Winner of two straight, Jeff Capel's Oklahoma Sooners (11-6 overall, 3-2 Big 12) travel to play Oklahoma State (16-3, 2-2) on Monday at 8 p.m. CST inside Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. OU is coming off a 91-51 win over Baylor on Saturday, the ninth largest victory margin in the history of Big 12 league games. Oklahoma State, ranked No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today version, lost 67-49 at No. 8/8 Texas A&M on Saturday.
Monday’s contest, part of The Bedlam Series, presented by Bank of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Ford Dealers, will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC-AM 1520 in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry Sr. and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be televised by ESPN with Ron Franklin, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe calling the action.
Date: Monday, Jan. 22
Location: Stillwater, Okla. (Gallagher-Iba Arena)
Tip: 8:05 p.m. CST
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (Flagship KOKC 1520 AM in OKC); Yahoo! Broadcast (subscription)
Series: OU leads 121-87
Oklahoma owns a 121-87 (.582) all-time record against Oklahoma State.
OU swept the series with OSU last year, winning 73-65 in Stillwater and 67-66 in Norman.
OU’s three conference wins have come by an average of 27.0 points.
Since 4:30 remained at Texas on Jan. 13, OU has outscored the Longhorns, Nebraska and Baylor by 73 points (178-105).
Nate Carter averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds prior to Big 12 play, but leads OU with his 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds over the team’s five conference outings.
Michael Neal is 15-for-27 (.556) from 3-point range over the past four games. He was 13-for-63 (.206) over his first 11 outings.
In its 11 wins, OU is holding its foes to a .326 field goal mark. Only one of those 11 opponents has shot better than .370.
All 11 of OU’s wins have been by double digits. Its average victory margin is 26.9 points.
OU ranks second in the Big 12 by averaging just 11.4 turnovers per league game (9.7 over the past three games). The Sooners averaged 15.8 in non-league play.
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 24 Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 8.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
F 32 Taylor Griffin (6-7, 232, So., 7.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 10.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
G 5 Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 10.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
G 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 8.9 ppg, 1.8 apg)
OKLAHOMA STATE PROJECTED STARTERS
F 4 Mario Boggan (6-7, 240, Sr., 21.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
C 40 Kenny Cooper (6-10, 260, So., 5.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
G 00 Byron Eaton (5-11, 215, So., 6.5 ppg 3.5 apg)
G 1 Terrel Harris (6-5, 190, So., 11.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G 24 JamesOn Curry (6-3, 190, Jr., 19.1 ppg, 4.4 apg)
In one of their best performances of the year, the Sooners bounced back from an early 10-2 deficit to dispose of Baylor on Saturday in Norman, 91-51. The 40-point win was Oklahoma’s largest in Big 12 play since it downed Baylor by 43 two seasons ago. OU shot .576 from the field its second best effort of the year while holding the Bears to a .309 mark, and posted a 42-30 rebounding advantage. It was OU’s 25th straight win against Baylor.
Senior guard Michael Neal netted 16 points on Saturday with the help of 4-for-7 3-point shooting and has now converted 13 of his 23 long-range attempts over the past three games. He is averaging 16.3 points over the span. On the year, Neal averages 10.5 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting .311 from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Tony Crocker, one of the Big 12’s top freshmen, ranks third on the team by scoring 10.4 points a game and also supplies 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a team-high 1.2 steals. He is the only Sooner who has started all 17 games. Another guard, sophomore Austin Johnson averages 8.9 points and a team-high 3.3 assists while shooting a team-best .390 from 3-point range. Johnson also ranks third in the Big 12 with his 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Longar Longar, OU’s leading scorer (11.9 ppg) and rebounder (7.3 rpg) on the season, returned from a two-game Big 12 suspension to record 10 points and nine rebounds against Baylor. The junior center ranks third in the Big 12 with his .576 field goal percentage and has also blocked 19 shots in his 15 outings. Longar is averaging
14.6 points and 8.3 rebounds in OU’s victories. Sophomore forward
Taylor Griffin has started 16 of 17 games on the year and in conference
play averages 8.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocked shot. He has at least one block in 10 of the last 11 games and is averaging 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals over the last three outings.
Oklahoma fell behind 10-2 but outscored Baylor 43-17 the rest of the first half.
Baylor started 7-for-12 from the field but was held to .233 shooting (10-for-43) over the game’s final 31 minutes.
OU freshman Bobby Maze was 6-for-7 from the field and scored 13 points.
Nate Carter’s 22 points were his most in an OU uniform. His previous OU high was 19 points, scored Wednesday against Nebraska. His high before that was 18 points Jan. 13 at Texas.
OU committed only 10 turnovers on Saturday and has committed no more than 12 turnovers in any of the last four games.
The Sooners won for 25th straight time against Baylor. Their average margin of victory against the Bears in 11 home games since the Big 12 was formed is 26.0 points.
OKLAHOMA STATE UPDATE
Oklahoma State, which has lost two of its last three games after starting the year 15-1, is 11-0 at home this year. The Cowboys rank second in the Big 12 by averaging 82.6 points a contest, but were held to 49 on Saturday in an 18-point loss at Texas A&M. They scored 105 in a two-point triple-overtime win against Texas last Tuesday. OSU also ranks third in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at .495 despite going 12-for-36 (.333) at Texas A&M.
Senior forward Mario Boggan and junior guard JamesOn Curry rank second and fourth in the Big 12 in scoring with their 21.4 and 19.1 respective scoring averages. Boggan is shooting .575 from the field while also pulling down a team-high 8.1 rebounds a contest. Curry is shooting .431 from 3-point range and averages 2.8 treys per outing, as well as a team-high 4.6 assists. Sophomore guard Terrell Harris averages 11.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting .500 from beyond the arc (29-for-58). He also leads the Big 12 with his .859 free throw percentage. Senior forward David Monds contributes 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds a game while shooting .510 from the floor.
Sean Sutton is in his first season as a collegiate basketball head coach.
OKLAHOMA-OKLAHOMA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma holds a 121-87 series lead against Oklahoma State but trails in games played in Stillwater, 41-56. OU is 10-11 against the Cowboys since the inception of the Big 12 Conference (3-7 at Gallagher-Iba Arena).
LAST YEAR AGAINST THE COWBOYS
Oklahoma posted its first regular season series sweep of Oklahoma State since 1999 last year with a 73-65 victory in Stillwater on Feb. 8 and a 67-66 nail-biter in Norman on Feb. 27. In the first meeting, the Sooners snapped a five-game losing streak at Gallagher-Iba Arena as they shot .522 from the field and held a 33-28 rebounding edge. Terrell Everett registered 23 points, five rebounds and five assists while Kevin Bookout tallied 13 points. Michael Neal and Taylor Griffin came off the bench to supply 12 and 10 points, respectively. JamesOn Curry scored 20 points for OSU while Mario Boggan added 18. OSU entered the game with a .498 season field goal percentage but was held to .222 shooting in the first half. OU led by nine at intermission and by as many as 18 with 6:35 remaining in the game.
In the rematch, the Sooners trailed by nine with seven minutes left but outscored the Cowboys 19-9 down the stretch. The lead changed hands three times in the final nine seconds and Everett’s two free throws with 0.6 seconds left were the game’s final points. OU’s three seniors combined for 46 of the team’s 67 points on Senior Night. Taj Gray had 19 points, Bookout scored 14 and Everett added 13. Nate Carter also reached double figures with 12 points. Boggan was 10-for-13 from the field and led all scorers with 21 points.
KEITH CLARK OUT FOR YEAR WITH KNEE INJURY
Freshman Keith Clark sustained torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee during first-half action against SMU on Dec. 28. He underwent surgery Jan. 11 and will miss the rest of the season. The 6-8, 245-pound forward from Oklahoma City came off the bench in all of his 11 games this year and averaged 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.2 minutes a contest. He scored a season-high nine points against Purdue on Nov. 21 and pulled down a season-high four rebounds twice.
Ranked the No. 57 player in the 2006 national recruiting class by Rivals.com, Clark led Putnam City High School to the Class 6A state title last year by averaging 14.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists for the season.
"This is a huge blow to our team," said OU head coach Jeff Capel on Dec. 29. "First of all, it’s a big blow to Keith. He was just starting to play really well. I thought he had his best game of the year against Tulsa (Dec. 21) and played very well against SMU before he got hurt. He was making the jump to becoming a good college basketball player and I hate to see this happen to him. His injury will give other players on our team an opportunity to step up and I’m sure they’re looking forward to that challenge."
CARTER STEPS UP
Senior Nate Carter has taken advantage of his increased minutes since Keith Clark was lost for the season. Carter, who averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game prior to Big 12 play, is averaging 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds (both team highs) in 28.4 minutes per contest over four league outings. He is shooting .585 from the field and .806 from the free throw line in conference play, and leads the team with his 17 offensive rebounds (3.4 average). Carter had 53 points over OU’s first 12 games but has tallied 87 over the last five.
MORE ON CARTER
Nate Carter scored 13 points in OU’s Big 12 opener at Texas Tech and has increased his scoring totals in each game since. The lefty recorded 15 points versus Colorado, 18 at Texas, 19 against Nebraska and 22 versus Baylor. 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 each of the last three contests. Carter, who began his career at UC Riverside, was the 2003 Big West Freshman of the Year and earned second-team all-league honors as a sophomore. Last year he averaged 6.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 16.7 minutes a game for OU.
CROCKER AMONG BIG 12’S TOP FRESHMEN
Tony Crocker is having one of the better freshman campaigns in recent OU memory. The guard is the only Sooner who has started every game and owns season averages of 10.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a team-high 1.2 steals while shooting .474 from the field and .789 from the free throw line in 26.6 minutes a game. He ranks sixth among Big 12 freshmen in scoring.
Crocker is looking to become just the second true freshman since guard Tim McCalister in 1983-84 to average double figures in scoring. McCalister averaged 16.1 points that season while freshman guard Drew Lavender averaged 11.3 points in 2003-04.
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 11.9 points per game, 7.3 rebounds (ranks seventh in Big 12) and 1.3 blocks (ranks 11th), as well as with his .576 field goal mark (ranks fourth).
Longar turned in a 20-point, career-high 15-rebound game against SMU on Dec. 28, his third double-double of his career (all this season). He also 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. Additionally, he scored 21 points against Liberty in the second game of the season (Nov. 16).
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 already has 51 more points this year (178) than he scored over his first two seasons combined (127).
The Sooners’ defense has been suffocating at times this year, as evidenced by opponents’ 56.9 points per game and .378 combined field goal percentage. The last time OU gave up less than 56.9 points per contest for an entire season was in 1959-60 (56.8 ppg) a span of 47 years. The last time Oklahoma opponents shot worse than .378 for a season was in 1960-61 (.377).
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 (it posted a .547 mark on Jan. 13 in Austin).
Oklahoma leads the Big 12 Conference with its +7.6 rebounding margin per game and has been outrebounded just once (Jan. 13 at Texas) since the fourth game of the season. The importance of rebounding is illustrated in the fact that OU is 10-2 when it has outboarded its opponents and 1-4 when it hasn’t. In their victories, the Sooners have outrebounded their foes by 12.1 a game.
PROTECTING THE BALL
After averaging 15.8 turnovers a game in non-conference play, the Sooners have done a much better job of taking care of the basketball in their five Big 12 games. OU is averaging 11.4 turnovers per conference outing (ranks second in Big 12) and over the last three games is averaging just 10.3 miscues. The Sooners are 8-1 this year when committing fewer turnovers than their opponents.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING
The following notes compare Oklahoma’s stats in wins and losses this year...
In its 11 wins this year OU is outrebounding its opponents by 12.1 a game. In its six losses it is getting outboarded by 0.5.
OU is shooting .498 from the field in its wins but only .399 in its defeats.
Opponents are shooting just .326 from the field in OU’s wins while they are shooting .472 in OU’s losses.
OU’s assist-to-turnover ratio in its victories is +1.3 (180 assists and 144 turnovers). The ratio in losses is -1.5 (68 and 102).
Longar Longar is averaging 14.6 points and 8.3 rebounds in the Sooners’ wins but just 6.4 points and 5.2 boards in their defeats.
STACKING UP AGAINST THE BIG 12
OU leads the Big 12 in rebounding margin (+7.6), ranks second in scoring defense (56.9 ppg), third in field goal percentage defense (.378) and fifth in blocked shots (4.5 bpg).
Longar Longar ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage (.576), seventh in rebounding (7.3), fifth in offensive rebounding (2.9) and 11th in blocked shots (1.3).
Taylor Griffin ranks 11th in rebounding with his 6.6 boards a game and ranks 11th with his 4.4 defensive boards a contest.
Austin Johnson’s 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks third in the conference.
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 1,440-915 (.611) all-time record and a 407-66 (.860) 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.