Oklahoma (13-8 overall, 4-4 Big 12) plays its final of three straight home games when its hosts No. 17/17 Oklahoma State (18-4, 4-3) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CST. OU is coming off a 75-61 win over Texas Tech on Saturday to move into a sixth-place tie in the Big 12. The Cowboys dropped an 89-77 decision on the road against Colorado on Saturday.
Wednesday’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. It will be televised regionally on ESPN Plus (KOCB 34/Cox 11 in OKC; KJRH 2/Cox 9 in Tulsa) with Bob Carpenter and Doug Gottlieb calling the action. The game will also be available on ESPN Full Court.
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 7
Tip: 8:05 p.m. CST
TV: ESPN Plus (KOCB 34/Cox 11 in OKC; KJRH 2/Cox 9 in Tulsa; ESPN Full Court)
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (Flagship KOKC 1520 AM in OKC); Yahoo! Broadcast (subscription)
Series: OU leads 121-88
Upper-level reserved seats are available for $30 (north and south) and $45 (east and west) at the OU Athletics Ticket Office this week (800-456-4668) and here at SoonerSports.com. Lloyd Noble Center’s north and east ticket windows will open Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
As part of OU’s 100th-year-of-basketball celebration, former Sooners Darryl "Choo" Kennedy (1984-87) and Terry Stotts (1977-80) will be honored at halftime. Kennedy ranks fourth in OU career scoring while Stotts ranks 27th and is the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series with OSU, 121-88, and is 74-26 in Norman.
OU has held opponents to .346 field goal shooting and an average of 49.5 points in its 12 games at Lloyd Noble Center (11-1 record).
Nate Carter averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds prior to Big 12 play, but leads OU with his 19.1 points and 8.3 rebounds over the team’s eight conference outings.
Over the last four Big 12 games, Carter is averaging 22.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while going 43-for-44 at the free throw line.
The Sooners lead the Big 12 with their +7.1 rebounding margin per contest. They have been outboarded twice in the last 17 games.
Michael Neal is 22-for-51 (.431) from 3-point range in Big 12 play (he was 13-for-60 (.217) over OU’s 13 non-conference outings.
In its 13 wins, OU is holding foes to a .333 field goal mark. Only two of those 13 opponents have shot better than .370.
All 13 of OU’s wins have been by double digits. Its average victory margin is 27.0 points.
In Big 12 play, OU ranks second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.22) and commits a league-low 11.4 turnovers a game. The Sooners averaged 15.4 in non-league play.
OKLAHOMA STATE PROJECTED STARTERS
F 4 Mario Boggan (6-7, 240, Sr., 20.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
F 5 Marcus Dove (6-9, 215, Jr., 5.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
C 40 Kenny Cooper (6-10, 260, So., 5.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
G 00 Byron Eaton (5-11, 215, So., 7.4 ppg, 3.4 apg)
G 24 JamesOn Curry (6-3, 190, Jr., 18.6 ppg, 4.1 apg)
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 24 Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 10.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg)
C 30 Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 11.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 10.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
G 5 Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 9.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
G 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 8.2 ppg, 3.4 apg)
The Sooners used a 20-2 game-ending run to notch a 75-61 home win over Texas Tech on Saturday, vaulting them into a tie for sixth place in the Big 12 at 4-4. OU, which was picked to finish ninth in the preseason league poll, kept the Red Raiders off the scoreboard over the game’s final for minutes. Nate Carter recorded a personal-OU-high 24 points and nine rebounds, Longar Longar had 19 points and 14 boards, and Michael Neal added 18 points as the Sooners moved to 11-1 at home this season.
Making his sixth start of the year, Carter, a senior forward, was 6-for-10 from the field and 11-for-12 from the foul line. He converted his first three free throw attempts of the game to give him 39 straight makes in Big 12 play. Since freshman Keith Clark sustained a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 28, Carter has seen his playing time skyrocket. In eight Big 12 games, he is averaging team highs in points (19.1) and rebounds (8.3) in 30 minutes an outing. He averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 boards in 13 minutes a game prior to league play.
Neal, who was 2-for-6 from 3-point range against Tech, has converted 20 of his 42 long-range attempts (.476) over the past six league games and is averaging 14.7 points over those contests. On the year, Neal averages 10.5 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting .315 from beyond the arc. He ranks fourth in the Big 12 (league games) by averaging 2.8 treys.
Sophomore guard Tony Crocker, one of the Big 12’s more productive freshmen, ranks fouth on the team by scoring 9.5 points a game and also supplies 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals. He is the only Sooner who has started all 21 games. Another guard, sophomore Austin Johnson averages 8.3 points and a team-high 3.4 assists while shooting a team-high .355 from 3-point range. Johnson also ranks third in the Big 12 with his 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Sophomore forward Taylor Griffin has started 18 of 21 games on the year and in conference play averages 7.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shot. He tied a career high with three rejections at Oklahoma State Jan. 22 and has 16 blocks over the last 12 games. Junior guard David Godbold, who averages 7.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals, is shooting .352 from beyond the arc on the year and ranks second on the team with his 27.6 minutes a game.
TEXAS TECH LEFTOVERS
Nate Carter scored 24 points despite not getting on the board until the 10:56 mark of the first half. His second field goal didn’t come until 6:44 remained in the first period.
The Sooners were 20-of-24 (.822) from the free throw line in the second half. They went to the line 18 more times than Tech after halftime.
Longar Longar’s double-double was his first ever in Big 12 play.
Texas Tech’s Jarrius Jackson scored a season-high 31 points but went without a point the final eight minutes.
OKLAHOMA STATE UPDATE
After starting the year with a 15-1 record, Oklahoma State has gone 3-3 over its last six games and owns a 4-3 Big 12 mark (fifth place). The Cowboys rank second in the Big 12 in scoring offense (80.6 ppg), second in field goal percentage (.485) and second in free throw percentage (.709). In Big 12 games, OSU is averaging 71.0 points and is shooting .418 from the field and .711 from the foul line.
Senior forward Mario Boggan and junior guard JamesOn Curry rank second and fourth in the Big 12 in scoring with their 20.6 and 18.6 respective scoring averages. Boggan is shooting .570 from the field while also pulling down a team-high 7.8 rebounds a contest. Curry is shooting .424 from 3-point range and averages 2.7 treys per outing, as well as a team-high 4.1 assists. Sophomore guard Terrell Harris averages 11.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting .478 from beyond the arc (33-for-69). He also leads the Big 12 with his .870 free throw percentage. Sophomore point guard Byron Eaton contributes 7.4 points, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals a game. Senior forward David Monds averages 7.0 points and 5.3 rebounds a game.
Sean Sutton is in his first season as a collegiate basketball head coach after serving the previous 13 years as an OSU assistant.
OKLAHOMA-OKLAHOMA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma holds a 121-88 (.579) series lead against Oklahoma State, including a 74-26 (.740) advantage in Norman. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference (1996-97 was the first season of league competition), OU is 10-12 against the Cowboys (7-3 at Lloyd Noble Center.) The Sooners have won five of the last six in Norman.
OU and OSU met just two weeks ago (Jan. 22) in Stillwater in a game that saw the Cowboys score the game’s final four points to come out on top, 66-61. Austin Johnson’s 3-pointer with 25 seconds left cut the Sooners’ deficit to one point, 62-61, but Mario Boggan and Tyler Hatch each made two foul shots to seal the Oklahoma State win. Oklahoma led the majority of the first half (it was up by as many as seven points) before the Cowboys staked a 38-34 halftime advantage. OSU led 62-55 with 2:52 remaining before three OU 3-pointers helped slice the lead to one. Nate Carter led all scorers with 23 points and his 11 rebounds (seven offensive) tied a game high. He was 9-for-9 at the free throw line. Michael Neal added 13 points for OU, all in the first half. Byron Eaton paced OSU with 17 points while Mario Boggan (13) and JamesOn Curry (12) teamed up for 25. Boggan and Curry entered the game averaging a combined 40.5 points a contest. The Sooners were 13-of-14 (.929) from the line but went to the stripe 24 fewer times than the Cowboys (OSU was 27-of-38). OU was also plagued by 16 turnovers (nine by its two freshmen).
CARTER STEPS UP
In what has to be one of the most remarkable in-season turnarounds in college basketball this season, senior Nate Carter has taken advantage of his increased minutes since the new calendar year. Carter, who averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game prior to Big 12 play, is averaging 19.1 points and 8.3 rebounds (both team highs) in 30 minutes per contest over eight league outings. He is shooting .540 from the field and .892 from the free throw line (58-for-65) in conference play, and leads the team with his 33 offensive rebounds (his 4.1 average leads the league). Over the last four games, he is averaging 22.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while going 43-for-44 at the free throw line. Carter had 53 points over OU’s first 12 games but has tallied 168 over the last nine.
MORE ON CARTER
Nate Carter scored 13 points in OU’s Big 12 opener at Texas Tech and has increased his Big 12 scoring average in each game since. The lefty recorded 15 points versus Colorado, 18 at Texas, 19 against Nebraska, 22 versus Baylor, 23 at Oklahoma State, 19 at Texas A&M and 24 against Texas Tech. 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 six league contests.
Carter (19.1 ppg and 8.3 rpg) is one of two players who average at least 19.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in Big 12 play (Texas’ Kevin Durant averages 32.6 and 13.9).
Carter in Big 12 Play
at Texas Tech
at Oklahoma State
at Texas A&M
FINE AT THE LINE
Nate Carter’s high number of free throw attempts and makes are a big reason why the senior forward’s scoring average has taken off since the start of Big 12 play. Carter is shooting .892 from the line in league action to rank fourth in the Big 12 and leads the conference with his 7.3 makes per league outing. He has made 47 of his last 48 attempts in conference play dating back to the Jan. 17 Nebraska game. After making his final four attempts against the Huskers, Carter went 10-for-10 against Baylor, 9-for-9 at Oklahoma State, 13-for-13 at Texas A&M and 11-for-12 versus Texas Tech. He had his school-record string of 37 consecutive makes broken against Longwood last Tuesday. He made 39 straight free throw attempts in conference play before a second-half miss against Tech on Saturday.
Carter in Big 12 Play
As a team, the Sooners are shooting .753 from the free throw line in Big 12 games to rank third in the league. They are shooting .873 from the stripe (55-for-63) over their last three conference outings. OU shot .670 from the line in non-conference play.
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 9.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting .474 from the field and .780 from the free throw line in 24 minutes a game. He ranks eighth 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.
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 11.7 points per game, 7.2 rebounds (ranks seventh in Big 12), 1.3 blocks (ranks eighth) and his .595 field goal mark.
Longar is coming off his fourth career double-double (all this year), a 19-point, 14-rebound effort against Texas Tech. He also turned in a 20-point, career-high 15-rebound game against SMU on Dec. 28, a performance that earned him Big 12 Co-Player of the Week honors. Additionally, Longar 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.
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 95 more points this year (222) than he scored over his first two seasons combined (127).
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.
The Sooners’ defense has been suffocating at times this year, as evidenced by opponents’ 57.3 points per game and .383 combined field goal percentage. The last time OU gave up less than 57.3 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 .383 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 (.547 on Jan. 13 in Austin).
Oklahoma leads the Big 12 Conference with its +7.1 rebounding margin per game and has been outrebounded just twice over the last 17 contests. The importance of rebounding is illustrated in the fact that OU is 12-3 when it has outboarded its opponents and 1-5 when it hasn’t. In their victories, the Sooners have outrebounded their foes by 11.6 a game.
After averaging 15.8 turnovers a game prior to conference play, the Sooners have done a much better job of taking care of the basketball in their eight Big 12 games. OU is averaging 11.4 turnovers per conference outing (leads Big 12) and has committed only 10 miscues over the past three halves of league play. The Sooners, who also ranks second in the conference (Big 12 games) with a 1.22 assist-to-turnover ratio, are 9-1 this year when committing fewer turnovers than their opponents.
HOME IS WHERE THE "W" IS
Lloyd Noble Center has been overly kind to the Sooners, as they have won 42 of the last 45 games and 90 of the last 97 in the building. Oklahoma finished 14-1 at home last year after also going 14-1 in 2004-05. OU is 409-66 (.861) in the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign. The Sooners have posted home winning streaks of 51 games (1987-90) and 37 games (2001-03). The 37-game streak is a Big 12 Conference record.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Following are some notes about Oklahoma through 12 games of play at Lloyd Noble Center this year...
Oklahoma is holding opponents to 49.5 points a contest (six foes have scored less than 50 points). It is outscoring its opponents 75.3 to 49.5 at Lloyd Noble Center (a margin of 25.8 points a game).
The Sooners are shooting .500 at home while opponents have shot .346.
OU is outboarding visiting foes by a 39.3 to 28.8 count (+10.6).
Longar Longar is averaging 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting .632 from the field.
Seven of Tony Crocker’s nine double-digit scoring games have come at Lloyd Noble (he also has a nine-point game in the building). He is averaging 11.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists at home while shooting .515 from the field.
Austin Johnson is shooting .476 from 3-point range (20-for-42) and sports a 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Opponents have racked up 201 turnovers (16.8 average) to just 106 assists (8.8 average).
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING
The following notes compare Oklahoma’s stats in wins and losses this year...
In its 13 wins this year OU is outrebounding its opponents by 11.6 a game. In its eight losses it is getting outboarded by 0.1.
OU is shooting .495 from the field in its wins but only .390 in its defeats.
Opponents are shooting just .333 from the field in OU’s wins while they are shooting .466 in OU’s losses.
OU’s assist-to-turnover ratio in its victories is +1.3 (213 assists and 165 turnovers). The ratio in losses is 0.8 (96 and 126).
Longar Longar is averaging 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in the Sooners’ wins but just 5.9 points and 5.6 boards in their defeats.
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.