:05 p.m. CST
TV: ESPN, ESPN HD
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (Flagship KOKC 1520 AM in OKC); Yahoo! Broadcast (subscription)
Series: Kansas leads 130-64
The game will be a "WhiteOUt" with every chair dressed with a white "Cheer Like a Champion" t-shirt.
As part of OU’s 100th-year-of-basketball celebration, former forward/center David Johnson (1984-87), former forward Jeff Webster (1990-94) and former head coach Kelvin Sampson (1995-2006) will be recognized during the game.
Upper-level reserved seats are available for $30 (north and south) and $45 (east and west) here at SoonerSports.com and at the OU Athletics Ticket Office on Monday (800-456-4668). Lloyd Noble Center’s north and east ticket windows will open Monday at 6:30 p.m.
BIG 12 MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS AVAILABLE
A limited supply of all-session tickets for the Phillips 66 Men’s Basketball Championship (March 8-11 inside Oklahoma City's Ford Center) are now on sale to the public. Tickets are $240 and include admission to all six sessions of the championship. Tickets may be ordered through the OU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (800) 456-4668.
Kansas is the only Big 12 program to own a winning all-time record against OU (130-64). The Sooners lead at Lloyd Noble Center, 15-11.
OU is allowing opponents to shoot .396 on the year to rank in the top 15 nationally. The last time OU allowed foes to shoot less than .396 for an entire season was in 1960-61.
OU is shooting .786 from the free throw line over its last nine Big 12 outings (114-for-145).
Nate Carter averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds prior to Big 12 play, but is averaging 16.4 points and 7.0 rebounds over the team’s 14 conference outings.
OU is 6-8 in Big 12 games but has outscored its opponents by 2.8 points a contest.
Oklahoma has pulled down 37 offensive rebounds over the last two games but has managed just 23 second-chance points.
The Sooners have been outrebounded just seven times in 27 games season.
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.
KANSAS PROJECTED STARTERS
F 30 Julian Wright (6-8, 225, So., 11.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
C 24 Sasha Kaun (6-11, 245, Jr., 6.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg)
G 4 Sherron Collins (5-11, 200, Fr., 10.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
G 15 Mario Chalmers (6-1, 195, So., 11.6 ppg, 3.1 apg)
G 25 Brandon Rush (6-6, 210, So., 13.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg)
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 24 Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 11.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
C 30 Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 11.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg)
G 1 Chris Walker (6-3, 192, Sr., 1.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 10.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
G 11 Kellen Sampson (6-1, 186, Sr., 1.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg)
After winning four straight games to move to 6-4 in the Big 12, the Sooners have lost four consecutive contests and stand in a tie with Missouri for sixth place in the league race. Oklahoma dropped its second straight home game on Saturday against Texas, a game in which the Longhorns jumped to 9-0 and 16-2 leads before settling for a 41-28 halftime advantage. OU held Texas to only two field goals in the second half but the Horns attempted more than twice as many free throws after halftime (30) as the Sooners attempted in the game (13). UT was 9-for-16 from 3-point range on the day.
OU’s leading scorer (11.2 ppg) and rebounder (7.4 rpg) on the season, Longar Longar was held to single-digits in points Saturday for the third straight game after registering double-doubles in three of the previous four outings (he averaged 16.0 points and 11.3 rebounds over those four games). He had two points (on 1-for-6 shooting) and four rebounds against Texas, tying his second lowest combined output of points and rebounds this year. The junior center, who is shooting .568 from the field on the season, is averaging 14.7 points and 8.4 rebounds in OU’s wins but just 6.7 points and 6.2 boards in the team’s losses.
Senior forward Nate Carter, who averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds prior to Big 12 play, is averaging 16.4 points and 7.0 boards in league action. He has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 conference outings and has shot .500 or better from the field in 10 Big 12 games. Carter is coming off a 13-point effort against Texas. He was 5-for-8 from the free throw line after making 56 of his previous 58 attempts in Big 12 action.
David Godbold, a junior guard who averages 7.5 points, ranks second behind Neal with his 41 treys this season. He has eight games with at least three makes on the year. Over the last three games (all starts), Godbold is averaging 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 steals while going 10-for-21 from beyond the arc. Included was a career-high 20-point game against Texas A&M Feb. 17 in which he was 5-for-7 from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Austin Johnson is 7-for-13 from beyond the arc over the last two games (averaging 11.5 points and 3.0 assists). He is shooting .364 from 3-point range and .920 (23-for-25) from the free throw line. On the year he is averaging 7.7 points and a team-high 3.2 assists, and ranks fifth in the Big 12 with his 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Freshman guard Bobby Maze has provided a spark the last several games. Maze recorded 12 points, four rebounds and three assists at Baylor Feb. 10 and followed with 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting at Iowa State. Over the last two games against Missouri and Texas (his lone starts of the year) he is averaging 7.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals. Maze is averaging 5.8 points and 2.1 assists on the year while shooting .484 from the field in 17 minutes a game.
OU made 10 second-half baskets while holding Texas to 2-for-14 shooting after halftime. The Sooners’ two field goals allowed set a Big 12 record for field goal defense in a half.
Texas’ first second-half field goal came with 8:19 remaining.
The Sooners fell to 10-2 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent (OU had 11 while Texas had 13).
Eighteen of OU’s 34 rebounds were offensive, but the Sooners only managed 11 second-chance points.
Austin Johnson’s four 3-pointers were his most since draining five in the season opener.
Tied with Texas A&M for first place in the Big 12 with a 12-2 record, Kansas has won six straight games, nine of its last 10 and 19 of its last 21. The Jayhawks’ only league losses came at Texas Tech (69-64) and at home to A&M (69-66). They are coming off an 89-52 home win over Iowa State in which six players scored in double figures. KU ranks first in the conference in scoring margin (+19.3), first in rebounding margin (+8.2) and blocked shots (6.8), and second in points per game (79.0), field goal percentage (.495), field goal percentage defense (.372), assists (17.1) and steals (9.4). It is 7-2 in true road games on the season (6-1 in Big 12 play).
Sophomore guard Brandon Rush leads a group of five Jayhawks (all sophomores and freshmen) who average double figures in points. Rush supplies a team-high 13.8 points a game and ranks second with his 5.6 boards per outing. He has made a team-high 55 3-pointers (1.9 average) and is shooting .410 from beyond the arc. Fellow sophomore guard Mario Chalmers averages 11.6 points, 3.1 assists and a Big 12-leading 2.6 steals a contest. He ranks second on the team with 43 treys. Sophomore forward Julian Wright also contributes 11.6 points a game, as well as a team-high 8.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He is shooting .541 from the field. Freshman forward Darrell Arthur averages 10.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and a team-high 1.5 rejections while also shooting .541 from the floor. Sherron Collins, a freshman point guard who made his first Big 12 start Saturday against Iowa State, is averaging 10.0 points and 2.9 assists while shooting a team-high .441 from 3-point range (41-for-93).
Head coach Bill Self is 97-28 (.776) in his fourth year at Kansas and is 304-133 (.696) in his 14th year overall.
OKLAHOMA-KANSAS SERIES HISTORY
Kansas is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against Oklahoma. The Jayhawks own a 130-64 series advantage and are 43-40 in Norman (OU leads 15-11 at Lloyd Noble Center). The Sooners had won three of the last four and four of the last six prior to last year’s 59-58 defeat in Lawrence. OU is 4-9 against Kansas since the formation of the Big 12 Conference (2-3 at home) and has won the last two at Lloyd Noble Center (77-70 in 2003 and 71-63 in 2005). The Jayhawks beat the Sooners in the 1988 national championship game, 83-79 inside Kansas City’s Kemper Arena.
LAST YEAR VERSUS THE JAYHAWKS
Kansas overcame a 50-34 second-half deficit with the help of a 21-5 run to end the game in a 59-58 victory in Lawrence last year (Feb. 5). The Sooners, who shot .433 in the first half en route to a 29-26 lead at intermission, shot just .278 after halftime and were just 1-for-12 from the floor during a seven-minute 19-3 KU run late in the game. Terrell Everett had a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds for OU while Taj Gray registered 13 points and a game-high 12 boards. Kevin Bookout, who added eight points and 11 rebounds, became the 34th player in school history to record 1,000 points in his career. Freshmen Brandon Rush (18 points) and Julian Wright (14 points and eight rebounds) paced Kansas.
Bryan Goodman, OU’s director of basketball operations, was an assistant coach at Bucknell when the Bison defeated No. 2 seed Kansas (63-62) in the 2005 NCAA Tournament first round in Oklahoma City.
Kansas head coach Bill Self played four years at Oklahoma State (1982-85) and his Cowboys went 0-9 against the Sooners.
CARTER STEPS UP
In what has to be one of the most remarkable in-season turnarounds in college basketball this year, senior Nate Carter has taken advantage of his increased minutes since the start of Big 12 play. Carter, who averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game prior to conference action, is averaging 16.4 points and 7.0 boards in 30 minutes per contest over 14 league outings. He is shooting .510 from the field and .867 from the free throw line (72-for-83) in conference play, and leads the team with his 43 offensive rebounds. Carter had 53 points over OU’s first 12 games but has tallied 245 over the last 15.
Carter in Big 12 Play
at Texas Tech
at Oklahoma State
at Texas A&M
at Iowa State
Carter in Big 12 Play
MORE ON CARTER
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 eight of the last 12 league contests.
Carter (16.4 ppg and 7.0 rpg) is one of four players who average at least 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in Big 12 play. Texas’ Kevin Durant (28.6 points and 12.5 boards), Oklahoma State’s Mario Boggan (18.5 and 8.6) and Nebraska’s Aleks Maric (17.5 and 8.8) are the others.
Carter had his school-record string of 37 consecutive free throw makes broken against Longwood Jan. 30. He made 39 straight free throw attempts in conference play before a second-half miss against Texas Tech Feb. 3.
In Big 12 play, Carter ranks third in the league field goal percentage (.510), third in free throw percentage (.867), third in offensive rebounding (3.1 per game), eighth in scoring (16.4 ppg) and 12th in rebounding (7.0 rpg).
Over a four-game Big 12 span (Jan. 20 through Feb. 3), Carter averaged 11.0 free throw attempts. In six league games since, he is averaging 3.0 attempts.
Including his freshman and sophomore seasons at UC Riverside, Carter has tallied 1,281 career points.
OPPORTUNITY, SUCCESS GO HAND IN HAND FOR LONGAR
After playing limited minutes the last two years behind All-Big 12 big men Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout, junior center Longar Longar is taking advantage 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 11.2 points per game, 7.4 rebounds (ranks seventh in Big 12), 1.4 blocks (ranks eighth) and his .568 field goal mark (would rank second in the league but he doesn’t have enough makes to qualify in the category).
Longar registered his sixth career double-double (all this year) and third in a four-game span when he scored 20 points (all in the second half) and grabbed 12 rebounds at Iowa State Feb. 13. The performance came on the heels of a 12-point, 12-rebound effort at Baylor Feb. 10 and three games after he had 19 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Texas Tech Feb. 3. 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 has more than twice as many points this year (280) than he scored over his first two seasons combined (127).
The Sooners’ defense has been suffocating at times this year, as evidenced by opponents’ 58.6 points per game and .396 combined field goal percentage. The last time OU gave up less than 58.6 points per contest for an entire season was in 1977-78 (58.2 ppg). The last time Oklahoma opponents shot worse than .396 for a season was in 1960-61 (.377) a span of 46 years.
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 opponents under .400 shooting.
FINE AT THE LINE
After shooting .670 from the free throw line in non-conference games, the Sooners are shooting .746 from the charity stripe in Big 12 action to rank second in the league. They own a .786 free throw mark (114-for-145) over their last nine league outings.
Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 Conference with its +5.4 rebounding margin per game and has been outrebounded just five times over the last 23 contests. The importance of rebounding is illustrated in the fact that OU is 13-4 when it has outboarded its opponents and 1-8 when it hasn’t. In their victories, the Sooners have outrebounded their foes by 10.2 a game.
PROTECTING THE BALL
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 12 Big 12 games. OU is averaging just 12.3 turnovers per conference outing to rank fourth in the Big 12. The Sooners are 10-2 this year when committing fewer turnovers than their opponents.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING
In its 15 wins this year OU is outrebounding its opponents by 10.2 a game. In its 12 losses it is getting outboarded by 0.6.
OU is shooting .493 from the field in its wins but only .382 in its defeats.
Opponents are shooting just .345 from the field in OU’s wins while they are shooting .464 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 (140 and 177).
Longar Longar is averaging 14.7 points and 8.4 rebounds in the Sooners’ wins but just 6.7 points and 6.2 boards in their defeats.
HOME IS WHERE THE “W” IS
Lloyd Noble Center has been overly kind to the Sooners, as they have won 43 of the last 48 games and 98 of the last 108 in the building. Oklahoma finished 14-1 at home last year after also going 14-1 in 2004-05. OU is 410-68 (.858) in LNC 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.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Following are some notes about Oklahoma through 15 games of play at Lloyd Noble Center this year...
Oklahoma is holding opponents to 51.9 points a contest (six foes have scored less than 50 points). It is outscoring its opponents 71.9 to 51.9 at Lloyd Noble Center (a margin of 20.0 points a game).
The Sooners are shooting .474 at home while opponents have shot .362.
OU is outboarding visiting foes by a 38.3 to 30.4 count (+7.9).
Seven of Tony Crocker’s nine double-digit scoring games have come at Lloyd Noble (he also has a nine-point game at LNC).
Austin Johnson is shooting .456 from 3-point range (26-for-57) and sports a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Opponents have racked up 239 turnovers (15.9 average) to just 139 assists (9.3 average).
NATION’S LONGEST POSTSEASON STREAK
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 2006-07 season marks the 100th year of varsity basketball at Oklahoma. The Sooners began playing the sport during the 1907-08 season under head coach D.C. Hall (it was his lone year as OU’s mentor). Their first game was a 32-12 win over Epworth College on Nov. 26, 1907, at Convention Hall in Oklahoma City. OU posted a 4-3 record that year with a two-game sweep of Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State).
The Sooners now own a 1,444-921 (.611) all-time record and a 410-68 (.858) mark at Lloyd Noble Center. They have participated in 24 NCAA Tournaments, four Final Fours (1939, 1947, 1988 and 2002) and two national title games (1947 and 1988). OU has won or shared 13 conference championships (the most recent was in 2005) and has claimed seven league tournament titles (the most recent was in 2003).