First-year Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel will watch his team play outside competition for the first time Tuesday night when the Sooners host perennial NAIA power Oklahoma Christian in an exhibition game inside Lloyd Noble Center. The contest is scheduled to tip at 7:08 p.m. CST and will air in its entirety on Yahoo! Sports. The Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC AM-1520 in Oklahoma City) will carry the game beginning at 8 p.m. with Bob Barry Sr. and Mike Houck announcing. It will also be available for viewing as a free webcast on SoonerSports.com.
Tickets for OU's two exhibition games are still available for $10 (upper north and south) and $15 (upper east and west). The OU Athletics Ticket Office phone number is (800) 456-4668. Lloyd Noble ticket windows will open at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
OU students who present a valid school I.D. will be admitted to both men’s exhibition games free of charge.
Several Halloween activities will be administered, including a mummy-wrapping contest and a halftime costume contest.
Children in costume will receive free candy at the door and free popcorn from concessions stands.
"We’re very excited. We’re looking forward to playing against someone besides ourselves and see where we are. We’re playing against a very good opponent in Oklahoma Christian. They’ve had a lot of success over time under head coach Dan Hays, one of the best basketball minds out there. Their team can shoot the ball and they run a lot of ball screens and a lot of dribble hand-offs. They’re known for their offensive prowess, so it will be a good test for our defense. And then hopefully we can execute offensively and have some positive things happen for us on that end of the court.
"I’m just anxious to get out there and watch my team and see some different combinations on the floor. I want to see how our guys perform when the lights are on."
OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN PROJECTED STARTERS
F 22 Keith Harris (6-5, 190, Sr., 15.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
F 45 Micah Miles (6-8, 225, Sr., 7.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
C 44 John Nottley (6-11, 235, Sr., 3.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
G 12 Jared Mitchel (6-3, 205, So., 1.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg)
G 25 Charles Baldwin (6-2, 175, Sr., 13.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 32 Taylor Griffin (6-7, 232, So., 3.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
C 30 Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 2.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 12.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg)
G 15 David Godbold (6-5, 215, Jr., 5.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
G 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
Oklahoma is coming off a 20-9 season that saw it finish in third place in the Big 12 with an 11-5 record. OU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons but dropped an 82-74 decision to UW-Milwaukee in the first round.
The Sooners, who lost a trio of seniors (Kevin Bookout, Terrell Everett and Taj Gray) who each started all 29 games last year, return 44 percent of their scoring, 45 percent of their rebounding and 45 percent of their assists from 2005-06. OU’s two returning starters are senior guard Michael Neal and junior guard David Godbold. Neal was named Big 12 Rookie of the Year after averaging a team-high 14.8 points in league play while shooting .495 from 3-point range. Godbold, the team’s leader in career games played (57) and starts (35), averaged 5.7 points and 3.2 rebounds a game last season.
Also back from last season are senior forward Nate Carter (6.0 ppg), sophomore forward Taylor Griffin (3.1 ppg), sophomore guard Austin Johnson (3.1 ppg), junior center Longar Longar (2.1 ppg) and senior guards Chris Walker (1.1 ppg) and Kellen Sampson (0.3 ppg). A quartet of freshmen comprise OU’s class of newcomers. Forward Keith Clark was a top-75 national recruit, guard Tony Crocker was a top-100 signee and guard Bobby Maze was ranked No. 135 by Rivals.com. Forward Beau Gerber is a walk-on who was a first-team Class 5A All-State selection in Kansas last year.
OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN UPDATE
NAIA member Oklahoma Christian went 22-11 last season and finished with a 10-8 record in the Sooner Athletic Conference. The Eagles advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NAIA national tournament. They return eight lettermen and three starters.
Oklahoma Christian is expected to start four seniors on Tuesday night, including forward Keith Harris. The All-America candidate averaged 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds last year while shooting .478 from the field, .343 from 3-point range and .858 from the free throw line. Guard Charles Baldwin, like Harris, started all 31 games last year while averaging 13.1 points and 3.7 boards. He made a team-high 51 3-pointers on 175 attempts (.291). Forward Micah Miles supplied 7.1 points and 6.5 rebounds a game while center John Nottley averaged 3.9 points and 3.6 caroms.
Dan Hays is in his 24th season as Oklahoma Christian’s head coach and owns a 499-256 (.661) record at the school.
The Sooners have compiled an impressive 35-2 exhibition record over the last 18 years. Last year, the Sooners beat Northeastern (Okla.) State, 70-35, and UNC Pembroke,118-62. Against UNC Pembroke, members of OU’s current squad accounted for 76 points. Michael Neal netted 21 points and was followed by Longar Longar’s 17 (he also grabbed 13 rebounds), Nate Carter’s 15, Taylor Griffin’s 14, David Godbold’s four, Kellen Sampson’s three and Chris Walker’s two.
The Sooners’ 2006-07 exhibition and regular season openers will be played earlier than ever before. Oklahoma opens its two-game home exhibition slate Tuesday against Oklahoma Christian before playing Central Missouri in its other preseason affair Nov. 5. OU’s regular season opener will be played Friday, Nov. 10, against Norfolk State at Lloyd Noble Center. Prior to this year, the earliest regular season game in school history was played Nov. 12, 2001, against Central Connecticut in Norman (OU won 66-44).
Junior guard David Godbold has started more games at Oklahoma by far than any of his teammates. The Oklahoma City product has 35 starts in 57 games over the previous two seasons. Sophomore guard Austin Johnson is second with just 13 career starts. Senior guard Michael Neal ranks third with 10 starts and is followed by fellow senior guard Chris Walker (seven), senior forward Nate Carter (four) and junior center Longar Longar (one). That’s only 70 career starts among all OU players.
Kevin Bookout, Terrell Everett and Taj Gray each started 29 games last year as seniors. The trio finished its career with 229 combined starts (four seasons for Bookout and two each for Everett and Gray) and last year accounted for 55 percent of the team’s points, 55 percent of its rebounds and 55 percent of its assists.
The 2006-07 season marks the 100th 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 enter their first season under Jeff Capel with a 1,429-909 (.611) all-time record and a 398-65 (.860) record 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).
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.
OU OWNS 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.
THANKSGIVING IN HAWAII
Oklahoma will spend Thanksgiving week in Lahaina, Hawaii, at the eight-team EA Sports Maui Invitational. All three of OU’s games (Nov. 20-22) will be televised by the ESPN family of networks. The Sooners play the tournament’s first game against Memphis at 1:30 p.m. CST (9:30 a.m. in Hawaii) and will face either Georgia Tech or Purdue in the second round. OU’s third-round opponent will be DePaul, Kentucky, UCLA or host Chaminade.
It will mark OU’s third trip to the Maui Invitational and 10th time it has participated in a tournament in the Aloha State. The Sooners were runners-up in the 1988 Maui Invitational and finished fifth in 1992 (they went 2-1 both times). They also competed in the Big Island Invitational in 1997 (1-2 record) and 2000 (3-0), the Chaminade Classic in 1984 (1-1) and 1987 (3-0), the Hawaii-Loa Tournament in 1985 (2-0) and the Rainbow Classic in 1982 (2-1) and 1994 (1-2).
HOME IS WHERE THE “W” IS
Lloyd Noble Center has been overly kind to the Sooners, as they have won 31 of the last 33 games and 79 of the last 85 in the building. Oklahoma finished 14-1 at home last year after also going 14-1 in 2004-05. OU is 398-65 (.860) in the building since it opened prior to 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.
Oklahoma posted a 20-9 record in 2005-06 and went 11-5 in the Big 12 for a third-place finish. OU, which was ranked in the AP’s top 25 all season, reached the 20-win plateau for the ninth straight year. Following is a list of notes and accomplishments from the 2005-06 campaign.
The 20-win season marked the 10th in the last 12 seasons for Oklahoma.
The Sooners reached 11 wins in Big 12 play for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.
OU ranked No. 4 nationally with its +8.9 rebounding margin.
Oklahoma won four straight games, all by one point, in late February. Based on polling of the country’s media relations directors, it is believed to be the first time a current Division I school ever accomplished the feat. OU played in seven one-point games and won five of them.
Terrell Everett averaged 6.9 assists per game to lead the Big 12 and rank third in the nation.
Michael Neal set a Big 12 record by averaging 3.9 3-point makes per league contest.
Taj Gray finished his career ranked No. 3 in OU history in field goal percentage (.562), No. 6 in blocks (104) and blocks per game (1.7) and 10th in rebounds per game (8.0).
Kevin Bookout finished his career ranked No. 2 in school history in field goal percentage (.574), No. 14 in rebounds (682) and No. 26 in points (1,108). He also earned third-team Academic All-America honors last season.