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Basketball at Home Again Saturday
December 08, 2006

GAME PREVIEW
Oklahoma (4-3) will look to rebound from its first home non-conference defeat in seven years when it hosts Coppin State  (2-7) on Saturday at 7 p.m. inside Lloyd Noble Center.  OU was held to its lowest point total of the season in a 67-51 loss to Villanova on Wednesday.  Coppin State, which lost 86-82 at Morgan State on Wednesday in its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener, has played eight of its nine games away from home. 

Saturday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC-AM 1520 in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry Sr., and Mike Houck calling the action.  The game will be televised by the Sooner Sports Network (KWTV Ch. 9/Cox 10 in OKC; KQCW Cox 12 in Tulsa; ESPN Full Court) with Bob Carpenter and Charlie Spoonhour announcing.  Additionally, an Internet webcast on
SoonerSports.com will be available (an O-Zone subscription is required). 

GAME SPECIFICS
Date:
Saturday, Dec. 9
Tip: 7:08 p.m. CST
TV: Sooner Sports Network
 Stations: KWTV Ch. 9, Cox 10 (OKC); KQCW Cox 12 (Tulsa); ESPN Full Court
Radio: Sooner Radio Network
 Flagship: KOKC 1520 AM (OKC)
Webcast: O-Zone on SoonerSports.com
Series: OU leads 11-0

Game Notes (PDF) | Tickets | Schedule  

TICKET INFORMATION
Upper-level reserved seats are available for $15 (north and south) and $20 (east and west) at the OU Athletics Ticket Office this week (800-456-4668).  Lloyd Noble Center’s north and east ticket windows will open Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Family packs are available for Saturday’s game.  For $10 per person, fans receive a game ticket, hot dog, soft drink and a coupon for a free t-shirt.  A minimum purchase of four tickets is required and must be bought prior to the day of the game.

PROMOTIONS
Oklahoma’s Big 12 Championship football team will be recognized at halftime.
The first 250 OU students through the doors will receive a free t-shirt.

O-Zone Webcast | Live Stats  

OKLAHOMA UPDATE
The Sooners are coming off their worst home loss since the 1993-94 season as Villanova downed OU Wednesday night by a 67-51 score to snap a 49-game winning streak in non-conference home games.  Oklahoma committed a season-high 24 turnovers and shot just .357 from the field in the second half to fall to 4-3 on the year and 3-1 at Lloyd Noble Center. 

Freshman guard Tony Crocker, who hadn’t scored more than eight points in any of OU’s last four contests, broke out for a career-high 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting against the Wildcats.  He made a career-high three 3-pointers on seven attempts and also added five rebounds and two assists.  Junior center Longar Longar pulled down a team-high six rebounds and was the only other Sooner in double figures in points (12).   

Longar leads OU in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg tied with Taylor Griffin) and is shooting a team-best .586 from the field.  He is averaging 15.3 points and 8.7 boards over the last three games.  Sophomore guard Austin Johnson is averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 4.1 assists per outing.  Johnson is tied for the team lead in 3-point makes (12) and is shooting .400 from beyond the arc.  Senior backcourt mate Michael Neal, who was held to three points against Villanova, contributes 9.2 points and 3.0 rebounds a game.  He shot .424 from 3-point range last season but owns a .207 mark through his five games this season (6-for-29).  David Godbold had averaged 13.7 points with the help of 10-for-20 3-point shooting over the three games prior to Wednesday, but was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc versus the Wildcats and finished with one point.  Godbold averages 8.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists a game.   

Oklahoma is outscoring its opponents by 14.4 points a game on the season (70.7 to 56.3) and averages 6.5 more rebounds a contest (37.4 to 30.9).

VILLANOVA LEFTOVERS
Tony Crocker (19 points) became the fifth different Sooner this year to lead the team in scoring.  David Godbold (twice), Austin Johnson, Longar Longar (twice) and Michael Neal have also led OU in points this season.
Villanova’s 67 points were 28 more than OU opponents averaged in the season’s first three games at Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma’s 24 turnovers were its most since committing 25 against North Texas on Dec. 22, 1997 (a span of 292 games).
OU entered the game shooting a Big 12-best .769 from the free throw line and had made .887 of its attempts over its last four games.  Against Villanova, though, the Sooners were 2-for-8 at the line.
The loss was the worst in non-conference play in Lloyd Noble Center history.

COPPIN STATE UPDATE
Coppin State will be playing its 10th game of the season on Saturday and ninth away from home.  The Eagles, who are 2-7, annually play what is arguably the most challenging non-conference schedule in the country.  They’ve already played games at Virginia Tech, at Hawaii, at Tennessee, at Kansas State, at Missouri and at Iowa.  They will also play at Alabama, at Connecticut and at Ohio State this month.  Coppin State lost its season opener in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference on Wednesday, 86-82 at Morgan State.  Its two wins came at home against Winston-Salem State (81-56) and versus LaSalle (69-68) in Iowa City, Iowa.

Junior guard Tywain McKee paces the Eagles in several categories, including scoring (21.0 ppg), assists (3.7 apg), steals (1.9 spg), 3-pointers (1.9 makes per game) and free throws (4.9 makes per game).  McKee is the reigning MEAC Player of the Week after averaging 23.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals in games against Missouri, La Salle and Iowa.  Darryl Roberts, a 5-9 junior guard, averages 9.4 points and 3.2 assists a contest and is 14-for-18 at the free throw line on the year.  Another junior, guard/forward Antwan Harrison averages 9.0 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting a team-high .508 from the field.  Junior forward Robert Pressey contributes 6.2 points and a team-high 5.2 boards a game.

Ron “Fang” Mitchell is in his 21st season as a collegiate head coach, all at Coppin State.  Mitchell, who also served as the school’s athletics director from July 1996 to March 2006, owns a 332-268 (.553) record.  Wednesday’s game against Morgan State was his 600th at the school.   

In 1997, Mitchell orchestrated one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history as the 15th-seeded Eagles defeated No. 2 seed and sixth-ranked South Carolina 78-65 in the first round in Pittsburgh, Pa.  They lost to Texas in the second round, 82-81.

COPPIN STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma is 11-0 in its series with Coppin State with 10 of those games played in Norman (the other was played in Oklahoma City on Dec. 27, 1997).  Oklahoma has beaten the Eagles by an average of 22.0 points in the series.  The average score of the last five meetings has been 72.8-45.8 with Coppin State being held to less than 50 points in all five contests.

Ron “Fang” Mitchell has served as Coppin State’s head coach in all 10 previous meetings.

First-year OU head coach Jeff Capel never faced Coppin State as head coach at Virginia Commonwealth.

LAST YEAR AGAINST COPPIN STATE
Oklahoma posted a 57-47 win over Coppin State last season on Dec. 10 in Norman.
OU led 28-9 at the half.  The nine points by the Eagles were their fewest in a half in school history.
Coppin State outscored the Sooners 38-29 after halftime.
Kevin Bookout scored a team-high 19 points while frontcourt mate Taj Gray netted 18.  Bookout was 8-for-9 from the field while Gray was 5-for-6.
Austin Johnson and Nate Carter made their first starts as Sooners.
Coppin State’s Tywain McKee scored a team-high 19 points and also had five rebounds and seven turnovers.
The teams combined for 37 turnovers (20 by Coppin State and 17 by Oklahoma).

LONGAR FINALLY GETTING HIS CHANCE
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 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per outing.  He also paces the team with seven blocked shots and a .586 field goal mark.

Longar, who was born in Sudan and attended high school in Rochester, Minn., is averaging 15.3 points and 8.7 boards over the last three games.  Included was a 24-point, career-high 14-rebound performance against Chaminade in the third round of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Nov. 22.  Longar also scored 21 points against Liberty in the second game of the season (Nov. 16).

Longar already has more points (93) and rebounds (48) this year than he did all of last year (48 points and 43 boards).

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Following are some notes about Oklahoma’s play at Lloyd Noble Center through four games this year...

The Sooners are shooting .498 at home while opponents have shot .336.
OU is outboarding visiting foes by a 39.5 to 29.3 count.
All three of Tony Crocker’s double-digit scoring games have come at Lloyd Noble.  He is averaging 13.8 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting .595 from the field.  He scored 15 points against Norfolk State, 18 versus Liberty and 19 against Villanova.
Austin Johnson is shooting .571 from 3-point range (8-for-14).
Opponents have racked up 77 turnovers to just 27 assists.

STACKING UP AGAINST THE BIG 12
OU ranks second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.732), second in scoring defense (56.3), third in rebounding margin (+6.6), third in field goal percentage defense (.380) and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.313).
Longar Longar ranks 19th in the conference in scoring (13.3 ppg), ninth in field goal percentage (.586), second in offensive rebounding (3.4) and 11th in rebounding (6.9).  His .923 (12-for-13) field goal effort against Chaminade is the best by a league player this season while his 14 boards in the same game stand as the second most by a Big 12 player on the year.
Taylor Griffin is tied for 11th in the Big 12 in rebounding (6.9) and fifth in defensive rebounding (5.4).
Austin Johnson’s 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth in the conference.

SOONER QUICK TIPS
Longar Longar already has 93 points this season, almost twice as many as last year’s total of 48.
Half of Longar’s 48 rebounds this season have come on the offensive end of the floor.
Freshman guard Tony Crocker averaged 3.5 points and 2.0 boards in the four games immediately prior to Wednesday’s 19-point, five-rebound outburst against Villanova.
Over the last two games, Taylor Griffin is averaging just 3.0 points and 3.5 rebounds.  The sophomore forward averaged 9.4 and 8.2 rebounds over OU’s first five contests.
The Sooners are 4-0 in games they’ve outrebounded their opponent and 0-3 when they haven’t.
Only five teams on OU’s schedule own a losing record (Norfolk State, Coppin State, UT Arlington, Longwood and Colorado).

HOME IS WHERE THE “W” IS
Lloyd Noble Center has been overly kind to the Sooners, as they have won 34 of the last 37 games and 82 of the last 89 in the building.  Oklahoma finished 14-1 at home last year after also going 14-1 in 2004-05.  OU is 401-66 (.859) 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.

CENTURY SEASON
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 1,433-912 (.611) all-time record and a 401-66 (.859) 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).

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.

NINE STRAIGHT 20-WIN CAMPAIGNS
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.

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