Oklahoma (14-8 overall, 5-4 Big 12) looks to extend its three-game winning streak and pick up its first road win of the year when it plays at Baylor (12-10, 2-7) on Saturday at 3 p.m. CST. OU’s 67-60 win over No. 17/17 Oklahoma State on Wednesday propelled the Sooners into sole possesion of fifth place in the league race, a half game up on OSU. The Bears haven’t played since losing 71-58 at Iowa State last Saturday.
Saturday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KRXO-FM 107.7 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 Fred White and Larry Farmer calling the action. The game will also be available on ESPN Full Court.
Date: Saturday, Feb. 10
Location: Waco, Texas (Ferrell Center)
Tip: 3:01 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 KRXO 107.7 FM in OKC); Yahoo! Broadcast (subscription)
Series: OU leads 30-5
OU owns a 30-5 series lead against Baylor and has won the last 25 meetings.
Oklahoma is shooting .866 from the free throw line over its last four Big 12 outings (71-for-82).
Nate Carter averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds prior to Big 12 play, but leads OU with his 19.0 points and 8.3 rebounds over the team’s eight conference outings.
Over the last five Big 12 games, Carter is averaging 21.2 points and 9.0 rebounds while going 47-for-48 at the free throw line.
The Sooners have been outrebounded just twice in the last 18 games.
Michael Neal is 23-for-55 (.418) from 3-point range in Big 12 play (he was 13-for-60 (.217) over OU’s 13 non-conference outings.
In its 14 wins, OU is holding foes to a .342 field goal mark. Only three of those 14 opponents have shot better than .370.
Thirteen of OU’s 14 wins have been by double digits. Its average victory margin is 25.6 points.
In Big 12 play, OU ranks second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.19) and commits only 11.7 turnovers a game. The Sooners averaged 15.4 in non-league play.
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS
F 24 Nate Carter (6-6, 220, Sr., 10.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
C 30 Longar Longar (6-11, 228, Jr., 11.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
G 2 Michael Neal (6-3, 198, Sr., 10.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
G 5 Tony Crocker (6-5, 187, Fr., 9.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G 20 Austin Johnson (6-3, 160, So., 8.3 ppg, 3.5 apg)
BAYLOR PROJECTED STARTERS
F 23 Kevin Rogers (6-9, 235, So., 12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
C 30 Josh Lomers (7-0, 255, So., 4.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
G 0 Curtis Jerrells (6-1, 195, So., 12.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G 45 Tweety Carter (5-10, 185, Fr., 9.0 ppg, 2.6 apg)
G 14 Aaron Bruce (6-3, 190, Jr., 11.7 ppg, 3.8 apg)
The Sooners improved to 12-1 at home (5-0 in home Big 12 games) by fending off Oklahoma State 67-60 Wednesday night. The victory put Oklahoma picked by league coaches to finish in ninth place in the preseason conference poll in sole possession of fifth place (a half game in front of OSU and a game behind Kansas State and Texas). Leading 30-20 at the break, OU fell behind 44-41 with 12 minutes left before rallying to finish the game on a 26-16 run. The win earned the Sooners a season split in the Bedlam series.
OU’s leading scorer (11.8 ppg) and rebounder (7.2 rpg) on the season, Longar Longar finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots Wednesday after recording 19 points, 14 boards and two rejections the previous game against Texas Tech. The junior center is shooting .592 from the field on the year to rank third in the Big 12 and is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in OU’s victories.
Senior forward Michael Neal has converted 21 of his 46 long-range attempts (.457) over the past seven league games and is averaging 13.6 points over those contests. On the year, Neal averages 10.3 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting .313 from beyond the arc. He ranks fifth in the Big 12 (league games) in both 3-point makes (2.6) and 3-point percentage (.418). Neal is also shooting .869 from the free throw line on the year.
Sophomore guard Tony Crocker, one of the Big 12’s more productive freshmen, ranks fouth on the team by scoring 9.3 points a game despite being held to single digits in seven of the last eight games. Crocker also supplies 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals. He is the only Sooner who has started all 22 games. Another guard, sophomore Austin Johnson averages 8.4 points and a team-high 3.5 assists while shooting a team-high .363 from 3-point range and .920 (23-for-25) from the free throw line. Johnson also ranks third in the Big 12 with his 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio (his ratio is 2.8 in league games). Over the past four games he has 18 assists and just four turnovers for a 4.5 ratio.
Sophomore forward Taylor Griffin has started 18 of 22 games on the year but has come off the bench each of the last three. On the year, Griffin is averaging 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds (ranks second on the team), 1.6 assists and 1.0 blocked shot. Junior guard David Godbold, who averages 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and a team-high 1.2 steals, is shooting .337 from beyond the arc on the year and ranks second on the team in minutes per game (27.5).
OKLAHOMA STATE LEFTOVERS
The victory was Oklahoma’s first of the year by less than 10 points.
OU shot .842 (16-for-19) from the line while OSU shot .385 (5-for-13).
The Sooners improved to 14-1 this year when leading at halftime and to 10-1 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent.
Oklahoma scored 22 points off turnovers to Oklahoma State’s 10.
Down 48-46 with 9:17 remaining, OU went on an 8-0 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to go up 54-48.
Both teams shot better than .500 from the field after halftime.
Baylor enters Saturday’s contest a loser in seven of its last nine games after starting the year 10-3. The Bears have already won more games this year than they did in any of the previous three seasons. They are 11-3 at home with league wins against Texas Tech (73-70) and Colorado (97-83). Baylor is shooting .461 from the field, .351 from 3-point range and .679 from the free throw line on the year.
Four of Baylor’s top five scorers are sophomores or freshmen. Curtis Jerrells, a sophomore guard, scores a team-high 12.7 points a game while also averaging 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists. The lefty leads the team in free throws made (58) and attempted (87). Sophomore forward Kevin Rogers averages 12.4 points and a team-high 7.6 boards while ranking fifth in the Big 12 with his .553 field goal mark. Sophomore guard Henry Dugat supplies 10.7 points and 4.3 rebounds a contest on the season but is averaging 8.1 points and 3.7 caroms in league play. Freshman guard Tweety Carter averages 9.0 points and 2.6 assists a game, and has started each of the last four outings. Junior guard Aaron Bruce ranks third on the squad by averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 3.8 assists. His 48 treys represent a team high.
Head coach Scott Drew is 33-63 (.344) in his fourth year at Baylor and is 53-74 (.417) overall in his fifth season.
OKLAHOMA-BAYLOR SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 30-5 series advantage against Baylor and has won the last 25 meetings. The Sooners own a 13-2 series lead in games played in Waco and have won 13 straight there. The last Baylor win against OU came on Dec. 6, 1977, in Norman (75-67). OU is 21-0 against the Bears since the inception of the Big 12 Conference and has won its 10 series road games during the span by an average of 10.5 points.
In one of their best performances of the year, the Sooners bounced back from an early 10-2 deficit to dispose of Baylor on Jan. 20 in Norman, 91-51. The 40-point win was Oklahoma’s largest in Big 12 play since it downed the Bears by 43 two seasons ago. OU shot .576 from the field its second best effort of the year while holding Baylor to a .309 mark, and posted a 42-30 rebounding advantage. Nate Carter scored 22 points to lead four Sooners in double figures while adding nine rebounds and two assists. He was 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Michael Neal was 4-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 16 points and five boards. Bobby Maze and Longar Longar came off the bench to supply 13 and 10 points, respectively. Maze was 6-for-7 from the field while Longar also pulled down nine boards in his first action after serving a two-game Big 12 suspension. Baylor’s Curtis Jerrells scored a team-high 15 points while Aaron Bruce netted 12. The Bears shot just .241 after halftime.
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 19.0 points and 8.3 rebounds (both team highs) in 30 minutes per contest over nine league outings. He is shooting .529 from the field and .899 from the free throw line (62-for-69) in conference play, and leads the team with his 34 offensive rebounds (his 3.8 average ranks second in the league). Over the last five Big 12 games, he is averaging 21.2 points and 9.0 rebounds while going 47-for-48 at the free throw line. Carter had 53 points over OU’s first 12 games but has tallied 186 over the last 10.
MORE ON CARTER
Nate Carter scored 13 points in OU’s Big 12 opener at Texas Tech and has scored at least 15 in every league outing since (15 points versus Colorado, 18 at Texas, 19 against Nebraska, 22 versus Baylor, 23 at Oklahoma State, 19 at Texas A&M, 24 against Texas Tech and 18 vs. Oklahoma State). 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 seven league contests.
Carter (19.0 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 is the other).
Carter in Big 12 Play
at Texas Tech
at Oklahoma State
at Texas A&M
FINE AT THE LINE
Carter in Big 12 Play
As a team, the Sooners are shooting .761 from the free throw line in Big 12 games to rank second in the league. They are shooting .866 from the stripe (71-for-82) over their last four conference outings. OU shot .670 from the line in non-conference play.
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 11.8 points per game, 7.2 rebounds (ranks seventh in Big 12), 1.4 blocks (ranks seventh) and his .592 field goal mark (ranks third).
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 108 more points this year (235) 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’ 57.5 points per game and .386 combined field goal percentage. The last time OU gave up less than 57.5 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 .386 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 ranks second in the Big 12 Conference with its +6.8 rebounding margin per game and has been outrebounded just twice over the last 18 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 10.8 a game.
PROTECTING THE BALL
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 nine Big 12 games. OU is averaging 11.7 turnovers per conference outing (ranks third in Big 12) and has committed only 24 miscues over the past two-and-a-half games (9.6 per 40 minutes). The Sooners, who also rank second in the conference (Big 12 games) with a 1.19 assist-to-turnover ratio, are 10-1 this year when committing fewer turnovers than their opponents.
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 125-46 (.731) all-time record against Baylor (30-5), Texas (45-23), Texas A&M (25-2) and Texas Tech (25-16). Since the inception of the Big 12, OU is 21-0 against Baylor, 16-9 versus Texas, 20-2 against Texas A&M and 16-8 versus Texas Tech for a combined 73-19 (.793) record.
HOME IS WHERE THE "W" IS
Lloyd Noble Center has been overly kind to the Sooners, as they have won 43 of the last 46 games and 91 of the last 98 in the building. Oklahoma finished 14-1 at home last year after also going 14-1 in 2004-05. OU is 410-66 (.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.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND LOSING
The following notes compare Oklahoma’s stats in wins and losses this year...
In its 14 wins this year OU is outrebounding its opponents by 10.8 a game. In its eight losses it is getting outboarded by 0.1.
OU is shooting .491 from the field in its wins but only .390 in its defeats.
Opponents are shooting just .349 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 (227 assists and 179 turnovers). The ratio in losses is 0.8 (96 and 126).
Longar Longar is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 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.
Oklahoma is the only Big 12 school with seven players averaging at least 7.0 points per game.
Nate Carter has led OU in scoring in four of the past five games. He has scored in double figures in each of the last 10 games after doing it just three times in the first 12 contests of the year.
David Godbold has come off the bench 16 times in 22 games but ranks second on the team with his 27.5 minutes an outing.
Chris Walker is averaging 15.3 minutes over the last four games after averaging 2.3 minutes over the previous 10 contests.
Austin Johnson sports a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio over the past four games (18 assists and four turnovers).
Longar Longar is averaging 16.0 points over the past three games on 20-for-31 shooting (.645). He has eight blocked shots over the past four outings.
OU has been outrebounded just twice in Big 12 play (at Texas and at Texas A&M) and has been outboarded just twice in the last 18 games overall.
Head coach Jeff Capel, the second youngest coach in NCAA Division I, turns 32 on Monday, Feb. 12.