|Carl Blair is 6-for-12 from 3-point range in home games this season|
|Oklahoma (5-1) vs. Oral Roberts (6-2)|
|Date & Tip Time||Thursday, Dec. 8, 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
KOTV Ch. 6 in Tulsa
ESPN Full Court
|Radio|| Sooner Radio Network
KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
Sirius 113, XM 191
|Live Stats||SoonerSports.com GameTracker|
|Game Info||Game Notes (PDF)|
THURSDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma (5-1) plays the second of three straight home games when Oral Roberts (6-2) visits Lloyd Noble Center on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT. The Sooners are coming off their largest victory margin of the season in an 82-53 win over Sacramento State on Friday. The Golden Eagles have won their last six games after a 0-2 start. Thursday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa; Sirius 113, XM 191) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be televised by the Sooner Sports Network (KAUT Ch. 43 in OKC; KOCO Ch. 6 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 Thursday.
OU students may purchase a ticket for $5. OU student season tickets cost $40.
Oklahoma is averaging 79.0 points per game after averaging 66.0 last season. OU has scored at least 80 points three times in its six outings. Last year, it scored 80 or more four times in 32 games. The 79.0 points-per-game figure ranks 37th nationally out of 338 Division I teams.
The Sooners' pressure defense under new head coach Lon Kruger has boosted the team's offense through six games. Opponents have averaged 16.5 turnovers, resulting in an average of 18.5 points per contest for OU on the other end of the floor. Foes are averaging 12.8 points off the Sooners' 12.7 turnovers per game.
Rebounding was mentioned by Kruger several times in the preseason as a concern of his for 2011-12. However, OU has outboarded five of its six opponents and ranks seventh nationally with its +9.8 margin per contest despite not starting anyone taller than 6-8. Included was a +34 effort against Coppin State (61-27) and a +16 margin against Santa Clara (49-33). The Sooners own a 98-59 offensive rebounding advantage on the year and have scored 87 second-chance points to their opponents' 48.
OU's rebounding success has been the result of a group effort. More Sooners (eight) average at least 3.0 rebounds per game than any other Big 12 team.
Junior college transfer Sam Grooms ranks third in the Big 12 with his 5.0 assists per game and ranks second with his 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio (30 assists and 10 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 13.5 points on .500 (22-for-44) shooting over the last four contests. He scored 11 points against both Washington State and Santa Clara two weeks ago in Anaheim, netted 14 in the 76 Classic championship game against Saint Louis and scored a season-high 18 last Friday against Sacramento State.
Junior guard Steven Pledger has scored in double figures in all five of his games and has two outings of at least 20 points (14, 11 and 15 in the others). In 32 games last year, Pledger scored 20 or more just three times. He is shooting a team-high .545 from the field and .483 from 3-point range this year after shooting .386 and .345, respectively, over his first two seasons combined.
Junior forward Romero Osby has grabbed 10 rebounds in three of his first six games and ranks fifth in the Big 12 with his 7.7 boards per contest. He also ranks second with his 3.5 offensive boards per outing.
PREVIEWING ORAL ROBERTS
After losing its first two games of the season at West Virginia (78-71) and versus Texas-San Antonio (78-77), Oral Roberts has reeled off six straight victories. The Golden Eagles used a 16-2 run over the final 4:28 to win 61-55 this past Saturday at home against Southern Utah in their Summit League opener. Their five starters each average at least 29.5 minutes per game.
A heavy favorite to win the Summit League (it received 27 of 32 first-place votes in the conference's preseason poll), ORU is outscoring its opponents by 8.1 a game (70.4-62.2) and is outrebounding them by an average of 6.9 boards.
Oral Roberts had five players named to the first or second All-Summit League preseason teams. Senior forwards Dominique Morrison and Michael Craion were first-team picks. Morrison is averaging a team-high 16.4 points per game to go along with 3.8 rebounds. He scored 30 points in a six-point win over SMU and has already attempted 53 free throws on the year (shooting .774). Craion averages 12.9 points and team highs of 7.8 rebounds and 3.0 steals per contest. He is shooting .565 from the field.
Sophomore forward Steven Roundtree, junior guard Warren Niles and junior forward/center Damen Bell-Holter were second-team preseason all-conference selections. Last year's Summit League Newcomer of the Year, Roundtree averages 12.8 points and 7.6 points while shooting a team-best .578 from the floor. Niles contributes 11.8 points, 4.1 boards and 3.0 assists per outing and has made a team-high 13 treys (shooting .265 from deep). Bell-Holter played eight minutes in the opener at West Virginia then missed the next five games due to a back injury. He is averaging 28.0 minutes the last two outings and is coming off an 11-point, 11-rebound performance against Southern Utah.
Head coach Scott Sutton is 229-157 (.593) in his 13th year as a collegiate head coach, all at ORU. He is the school's career wins leader.
OU-ORAL ROBERTS HISTORY
Thursday's game will mark the 13th between Oklahoma and Oral Roberts, with the Sooners owning a 10-2 series advantage and winning each of the last 10 meetings. Nine of OU's 10 wins in the series have come by double digits. ORU's two victories against the Sooners came in the 1976-77 (64-58 in Norman) and 1976-77 (68-50 in Tulsa) seasons.
LAST YEAR VS. THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Oklahoma overcame three different 13-point first-half deficits to post a 73-60 home win over the Golden Eagles on Dec. 11, 2010. Trailing 24-12, OU closed the first half with a 22-2 run over the last 9:55 to lead 34-26 at the break. ORU went 0-for-12 from the field the last 10 minutes of the half after it started 8-for-11. It went a span of 9:19 without scoring a point.
Five Sooners scored in double figures. Steven Pledger was 4-for-6 from 3-point range and finished with a team-high 19 points. He hit three treys in the span of two and a half minutes during OU's 22-2 first-half run.
Cameron Clark registered 17 points and three steals. He played all 40 minutes and was 8-for-11 from the field. Andrew Fitzgerald finished with 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds, Carl Blair tallied 12 points and a game-high nine assists, and Cade Davis added 10 points and six rebounds.
OU outscored ORU 13-3 in fast break points, and the Sooners' 13-rebound advantage (39-26) wound up as its largest of the season.
Warren Niles came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points for the Golden Eagles. He hit six 3-pointers on 11 attempts. Dominique Morrison and Steven Roundtree added 11 points each, while Damen Bell-Holter scored 10.
CRUTCHFIELD FACES FORMER TEAM
First-year Oklahoma assistant coach Chris Crutchfield spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach for Scott Sutton at Oral Roberts. Crutchfield helped the Golden Eagles to an average of 20 wins per year and postseason appearances in 2008 (NCAA Tournament) and 2011 (CollegeInsider.com Tournament).
FRIDAY'S SACRAMENTO STATE RECAP
Oklahoma shot season highs of .574 from the field and .550 (11-for-20) from 3-point range in an 82-53 home win over Sacramento State on Friday, good for the team's largest victory margin of the season.
Each of OU's five starters shot better than .500 from the field and they combined to shoot .686 (24-for-39) from the field and .800 (8-for-10) from 3-point range. The starters also combined for 16 of the team's 22 assists and 12 of its 16 steals.
The Sooners' 22 assists were their most in 81 games and their 16 steals were their most in 131 outings. Their .550 3-point field goal percentage marked the program's highest in 63 games.
Cameron Clark scored a season-high 18 points to lead three Sooners in double figures. The sophomore was 7-for-12 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range while adding three assists, a career-high three blocks and two steals without a turnover.
Junior guard Steven Pledger was very efficient in his 21 minutes, finishing with 15 points, five assists, three steals and no turnovers. He was 4-for-5 from the floor, 3-for-3 from long distance and 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
Junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald turned in his best shooting game of the year (6-for-8 from field) en route to a 13-point night.
OU forced a Sacramento State team that entered the game averaging 12.0 turnovers into 22 miscues. The Sooners outscored the Hornets 30-7 off turnovers.
BUNCH OF HOMERS
Oklahoma has dominated home non-conference games over the last decade, winning 88 of its last 90 non-league contests inside Lloyd Noble Center going back to Jan. 3, 2000 (good for a .978 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 90 games was a 66-62 defeat at the hands of Stephen F. Austin in the 2007-08 season. The current win string stands at 30 games.
SOONER TIP INS
Oklahoma entered the week ranked No. 7 nationally (out of 338 Division I teams) in rebounding margin (+9.8), No. 34 in 3-point field goal percentage (.407), No. 37 in scoring (79.0 ppg) and No. 42 in turnover margin (+3.8).
Oklahoma has recorded 23 dunks in its six games and junior forward Romero Osby has 12 of them.
Osby and fellow junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald have each taken three charges. The Sooners have totaled 11 charges taken.
Fitzgerald is averaging more rebounds per game this year than last year (5.8 to 5.0), despite averaging 7.3 fewer minutes per contest.
In three home games, Steven Pledger (6-for-11), Carl Blair (6-for-12) and Tyler Neal (5-for-11) are shooting a combined .500 from 3-point range (17-for-34). Pledger is shooting .632 (12-for-19) from the field at Lloyd Noble Center this season.
Last year, Pledger averaged 15.4 points in OU's wins and 7.4 points in its losses. This year, the junior guard is averaging 18.3 points in wins (he missed the season-opening victory) and was held to 11 points in the loss to Saint Louis.
Senior C.J. Washington's three assists against Coppin State on Nov. 18 were more than he had all of last season (two).