Oklahoma (9-5, 1-1) hits the road for a Red River rivalry game against Texas (12-3, 2-0) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CST inside the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. The Sooners snapped a two-game losing streak by beating Colorado on Wednesday in Norman, 78-54. The Longhorns, who are 9-0 at home, have won three straight and are coming off an 88-68 home win over Missouri on Wednesday.
Saturday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC-AM 1520 in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry Sr. and Mike Houck announcing. It will be televised regionally by ABC with Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes calling the action.
Date: Saturday, Jan. 13
Tip: 2:42 p.m. CST
TV: ABC (regional coverage)
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (Flagship KOKC 1520 AM in OKC)
Series: OU leads 45-22
OU owns a 45-22 series lead against Texas, including a 16-12 mark in Austin.
Since the inception of the Big 12, OU is 71-17 (.807) against league teams from the state of Texas. The Sooners are 16-8 against the Longhorns since the league began in 1996-97.
Oklahoma ranks sixth in the country in field goal percentage defense (.370), 11th in scoring defense (55.9 ppg) and 13th in rebounding margin (+8.0).
In its nine wins, OU is holding its foes to a .325 field goal mark. Only one of those nine opponents has shot better than .370.
Tony Crocker (11.1 ppg) is looking to become just the second OU true freshman in the last 23 years to average double figures in scoring.
All nine of the Sooners’ wins have been by double digits.
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 24 Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 5.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
F 32 Taylor Griffin (6-7, 232, So., 7.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
G 5 Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 11.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
G 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 9.4 ppg, 3.5 apg)
TEXAS PROJECTED STARTERS
F 5 Damion James (6-7, 227, Fr., 7.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
F 35 Kevin Durant (6-9, 225, Fr., 23.4 ppg, 10.9 rpg)
G 3 A.J. Abrams (5-10, 155, So., 16.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
G 14 D.J. Augustin (5-11, 175, Fr., 13.6 ppg, 6.5 apg)
G 24 Justin Mason (6-2, 185, Fr., 9.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
The Sooners scored their most points since Dec. 16 in a 78-54 home win over Colorado on Wednesday. It was Jeff Capel’s first league victory as OU’s head coach. Oklahoma forced 25 Colorado turnovers (an OU opponent season high) and netted 33 points off those miscues. The Sooners offset .346 field goal shooting in the first half with a .538 performance after the break to finish at .442 (OU shot a combined .355 over the two games prior to Wednesday).
OU’s leading scorer (12.0 ppg) and rebounder (7.1 rpg) on the year, junior center Longar Longar has seen his production dip over the last three games as he is averaging 5.0 points and 5.0 rebounds during the span. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 with his .576 field goal percentage and 10th with his 1.3 blocks per game. In OU’s nine wins, Longar averages 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds. Sophomore guard Austin Johnson averages 9.4 points a game and leads the team with his 3.5 assists. Johnson also leads the squad with his .385 season 3-point percentage (20-for-52). Senior guard Michael Neal is averaging 9.1 points, 3.0 boards and 2.0 assists per outing while shooting .839 from the free throw line. Neal, who shot
.495 from 3-point range in Big 12 games last season when he was league newcomer of the year,
has been held to a .224 3-point mark this season and snapped a two-game, 0-for-11 string from
long range by nailing two treys against Colorado. Another guard, junior David Godbold
averages 7.6 points a game and ranks 20th in the Big 12 with his 5.4 rebounds per contest.
Godbold has come off the bench in each of the last six games but leads the team with his 27.6 minutes per outing.
Sophomore forward Taylor Griffin, who has started 13 of 14 games, contributes 7.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shot a contest. He has at least one block in each of the last eight games.
Oklahoma is outscoring its opponents by 12.8 points a game on the season and boasts a +8.1 rebounding advantage per contest, second best in the Big 12 Conference (Texas is at +8.5).
Tony Crocker was 15-for-19 from the free throw line on the season entering Wednesday’s game, but went 13-for-15 at the line against the Buffaloes.
Michael Neal made his first two 3-point attempts of the game after going 0-for-11 from 3-point range over the team’s previous two contests.
Oklahoma’s 25 free throw makes and 34 attempts were both season highs (previous highs were 19 makes and 22 attempts).
David Godbold was 3-for-7 from 3-point range, marking the fifth time this year he has made at least three treys in a contest.
The win was OU’s 22nd straight against Colorado in Norman and gave the Sooners their 43rd victory in the last 48 overall meetings with the Buffs.
Texas enters Saturday’s game the winner of its last four games and seven of its last eight. Its only three losses came against Michigan State (63-61 in New York City), Gonzaga (87-77 in Phoenix) and at Tennessee (111-105 in overtime). It has won its two Big 12 games, one on the road (102-78 at Colorado) and one at home (88-68 vs. Missouri). The Longhorns lead the Big 12 in scoring offense (86.5 ppg), rebounding margin (+8.5) and 3-pointers per game (9.3), and outscore their opponents by 17.1 points a contest (ranks third in league). They are 9-0 at home this season.
Freshman Kevin Durant is one of the nation’s top players, as evidenced by his 23.4 scoring and 10.9 rebounding averages, both of which lead the Big 12. In UT’s two league games, Durant is averaging 35.5 points and 14.5 boards. The 6-9 guard/forward set the league’s freshman scoring record with 37 points against Colorado. Sophomore guard A.J. Abrams averages 16.5 points per contest and leads the Big 12 with his 3.9 3-point makes an outing (he is shooting .436 from long range). Freshman point guard D.J. Augustin is averaging 13.6 points and a Big 12-best 6.5 assists per game, and is shooting .459 from beyonod the arc. Two more freshmen, guard Justin Mason and forward Damion James average 9.4 and 7.5 points, respectively. James also averages 8.0 rebounds to rank third in the Big 12.
Head coach Rick Barnes is 203-79 (.720) in his ninth year at Texas and is 405-213 (.655) in his 20th year overall.
OKLAHOMA-TEXAS SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma holds a 45-22 series lead against Texas, including a 16-12 advantage in Austin. OU has won three of its last four games against the Longhorns and has won 27 of the series’ last 37 games dating back to 1979. The Sooners are 16-8 against UT since the formation of the Big 12 (5-5 in Austin).
LAST YEAR AGAINST THE LONGHORNS
OU and Texas split their two meetings last year with both home teams posting victories. In Norman on Jan. 28, the 24th-ranked Sooners shot .544 from the field in an 82-72 win over the No. 4 Longhorns as ESPN’s College Gameday was in attendance. Terrell Everett had 25 points, seven rebounds and eight assists while Taj Gray added 22 points, eight boards and three assists. Michael Neal was 4-for-8 from 3-point range and netted 14 points, and David Godbold chipped in with 11. Daniel Gibson (23 points) and LaMarcus Aldridge (22) paced Texas in scoring.
The March 5 rematch went the way of the Longhorns in Austin, 72-48. It was OU’s only double-digit loss in conference play and its only defeat to a Big 12 South opponent on the year. Texas made nine 3-pointers to Oklahoma’s four and nine free throws to OU’s two. Gibson had 22 points for UT while P.J. Tucker added 13. Gray (10 points) was the only Sooner in double figures while Longar Longar scored a season-high eight points in a season-high 15 minutes. Longar was 4-for-6 from the field.
OU freshman Bobby Maze and Texas freshman Kevin Durant, both from Suitland, Md., were five-year AAU teammates for the PG Jaguars and D.C. Blue Devils. North Carolina freshman point guard Tywon Lawson was also a member of the D.C. Blue Devils.
Texas freshman forward Damion James signed a letter of intent in November 2005 to play for Oklahoma. He was released from his letter of intent last April.
OU sophomore Austin Johnson and UT freshman Justin Mason were teammates at Palo Duro HS in Amarillo, Texas. Palo Duro finished 29-4 in 2004-05 and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in 44 years (lost in semifinals).
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 Thursday 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. He was named City Player of the Year by The Oklahoman.
"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."
Oklahoma ranks second in the Big 12 Conference with its +8.1 rebounding margin per game (Texas is at +8.5). The importance of rebounding is illustrated in the fact that OU is 8-2 when it has outboarded its opponents and 1-3 when it hasn’t. In their victories, the Sooners have outrebounded their foes by 11.7 a game. OU has not been outrebounded since the fourth game of the season (Nov. 21 versus Purdue).
TEXAS STATE CHAMPS
OU has had more than its fair share of success against Big 12 teams from the state of Texas. The Sooners own a 123-44 (.737) all-time record against Baylor (29-5), Texas (45-22), Texas A&M (25-1) and Texas Tech (24-16). Since the inception of the Big 12, OU is 20-0 against Baylor, 16-8 versus Texas, 20-1 against Texas A&M and 15-8 versus Texas Tech for a combined 71-17 (.807) record.
LONGAR CAPITALIZING ON OPPORTUNITY
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 12.0 points per game, 7.1 rebounds (ranks eighth in Big 12) and 1.3 blocks (ranks 10th), 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 41 more points this year (168) than he scored over his first two seasons combined (127).
Tony Crocker is having one of the more memorable freshman campaigns in recent OU memory. The guard is one of two Sooners (Longar Longar is the other) who has started every game and owns season averages of 11.1 points (ranks second on team), 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals (in 25.8 minutes a game) while shooting .496 from the field and .824 from the free throw line. He ranks sixth among Big 12 freshmen in scoring.
Crocker, who has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games and is averaging 13.6 points and 5.5 boards during the stretch, 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.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING
The following notes compare Oklahoma’s stats in wins and losses this year...
In its nine wins this year OU is outrebounding its opponents by 11.7 a game. In its five losses it is outboarding its foes by 1.6.
OU is shooting .492 from the field in its wins but only .388 in its defeats.
Opponents are shooting just .325 from the field in OU’s wins while they are shooting .457 in OU’s losses.
OU’s assist-to-turnover ratio in its victories is +1.1 (141 assists and 123 turnovers). The ratio in losses is -1.7 (54 and 94).
Longar Longar is averaging 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in the Sooners’ wins but just 6.4 points and 5.2 boards in their defeats.
STACKING UP AGAINST THE BIG 12
OU ranks second in the Big 12 in rebounding margin (+8.1), second in scoring defense (55.9 ppg), third in field goal percentage defense (.372) and fifth in blocked shots (4.7 bpg).
Longar Longar ranks fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (.576), eighth in rebounding (7.0), fourth in offensive rebounding (3.0) and 10th in blocked shots (1.3).
Taylor Griffin (ninth) and David Godbold (20th) rank in the top 20 in rebounding with their 6.8 and 5.4 respective averages. Griffin also ranks seventh in the league with his 4.7 defensive boards a contest.
Austin Johnson’s 2.2 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 1,438-914 (.611) all-time record and a 404-66 (.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.