OU Meets Santa Clara Late Friday Night

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 25, 2011

  Calvin Newell is averaging 17.0 points a game
 Oklahoma (3-0) vs. Santa Clara (3-1)
 Date & Tip Time  Friday, Nov. 25, at 11 p.m. CT
 Location  Anaheim, Calif. | Anaheim Convention Center Arena
 Tickets  Ticketmaster
 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
 Webcast  ESPN3.com
 Live Stats  GameTracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

Oklahoma plays a second-round 76 Classic winners’ bracket game against Santa Clara on Friday at 11 p.m. CT in Anaheim, Calif.  The 3-0 Sooners posted a 74-59 win over Washington State on Thursday night while the 3-1 Broncos dealt New Mexico a 79-76 overtime loss.  Friday’s contest, the second of three over a four-day span for OU at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa) with Chuck Cooperstein and Mike Houck announcing.  The game will be televised nationally by ESPN2 with Mark Neely and Miles Simon calling the action.

Oklahoma overcame a 40-38 halftime deficit and outscored Washington State 36-19 in the second half to post a 74-59 first-round 76 Classic win on Thursday.  The Sooners held the Cougars to 6-for-27 (.222) field goal and 1-for-9 (.111) 3-point shooting after intermission and rode strong backcourt play to their third win of the season.  Sophomore guard Calvin Newell came off the bench to supply a game-high 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting (4-for-8 from behind the arc) and added three assists with no turnovers in 24 minutes.  Junior guard Steven Pledger was 3-for-6 from 3-point distance and netted 14 points while sophomore guard Cameron Clark hit five of his nine shots en route to a season-high 11 points.  Junior point guard Sam Grooms contributed nine points and a career-high 10 assists while committing just one turnover.  Junior forwards Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby also tallied nine points each, with Fitzgerald adding a team-high seven rebounds and Osby six.

Gameday Central: OU vs. Santa Clara | 76 Classic Bracket (PDF)

• Oklahoma trailed 48-47 with 12:30 remaining before going on a 13-2 run to take a 60-50 lead with 7:15 left.
• The Sooners forced 22 turnovers while committing just 11, and posted a 22-7 scoring advantage off those miscues.
• Oklahoma’s guards shot .500 from the field and combined for 52 of the team’s 74 points, as well as all 14 of its assists.
• Washington State shot .640 from the field and .750 (6-for-8) from 3-point range in the first half but turned in .222 and .111 (1-for-9) respective second-half marks.
• OU’s .611 free throw performance (11-for-18) was a season low.
• The Sooners took three charges on the night, upping their three-game total to seven.
• Washington State’s Marcus Capers hit a 55-foot shot at the buzzer to give the Cougars a 40-38 halftime lead.

West Coast Conference member Santa Clara enters Friday’s second-round 76 Classic game with a 3-1 record following a 79-76 overtime win over New Mexico on Thursday.  The Broncos, who finished 24-14 last year and won the postseason CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT), have also posted home wins over UC Merced (80-48) and San Jose State (84-58) while losing at UC Santa Barbara (89-56).

Junior guard Kevin Foster leads three Santa Clara players who score in double figures.  Foster, who made 140 3-pointers last year and led the country with his 3.7 treys per game, averages a team-high 17.5 points per contest.  He is 15-for-45 (.333) from long range on the year and 15-for-22 (.682) from the free throw line.  Foster scored 26 points against New Mexico with the help of five 3-pointers.  Sophomore point guard Evan Roquemore, who also tallied 26 points Thursday (four treys and 10-for-10 free throw shooting), is averaging 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per outing.  Junior forward Niyi Harrison contributes 14.0 points and a team-high-tying 6.5 boards per game while shooting .656 from the field.  He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds versus New Mexico.

Santa Clara is under the direction of fifth-year head coach Kerry Keating, who is 68-69 (.496) at the school.  He arrived at SCU in 2007 after spending four years as a UCLA assistant coach, helping the Bruins to Final Four appearances in 2006 and ’07.

 Sooner to Watch 

 Sam Grooms | Jr. | Guard
 • Coming off a 9-point, 10-assist, 1-turnover performance in win over Washington State
 • Ranks second in Big 12 with his 6.3 assists per game and 3.2 assist/turnover ratio
 • Averaging 8.0 points in a team-high 31.0 minutes per game
 • Paces Sooners with 16 free throw attempts (11 makes) in three outings


Oklahoma beat Santa Clara 91-77 in the only meeting between the schools in the Great Alaska Shootout fifth-place game during the 1983-84 season.

If Oklahoma beats Santa Clara Friday night, it will play in Sunday’s 76 Classic championship game against Saint Louis.  The title game will start at 8 p.m. CT and be televised by ESPN2.  If OU loses to Santa Clara, it will face Villanova on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. CT (ESPNU).  Saint Louis is 5-0 on the season while Villanova is 4-1.  The Billikens beat the Wildcats 80-68 in Friday’s first game.

This week’s 76 Classic is the second straight for first-year OU head coach Lon Kruger.  Last year, Kruger directed UNLV to the 76 Classic title with a 3-0 record.  The Runnin’ Rebels defeated Tulsa (80-71), Murray State (69-55) and Virginia Tech (71-59) to claim the crown.

• The Sooners’ pressure defense under new head coach Lon Kruger has boosted the team’s offense through three regular season games.  Opponents have averaged 19.0 turnovers, resulting in an average of 20.3 points per contest for the Sooners on the other end of the floor.
• Through three games, OU is averaging 81.0 points.  Last year, the Sooners averaged 66.0 points per contest.
• Junior college transfer Sam Grooms ranks second in the Big 12 Conference with his 6.3 assists per game and also with his 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Texas’ J’Covan Brown leads in both categories (7.5 and 3.8).
• Rebounding was mentioned by Kruger several times in the preseason as a concern of his for 2011-12.  However, OU has outboarded its first three regular season opponents by an average of 11.7 a contest.  Included was a +34 effort against Coppin State (61-27).  The Sooners own a 59-35 offensive rebounding advantage on the year and have scored 46 second-chance points to their opponents’ 16.
• Kruger has spread the wealth when it comes to playing time, with eight players averaging at least 15.0 minutes a game and two more averaging at least 10.0.  No Sooner averages more than 31.0 minutes.
• After averaging 3.5 points in an average of 12.5 minutes a game last year as a freshman, guard Calvin Newell is averaging a team-high-tying 17.0 points in 23.3 minutes a contest this season (29.1 points per 40 minutes).  His 51 points represent 48 percent of his total last year (107 points).  Newell is playing on the wing this season after serving as a back-up combo guard as a freshman.
• OU’s Thursday win over Washington State leaves Kruger just 18 victories shy of 500 for his career.  He ranks second among current Big 12 head coaches with 482 career wins (Texas’ Rick Barnes has 526 victories).

Speedy sophomore guard Calvin Newell is off to a fast start this season, averaging 17.0 points per game to rank fourth in the Big 12 Conference.  The 6-1, 198-pound Philadelphia, Pa., product has come off the bench in all three outings and scored a career-high 19 points against Idaho State, 14 versus Coppin State and 18 against Washington State.  Newell already has as many double-digit scoring games as he did all of last season, and with 10 3-point makes is just three shy of his freshman year total.  He is shooting .487 from the field and .435 from 3-point range after shooting .407 and .271 last season.

Junior forward Romero Osby has begun his OU career with a bang following a two-year stint at Mississippi State.  The 6-8, 232-pounder, who sat out last season for the Sooners after transferring and was labeled the team’s best player in practice by former head coach Jeff Capel, is averaging 12.3 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds (ranks fourth in Big 12) in 26.3 minutes per contest through three outings.  He is shooting .500 from the floor and .846 (11-for-13) from the free throw line while making two of his three 3-point attempts.  He recorded double-doubles in each of OU’s first two games, registering career highs of 17 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes versus Idaho State and 11 points and 10 boards against Coppin State in only 22 minutes.  He ranks first in the Big 12 with his 4.0 offensive rebounds per game.  In his two seasons at MSU, Osby averaged 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 12.8 minutes a contest, and recorded highs of 15 points and eight rebounds.

Junior guard Steven Pledger has been extremely productive in his two appearances, averaging 17.0 points in only 23.3 minutes per outing.  He scored 20 points in 20 minutes against Coppin State in his first appearance of the year (OU’s second game) and followed with 14 points in 25 minutes versus Washington State on Thursday.  Pledger is shooting .545 from the field, .429 (6-for-14) from 3-point range and 1.000 (4-for-4) from the free throw line after posting respective marks of .393, .350 and .851 last season.

He also scored 24 points in just 21 minutes in his lone exhibition game against Division II Washburn.  He was 5-for-7 from long range in that outing.  A 10.9 points-per-game scorer last year, Pledger entered this season with 106 career 3-pointers (Terry Evans and Lawrence McKenzie are the only Sooners to make more treys through their sophomore year).



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