|Lon Kruger was the 1973 and '74 Big Eight Player of the Year at K-State.|
|Oklahoma (10-5, 0-3) vs. No. 18/18 Kansas State (12-3, 1-2)|
|Date & Tip Time||Saturday, Jan. 14, at 12:47 p.m. CT|
|Location||Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center | Seating Views|
|Tickets|| $10, $30 and $40; $5 for OU students
OU Athletics Ticket Office
Big 12 Network
|Radio|| Sooner Radio Network
KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
|Live Stats||SoonerSports.com GameTracker|
|Game Info||Game Notes (PDF)|
SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
Searching for its first Big 12 win under first-year head coach Lon Kruger, Oklahoma (10-5, 0-3) hosts No. 18/18 Kansas State (12-3, 1-2) Saturday at 12:30 p.m. CT. This will mark the fifth time Kruger has faced his alma mater (he is 2-2 against the Wildcats). OU is coming off a 72-65 loss at Oklahoma State on Monday while Kansas State lost 75-73 at home to No. 4 Baylor on Tuesday. Saturday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa; Sirius 117) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be televised regionally by the Big 12 Network (KOCB Ch. 34 in OKC; KTUL Ch. 8 in Tulsa; ESPN Full Court) with Brad Sham and Stephen Howard calling the action.
Tickets are available for $10, $30 and $40 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
OU students may purchase a ticket for $5.
After a 9-1 start, Oklahoma has lost four of its last five games. The Sooners averaged 78.7 points over their first 10 outings, but have been held to an average of 62.6 over the last five.
OU holds a 102-91 all-time series lead against Kansas State and is 58-25 versus the Wildcats in Norman. K-State has won four of the last five overall meetings, including the last two at Lloyd Noble Center.
Head coach Lon Kruger, a 1975 Kansas State graduate, holds a 2-2 record against his alma mater (1-1 as head coach at UNLV, 1-0 at Illinois and 0-1 at UT-Pan American). The 1973 and 1974 Big Eight Player of the Year, he coached UNLV to a 63-59 win over the Wildcats last year in Kansas City.
Oklahoma assistant coach Steve Henson (1987-90) broke 21 school records as a player at Kansas State and still holds KSU career standards for assists (582), assists per game (4.6), free throw percentage (.900), minutes (4,474), minutes per game (35.2), starts (118), consecutive games played (127) and consecutive starts (118). He is the only K-State player to participate in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
OU has been held to a total of 13 3-point makes over the last four games (3.3 average) and junior guard Steven Pledger has nine of those conversions during the stretch. The Sooners averaged 6.7 treys over their first 11 games.
In OU's wins, Pledger is averaging 20.6 points on .606 field goal shooting. In the team's losses, Pledger is averaging 11.2 points on .300 shooting.
The junior trio of Pledger (.538), Romero Osby (.508) and Andrew Fitzgerald (.500) is shooting a combined .515 from the field at home this year. They have accounted for 51 percent of the team's points at Lloyd Noble Center. OU holds a +12.3 average rebounding margin at home.
Out of 338 Division I teams, OU ranks No. 6 nationally in offensive rebounds per game (15.8), No. 8 in total rebounds per game (40.9), No. 38 in 3-point field goal percentage (.387) and No. 45 in free throw percentage (.732).
The Sooners have scored at least 75 points eight times in their 15 games after doing it seven times in its 32 contests last year.
Oklahoma has been good at the free throw line in three league games with its .741 mark. Cameron Clark (9-for-9), Pledger (8-for-8) and Carl Blair (14-for-15) are a combined 31-for-32 (.967) at the stripe.
Rebounding was mentioned by Kruger several times in the preseason as a concern of his for 2011-12. However, OU has been outrebounded just twice in 15 games and ranks second in the Big 12 with its +7.7 margin per contest despite not starting anyone taller than 6-8. The Sooners own a 237-173 offensive rebounding advantage on the year.
PLEDGER AMONG BIG 12'S OFFENSIVE LEADERS
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 17.2 points this year while shooting .494 from the field and .451 from long distance (ranks 22nd nationally). Pledger ranks fourth in the Big 12 in scoring, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage (.875), and sixth in 3-pointers per game (2.6).
Pledger has scored in double figures in 13 of his 14 outings (held to nine Monday at Oklahoma State) and has shot at least .500 from the field in eight games. He has scored at least 20 points five times after doing it three times all of last season.
Pledger has made 81 field goals this year, already putting him at 72 percent of last year's total (112).
MORE INDIVIDUAL NOTES
Junior point guard Sam Grooms ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 in assists (5.1) and No. 2 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4). He has recorded one or zero turnovers six times in 15 games and ranks second on the team in minutes (28.7). Only one Sooner in the last 15 years averaged more assists per game for an entire season than Grooms' current 5.1 average (6.9 by Terrell Everett in 2005-06).
Junior forward Romero Osby leads the Big 12 with his 3.2 offensive rebounds per game and third with his 8.5 overall boards per outing. He also ranks second with five double-doubles. He has recorded at least 10 rebounds on seven occasions this year (his career high entering the season was eight rebounds). He pulled down a career-high 18 boards vs. South Carolina State on Dec. 21 and followed with 12 at Cincinnati Dec. 29.
Junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald has scored in double figures in each of the last 10 games (averaging 14.6 during stretch on .492 shooting) after doing it just twice in OU's first five outings (averaged 8.4 points on .400 shooting). He has scored at least 13 points in seven of the last 10 games, including season highs of 18 points in two of the last five.
Junior guard Carl Blair has scored 31 of his 71 points this season in the last two games (44 percent). He averaged 3.1 points over OU's first 13 games but is averaging 15.5 over the last two. He is coming off a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double at Oklahoma State and also registered a career-high five steals.
Sophomore guard Cameron Clark has been held under 10 points in seven of the last eight games (each of the last six) and is averaging 5.9 points on .315 field goal shooting in those eight outings. Clark scored in double figures in five straight games prior to the current eight-game stretch and averaged 14.0 points on .519 shooting.
CLEANING THE GLASS
OU leads the Big 12 in total rebounds per game (40.9; ranks No. 8 nationally), offensive rebounds per game at 15.8 (ranks No. 6 nationally) and offensive rebounding percentage (42 percent). It ranks second in the league in average rebounding margin (+7.7).
The Sooners have been outrebounded just twice on the season (by Washington State and Missouri).
Oklahoma's top two rebounding totals of the 16-year Big 12 era have been recorded this year (63 vs. S.C. State and 61 vs. Coppin State).
OU has pulled down double-digit offensive rebounds in 13 of 15 games and is averaging 15.8 offensive boards per contest to its opponents' 11.5.
The Sooners are averaging 7.3 more offensive rebounds per game this year than they did last season (15.8 to 8.5).
PREVIEWING KANSAS STATE
After going 11-1 in non-conference play, No. 18/18 Kansas State is off to 1-2 start in Big 12 action. The Wildcats have played a difficult league schedule to date, losing at No. 14 Kansas (67-49), beating No. 7 and previously undefeated Missouri (75-59) and losing to unbeaten and fourth-ranked Baylor (75-73). Missouri and Baylor were home contests.
One of the best rebounding teams in the Big 12, Kansas State ranks second in the league in rebounds per game (39.6), offensive rebounds per game (14.7) and offensive rebounding percentage (.413). OU ranks No. 1 in all three categories.
Junior guard Rodney McGruder averages 14.3 points on .476 field goal, .316 (18-for-57) and .761 (35-for-46) free throw shooting. A third-team All-Big 12 selection last year, McGruder scored a career-high 30 points Tuesday against Baylor and leads the league (conference games only) with a 21.7 scoring average. He was 10-for-14 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line vs. BU.
Senior forward Jamar Samuels and sophomore guard Will Spradling each average 11.1 points per contest. Samuels also averages a team-high 6.4 rebounds a game, while Spradling paces the team in assists (2.9 apg), 3-pointers (28) and 3-point percentage (.431).
Frank Martin is in his fifth year as a collegiate head coach, all at Kansas State. He owns a 107-46 (.699) record.
OU-KANSAS STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 102-91 series advantage against Kansas State and is 58-25 against the Wildcats in Norman. OU is 10-6 against K-State since the start of the Big 12 in 1996-97 (5-2 in Norman). KSU has won four of the last five overall meetings, including the last two at Lloyd Noble Center (84-82 in 2008 and 83-68 in 2010).
LAST YEAR VS. THE WILDCATS
Down 39-24 at halftime on the road, Oklahoma battled back to within five points (55-50) with six minutes left before Kansas State reeled off 14 straight points in less than two minutes en route to a 77-62 home win in the teams' only meeting last year (Feb. 19). The Sooners committed 15 turnovers to Kansas State's 12 and were outscored 21-12 off those miscues. OU senior guard Cade Davis scored 21 points and pulled down a game-high seven rebounds in 30 minutes. He was 8-for-9 from the field and 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Sophomore forward Andrew Fitzgerald went 6-for-7 from the free throw line and finished with 10 points and five boards. Both he and Davis were saddled with second-half foul trouble. Sophomore point guard Carl Blair netted 10 points to go along with four assists and a pair of steals. He also committed six turnovers. K-State senior guard Jacob Pullen scored a game-high 27 points while sophomore guard Rodney McGruder went 5-for-7 from 3-point range en route to a 20-point day.
KRUGER VS. HIS ALMA MATER
A 1975 Kansas State graduate, OU head coach Lon Kruger is 2-2 all-time against his alma mater. The Big Eight Conference Player of the Year his junior and senior seasons (1972-73 and '73-74), Kruger also coached the Wildcats from the 1986-87 through '89-90 seasons. As a coach, he led the Wildcats to an 81-46 record and to NCAA Tournament appearances each of his four years in Manhattan, including the Elite Eight in 1988. As UNLV's head coach, Kruger posted a 1-1 record against KSU (lost 95-80 in 2009-10 in Las Vegas; won 63-59 in 2010-11 in Kansas City). He also notched an 81-48 home win during the 1999-00 season as Illinois' head coach. His Texas-Pan American team lost a 75-68 contest to the Wildcats during the 1984-85 season in the Runnin' Rebel Classic in Las Vegas.
SOONER TIP INS
Oklahoma has recorded 42 dunks in its 15 games (2.8 average) and junior forward Romero Osby has 23 of them (55 percent).
Osby has grabbed at least six rebounds in 12 of 15 games this year. In his 35 games at Mississippi State as a sophomore in 2009-10, Osby pulled down at least six boards on three occasions.
Osby and fellow junior Andrew Fitzgerald lead the team with five charges taken each.
Four Sooners average double figures in scoring in Big 12 play (Fitzgerald 13.7, Steven Pledger 11.3, Carl Blair and Osby 11.0). Osby (.438), Fitzgerald (.415) and Blair (.400) are the only Sooners shooting at least .400 from the field over those three outings.
After averaging 25.0 points during a three-game mid-December stretch, Pledger is averaging 12.6 points the last five contests.
The Sooners close their two-game home stand when they host Texas Tech on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT (televised by the Big 12 Network).