Men's Basketball Back Home Friday Night

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 01, 2011

  Steven Pledger ranks fourth in the Big 12 with his 17.8 scoring average
 Oklahoma (4-1) vs. Sacramento State (3-3)
 Date & Tip Time  Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:07 p.m. CT
 Location  Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center | Seating Views
 Tickets  $10, $20 and $30; $5 for OU students
 OU Athletics Ticket Office
 TV  Sooner Sports Network
 KAUT Ch. 43 in Oklahoma City
 KQCW Ch. 19 in Tulsa
 ESPN Full Court
 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
 Webcast All-Access
 Live Stats GameTracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

Oklahoma (4-1) returns home after a second-place finish in the eight-team 76 Classic to host Sacramento State (3-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. CT.  The Sooners posted double-digit wins over Washington State and Santa Clara last week in Anaheim, Calif., before falling to Saint Louis in the championship game.  Sacramento State is coming off a 77-51 loss at Cal Poly on Wednesday.  Friday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing.  The game will be televised by the Sooner Sports Network (KAUT Ch. 43 in OKC; KQCW Ch. 19 in Tulsa; ESPN Full Court) with Bob Carpenter and Billy Tubbs calling the action.

• Tickets are available for $10, $20 and $30 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office and online here.  Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 5 p.m. on Friday.
• OU students may purchase a ticket for $5.  OU student season tickets cost $40.

Gameday Central: OU vs. Sacramento State

• Oklahoma is averaging 78.4 points per game after averaging 66.0 last season.  After recording a season high of 84 points last year, OU has already scored 85 points twice in five games this season.
• Rebounding was mentioned by head coach Lon Kruger several times in the preseason as a concern of his for 2011-12.  However, OU has outboarded four of its five opponents and ranks 14th nationally with its +10.6 margin per contest.  Included was a +34 effort against Coppin State (61-27) and a +16 margin against Santa Clara (49-33).  The Sooners own an 89-52 offensive rebounding advantage on the year and have scored 72 second-chance points to their opponents' 41.
• Kruger has spread the wealth when it comes to playing time, with eight players averaging at least 14.0 minutes a game and another averaging 11.4.  No Sooner averages more than 28.8 minutes an outing.
• Junior college transfer Sam Grooms ranks third in the Big 12 Conference with his 5.2 assists per game (Texas' J'Covan Brown averages a league-high 5.8) and ranks second with his 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio (26 assists and nine turnovers).
• After averaging 3.0 points on .167 (3-for-18) field goal shooting in OU's first two games, sophomore guard Cameron Clark is averaging 12.0 points on .469 (15-for-32) shooting over the last three contests.  He scored 11 points against both Washington State and Santa Clara last week in Anaheim, and netted a season-high 14 in the 76 Classic championship game against Saint Louis.
• Junior guard Steven Pledger has scored in double figures in all four games this season and has two outings of at least 20 points (14 and 11 in the others).  In 32 games last year, Pledger scored 20 or more just three times.  He is shooting a team-high .520 from the field this year after shooting a combined .386 his first two seasons.  He was named to the 76 Classic all-tournament team last week.
• Junior forward Romero Osby has grabbed 10 rebounds in three of his first five games and six boards in each of the other two.  He ranks fourth in the Big 12 with his 8.4 rebounds per contest and second with his 3.8 offensive boards per outing.

Big Sky Conference member Sacramento State enters Friday's game with a 3-3 record.  The Hornets started 3-1 on the year but have lost their last two contests, including a 77-51 decision at Cal Poly on Wednesday.  Their wins have come at home against Menlo College (70-56) and Central Arkansas (75-54), and on the road against UC Davis (69-61).  They also lost at Washington State (79-68) and at home to McNeese State (68-63).  Last year they posted a 7-21 record and tied for eighth place in league play with a 4-12 mark.

Three Hornets are averaging double figures in scoring, with junior guard/forward Joe Eberhard leading the way at 12.5 points per game.  Eberhard is shooting .483 from the field and also averages a team-high 7.2 rebounds.  He has played at least 34 minutes in each contest and scored in double figures the first five games of the year (included was a string of three straight 16-point outings).  Junior forward John Dickson is averaging 12.3 points and 4.8 rebounds to rank second on the team in each category.  His 21 points at Washington State are the most scored by a Hornet this season.  Junior center Konner Veteto contributes 10.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting .513 from the field.  After scoring three points in the season opener (played eight minutes), Veteto is averaging 12.8 points in his last four outings (did not play at Washington State).  Freshman point guard Dylan Garrity is averaging 7.0 assists per game and entered the week ranked in the top five nationally in the category.  Senior center Josh McCarver has made 16 of his 18 field goal attempts on the year for a sparkling .889 mark. 

Sacramento State is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Brian Katz, who is 21-72 (.226) at the school.  Before Sacramento State, Katz spent 19 years as a junior college coach in California, racking up a 435-185 (.702) record.

 Sooner to Watch 

 Romero Osby | Jr. | Forward
 • Averaging 12.0 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game
 • Ranks fourth in Big 12 in rebounding and second in offensive rebounding (3.8)
 • Has grabbed 10 rebounds in three of Sooners' five games
 • Leads team with nine dunks on the year (team total is 17)


The lone previous meeting in the Oklahoma-Sacramento State series came last year in Norman, a 66-53 Sooners win on Dec. 21.  Then-freshman Calvin Newell snapped a four-game scoreless streak and finished with 17 points (his most all season) in 17 minutes off the bench.  Newell drained a career-high five 3-pointers on six attempts.  Senior guard Cade Davis, who was 6-for-10 from the field, was the only other Sooner in double figures with 15 points.  OU made 10 treys on 22 attempts for a .455 mark and shot .463 overall.  The Hornets shot .300 (6-for-20) from behind the arc and .352 overall.  Sacramento State held a 37-33 rebounding advantage and scored 12 second-chance points to OU's four, but committed 16 turnovers to the Sooners' 11.  Hornets senior Sultan Toles-Bey scored 21 points, his team's only player in double figures.

Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger announced Thursday that sophomore guard Calvin Newell has decided to transfer.  Newell, from Philadelphia, Pa., was OU's second-leading scorer this season at 13.0 points per game.  He averaged 19.6 minutes a contest and shot .490 from the field, .385 from 3-point range (10-for-26) and .714 from the free throw line (5-for-7).  Newell led the Sooners in scoring with a career-high 19 points against Idaho State in the season opener and 18 points versus Washington State last week.

"I met with Coach Kruger this morning and told him I've been dealing with issues regarding my family the past few months and that I've felt distracted lately," said Newell on Thursday. "I feel I need to get back closer to home and that's why I've made this decision.  I like this team a lot and I know they'll do well. I'll be cheering them on."

Said Kruger, "We'll definitely miss Calvin.  He's been a key contributor this season and a guy who's scored the basketball for us. However, I respect his decision and the issues he's facing, and certainly wish him the best."

As a freshman last year, Newell averaged 3.5 points and 1.5 assists in 12.5 minutes a game.

Oklahoma has dominated home non-conference games over the last decade, winning 87 of its last 89 non-league contests inside Lloyd Noble Center going back to Jan. 3, 2000 (good for a .977 winning percentage).  Included was a streak of 49 non-conference home victories that was snapped by Villanova, 67-51, on Dec. 6, 2006.  The only other home non-conference loss during the last 89 games was a 66-62 defeat at the hands of Stephen F. Austin in the 2007-08 season.  The current win string stands at 29 games.

Junior forward Romero Osby has begun his OU career with a bang following a two-year stint at Mississippi State where he averaged 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds.  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 12.0 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds (ranks fourth in Big 12) in 27.0 minutes per contest through three outings.  He is shooting .467 from the floor and .762 (16-for-21) from the free throw line while making two of his five 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 second in the Big 12 with his 3.8 offensive rebounds per game.  Osby has scored at least nine points and grabbed at least six rebounds in all five games.

Junior guard Steven Pledger has been extremely productive in his four appearances, averaging 17.8 points in only 27.8 minutes per outing (last year he averaged 10.9 points in 30.0 minutes a contest).  Twice this season his 40-minute point projection exceeded 33 (scored 20 points in 20 minutes against Coppin State and netted 26 points in 31 minutes versus Santa Clara).  Pledger is shooting .520 from the field to rank fourth in the Big 12 and .423 (11-for-26) from 3-point range to rank seventh in the league after posting respective marks of .393 and .350 last season.

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).

Head coach Lon Kruger announced the addition of Jarion Henry and C.J. Cole to the Sooners' 2012 recruiting class on Wednesday. 

Henry is a 6-9, 205-pound left-handed forward from Dallas, Texas, who attends La Jolla Prep in San Diego, Calif. He is ranked No. 119 nationally in the 2013 recruiting class by and is regarded as the country's 26th-best small forward. His father, Skeeter Henry, was a wing for the Sooners in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons, earning first-team All-Big Eight honors as a senior when OU finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll.  Jarion (pronounced JAIR-ee-on) Henry signed with New Mexico last fall out of Kimball High School in Dallas, where he helped the Knights to a 38-3 record and Class 4A state title by averaging 14.8 points, 13.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. He was a first-team all-area selection by the Dallas Morning News.

Cole is a 6-7, 220-pound forward from Sperry, Okla., who attends Sperry High School. He is a two-time all-state selection who last year as a junior averaged 22.9 points and 15.3 rebounds per contest while shooting 61 percent from the field. Through two games this year, Cole is averaging 28.0 points.  He owns a 4.25 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) and ranks No. 1 in his class academically.

Henry and Cole join top-100 signees Buddy Hield and Jelon Hornbeak as members of OU's 2012 recruiting class.  Guards who signed on Nov. 9, Hield is ranked No. 94 in the country by and Hornbeak is ranked No. 89.

• Oklahoma has recorded 17 dunks in its five games and junior forward Romero Osby has nine of them.
• Osby and fellow junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald have each taken three charges.  The Sooners have totaled nine charges taken.
• Fitzgerald is averaging 1.2 more rebounds per game this year than last year, despite averaging 7.0 fewer minutes per contest.
• Last year, Steven Pledger averaged 15.4 points in OU's wins and 7.4 points in its losses.  This year, the junior guard is averaging 20.0 points in wins (he missed the season-opening victory) and was held to 11 points in the loss to Saint Louis.
• Osby has scored at least nine points and grabbed at least six rebounds in all five games this year.  In his 35 games at Mississippi State as a sophomore in 2009-10, Osby scored at least nine points five times and pulled down at least six boards on three occasions.
• OU is shooting .739 from the free throw line in two home games and .692 in three games away from home.
• Junior point guard Sam Grooms' 10 assists against Washington State rank as the second most by a Big 12 player this year (Missouri's Phil Pressey recorded 11 assists against Binghamton).
• Senior C.J. Washington's three assists against Coppin State on Nov. 18 were more than he had all of last season (two).



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