OU vs. A&M Again at Big 12 Championship

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 05, 2012

  Cameron Clark has 20 rebounds over the last two games
 Oklahoma (15-15, 5-13) vs. Texas A&M (13-17, 4-14)
 Date & Tip Time  Wednesday, March 7, at 6 p.m. CT
 Location  Kansas City, Mo. | Sprint Center
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office

 Big 12 Network
 KOCB Ch. 34 in Oklahoma City
 KTUL Ch. 8 in Tulsa

 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
 Sirius 93
 XM 191
 Webcast  WatchESPN.com
 Live Stats  Big 12 Championship Central
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

The Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship’s No. 8 seed, Oklahoma (15-15 overall, 5-13 Big 12) plays No. 9 seed Texas A&M (13-17, 4-14) for the second time in five days on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT inside Kansas City’s Sprint Center.  The Sooners beat the Aggies 65-62 in Norman on Saturday.  A&M beat OU in overtime, 81-75, on Jan. 21 in College Station.

Wednesday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa; Sirius 93; XM 191) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing.  The game will be televised by the Big 12 Network (KOCB Ch. 34 in OKC; KTUL Ch. 8 in Tulsa; ESPN Full Court) with Dave Armstrong, Reid Gettys and Holly Rowe calling the action.

• Oklahoma sports a 20-12 Big 12 Championship record, the league’s second best mark (Kansas is 31-7).
• OU has won three Big 12 Championship titles (2001-03).  Its first two came in Kansas City (Kemper Arena).
• The Sooners have won at least one tournament game in 11 of the event’s 15 years.
• This marks just the sixth time in 16 Big 12 Championships that Oklahoma has not earned a first-round bye.
• The Sooners have played in five of the 15 Big 12 title games.
• Only Kansas (31 wins, eight titles) has more tournament wins and titles than OU (20 victories, three crowns).

Five Things to Watch vs. Texas A&M | Gameday Central | Big 12 Championship Central

• Oklahoma owns a 29-9 series advantage against Texas A&M, including a 24-9 mark since the beginning of the Big 12 Conference.  Wednesday will mark the teams’ first meeting in the Big 12 Championship since the inaugural event in 1997 when OU won 67-58 in the first round.
• The Sooners and Aggies split the season series, with A&M winning 81-75 in overtime Jan. 21 in College Station and OU winning 65-62 Saturday in Norman.
• The Sooners are 4-3 at Kansas City’s Sprint Center.  They went 1-1 in the 2008 Big 12 Championship, 0-1 in the 2009 event and 1-1 last year.  They also beat Morgan State and Michigan in the 2009 NCAA Tournament first and second rounds.
• The junior trio of Steven Pledger, Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby accounted for 64 percent of the team’s points in Big 12 play (746 of 1,164) and 49 percent of its rebounds (277 of 567).  Pledger and Osby were honorable mention All-Big 12 selections.
• After averaging 6.8 points on .370 shooting over OU’s first 12 conference games, sophomore guard Cameron Clark averaged 12.7 points on .523 shooting over the final six outings.  He scored in double figures in five of those six contests and netted nine in the other.  Clark also averaged a team-high 6.8 points during the six-game stretch.
• Oklahoma ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 34 nationally (out of 338 teams) with its 13.2 offensive rebounds per game.  OU boasts a 397-321 offensive rebounding advantage on the year.  Only two opponents in the last 14 games have outscored OU in second-chance points.

• The preseason co-Big 12 favorite (with Kansas) according to the league’s head coaches, Texas A&M enters Wednesday’s game with a 13-17 overall record after posting a 4-14 conference mark.  The ninth-seeded Aggies have lost five in a row and nine of their last 10.
• In league play, A&M ranked ninth in scoring offense (58.3 ppg), ninth in field goal percentage (.414), sixth in in 3-point field goal percentage (.340) and ninth in free throw percentage (.667).
• Junior guard Elston Turner leads the team with his 14.0 scoring average.  The transfer from Washington paces A&M with 68 3-pointers (next highest team total is 18) and is shooting .398 from behind the arc.  He scored 23 points against OU on Jan. 21 in College Station and 11 on Saturday in Norman.
• Junior forward Khris Middleton, a second-team All-Big 12 pick last year, is averaging 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds an outing.  He missed seven games early this season after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee (sustained in the opener).  Middleton reinjured the knee against OU in College Station, causing him to miss the next five outings.
• Big men David Loubeau (senior) and Ray Turner (junior) average 11.0 and 9.0 points, respectively.  Turner also averages a team-high 5.4 boards per game and is shooting .583 from the floor.  Loubeau, who scored 15 points Saturday, contributes 4.5 rebounds a contest.
Billy Kennedy is in his first year as Texas A&M’s head coach.  He came to A&M from Murray State and owns a 224-196 career record.

 Sooner to Watch 

 Romero Osby | Jr. | Forward
 • Averaged 21.0 points on 19-for-25 shooting in two regular season games vs. Texas A&M
 • Coming off a career-high 24-point performance against the Aggies Saturday
 • Ranks fifth in Big 12 in rebounding (7.4) and offensive rebounding (2.6)
 • Has scored at least 14 points in 10 of the last 16 games


Oklahoma owns a 29-9 series advantage against Texas A&M and is 1-0 against the Aggies in the Big 12 Championship (won 67-58 in 1997 behind 20-point performances from Corey Brewer and Nate Erdmann.  Since the start of the Big 12 in 1996-97, OU is 24-9 against the Aggies.  Eight of the Aggies’ nine wins in the series have come over the past six seasons (they have won eight of the last 12).

Romero Osby scored a career-high 24 points and Oklahoma led virtually throughout in a 65-62 win over Texas A&M in Norman on Saturday.  Osby was 11-for-15 from the field.
• The Sooners trailed for only 53 seconds of the game (in the first half) after trailing for just 3:13 of regulation in their 81-75 overtime loss at Texas A&M on Jan. 21. 
• OU led by seven at halftime (33-26) and extended its advantage to as many as 14 (45-31) with 15:52 remaining. The Aggies used a 23-11 run to cut the margin to two with 5:00 left, and got to within one point twice in the final 1:38.  Sam Grooms hit two free throws with 9.0 seconds left to put OU up by three, and Elston Turner’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark for A&M.
• With 10 points, junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald scored in double figures for the second straight game after going four consecutive games with less than 10. He added seven rebounds in his 32 minutes.
• Sophomore guard Cameron Clark (nine points) was held under 10 points for the first time in six outings, but still finished with nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
• Junior guard Steven Pledger was held to nine points, just the fourth time this season he failed to reach double figures. His nine points were his fewest in victory this year. Pledger hit OU’s only two 3-pointers on the day on four attempts.

• Oklahoma trailed for just three minutes and 13 seconds of regulation but lost 81-75 in overtime at Texas A&M on Jan. 21.  OU took a 39-38 lead with 17:26 left in the second half and didn't trail again until overtime, when it was outscored 16-10.
• The Sooners shot .492 from the field against an A&M squad that was holding opponents to .351 shooting on the year entering the day.  It was OU's highest field goal percentage in defeat this year.
• A&M scored at least one point on its final 10 possessions of the game (21 total points), including each of its eight overtime possessions.
• Junior forward Romero Osby was 8-for-10 from the field and tied a then-career high with 18 points.  It was his third 18-point effort in the last four games and fourth in the last seven.
• Junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald scored in double figures for the 13th straight game, finishing with 17 points on 8-for-14 shooting.  He also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
• Junior guard Steven Pledger finished with 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals without a turnover in his 37 minutes.  He drained all four of the team's 3-pointers (each in the second half) on 10 attempts.

• After averaging 8.6 points and shooting .386 from the field and .345 from 3-point range over his first two seasons, junior guard Steven Pledger is averaging 16.6 points this year while shooting .464 from the field and .426 from long distance.  Pledger ranks third in the Big 12 in 3-pointers per game (2.5), sixth in scoring, 3-point field goal and free throw (.830) percentage, and seventh in field goal percentage.
• The Dec. 19 and Jan. 30 Big 12 Player of the Week and honorable mention all-league pick has scored in double figures in 25 of his 29 outings.  He has scored at least 20 points eight times after doing it three times all of last year, and has netted at least 15 points on 10 other occasions.
• Pledger has already made 56 more field goals (168) in 29 games this year than he did in 32 games last season (112).  He has played 38 fewer minutes this season than last.
• Last Wednesday at Texas, Pledger became the 38th player in OU history to score 1,000 in a career and just the 28th to do it prior to their fourth playing year.  He already ranks sixth at OU in career 3-point makes with 178 (needs three to tie Cade Davis for fifth) and 35th in points (1,016).

• Sophomore guard Cameron Clark saved his best performances for the end of Big 12 play, registering efforts of 13, 16, 14, 12, 12 and 9 points in the last six contests.  Clark, who had been held to single-digit scoring in nine of OU’s first 12 league games, is averaging 12.7 points on 34-for-65 (.523) shooting during the five-game stretch.  He is also averaging a team-high 6.8 rebounds in those outings.  A starter in 59 of his 62 career games, Clark has more field goals over the last six games than he had over his previous 14 contests.  He is averaging 10.5 points and 10.0 rebounds over the last two games. 

• Junior point guard Sam Grooms leads the Big 12 and ranks in the top 10 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.0), and ranks second in the league with his 6.0 assists per game (Missouri’s Phil Pressey averages 6.2).  No other player in the Big 12 owns an assist-to-turnover ratio greater than 2.4.  Grooms has been on a tear of late, averaging 7.0 assists and just 1.9 turnovers (3.6 ratio) over the last 13 games.  He has recorded no more than three turnovers in any of those 13 outings.  Grooms, who has also scored in double figures three times over the last eight games (he was held to single digits in his previous 10 games), has registered two or fewer turnovers 20 times in 30 contests, including in 11 of the last 14 outings.  Only one Sooner in the last 15 years averaged more assists for an entire season than Grooms’ current 6.0 average (6.9 by Terrell Everett in 2005-06).

• Junior forward Romero Osby earned honorable mention All-Big 12 acclaim after averaging 14.0 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds in conference play.  Over the last four games, he is averaging 16.5 points (on .558 shooting) and 6.8 boards.  Osby ranks fifth in the Big 12 (all games) with his 7.4 rebounds and 2.6 offensive rebounds per contest, and is tied for fourth with seven double-doubles.  He has recorded at least 10 rebounds on nine occasions this year (his single-game rebounding high entering the season was eight).  Osby, who is coming off a career-high 24-point effort against Texas A&M (11-for-15 from field), has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 17 outings and had nine points in the other four.  His scoring surge can be partially attributed to his ability to get to the free throw line.  Osby has 82 free throw attempts over the last 16 games (5.1 average), nearly twice as many as the next highest total on the team during the span (42 by Steven Pledger).  He averaged 21.0 points on 19-for-25 (.760) shooting in two games against Texas A&M.

• Junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald has scored in double figures in 20 of the last 25 games but just twice in the last six.  After averaging 14.7 points on .506 shooting over a 19-game stretch, he is averaging 7.5 points on .346 (18-for-52) shooting the last six outings.  Fitzgerald, who poured in a career-high 27 points Feb. 4 against Iowa State when he drained a career-high 11 field goals on 19 attempts, ranks third on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.1 rpg).  He has almost as many offensive boards (74) as defensive (79).

No. 10 seed Oklahoma went 1-1 last year in Kansas City, beating No. 7 seed Baylor 84-67 in the first round before losing 74-54 to No. 2 seed Texas in the quarterfinals.  The Sooners had one of their best offensive games of the season against the Bears, shooting .575 from the field, .500 (9-for-18) from 3-point range and .879 (29-for-33) from the free throw line.  Cade Davis led four Sooners in double figures with his 24 points.  He was 8-for-13 from the field and 4-for-8 from behind the arc.  Carl Blair posted his first double-double at OU with 14 points and 11 assists (added six rebounds), while Cameron Clark and Steven Pledger added 10 points each.  The 17-point win was OU’s largest against a Big 12 opponent in two years.  The next night, Texas shot .509 from the field and posted a 39-23 rebounding advantage to end the Sooners’ season.  Davis scored 17 points while Andrew Fitzgerald netted 10.

If the Sooners beat Texas A&M, they’ll play No. 1 seed Kansas on Thursday at 2 p.m. CT.  The game will be televised by ESPN2.



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