Sooners Start Season Friday in Dallas

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 07, 2013
 Oklahoma (0-0) vs. Alabama (0-0)
 Date & Tip Time  Friday, Nov. 8 at 4:05 p.m. CT
 Location  Dallas, Texas | American Airlines Center
 TV  FS Southwest
 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KRXO 107.7 FM in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
 Sirius 93; XM 199
 Webcast  None
 Live Stats  TBA
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

Oklahoma begins its 107th season of varsity basketball when it plays Alabama on Friday at 4 p.m. CT in Dallas, Texas.  The game will be the first of three that day at American Airlines Center (OU-Alabama precedes TCU-SMU and Baylor-Colorado) as part of the Buckets and Boots Showcase.  OU, which finished 20-12 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years, is starting its third season under head coach Lon Kruger.  The Crimson Tide is coached by fifth-year mentor Anthony Grant, who directed his squad to a 23-13 record last season and to the NIT quarterfinals.

Friday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Sirius 93; XM 199) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck calling the action.  The game will be televised by Sooner Sports TV (FS Southwest) with Bob Carpenter, Billy Tubbs and Jessica Coody announcing.

Tickets to Friday's game are available here.

Complete Release (PDF) | Media Guide | Schedule | Tickets

• Oklahoma holds a 4-2 all-time series lead against Alabama (2-0 in Norman, 1-1 in Tuscaloosa and 1-1 at neutral sites).  The Crimson Tide won the last meeting, a 70-55 decision Jan. 1, 2007, in Tuscaloosa.
• OU is 26-2 in its last 28 season openers, and one of those two losses came to Alabama.  The No. 8 Crimson Tide beat the No. 3 Sooners 68-62 on Nov. 14, 2002, in the AT&T Wireless Classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  OU’s only other season-opening defeat in the last 28 years came to Massachusetts (84-83 in Norman) in 1993-94.
• The Sooners lost their top three scorers from last season’s 20-12 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years, and return just 32 percent of their scoring, 38 percent of their rebounding and 44 percent of their assists.  Sophomore guard Buddy Hield is OU’s leading returner in points (7.8 ppg), rebounds (4.2 rpg), assists (1.9 apg) and steals (1.2 spg).  In OU’s two preseason exhibition games, Hield averaged 25.0 points, 3.5 boards and 3.5 assists while shooting .708 from the field and .700 (7-for-10) from 3-point range.
• Senior forward Cameron Clark led OU in scoring in four of its five August exhibition games in Belgium and France and paced the team with his 16.8 points per contest.  Clark, a consensus top-40 national recruit out of high school who is the Sooners’ most experienced player (60 starts in 95 career games), shot .521 from the field in Europe and also averaged 7.0 boards an outing.
• Oklahoma owns a 6-2 record at American Airlines Center.  The third-ranked Sooners won 2002 first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games against Illinois-Chicago (71-63) and Xavier (78-65) en route to the program’s fourth Final Four appearance. The next year as the No. 6 team in the country, OU won the Big 12 Championship with victories over Colorado (74-59), Texas Tech (67-60 in OT) and Missouri (49-47) before advancing to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.  The unranked Sooners beat Nebraska (63-59) in the 2004 Big 12 Championship first round and then nearly upset No. 11 Texas (lost 66-63).  In its most recent American Airlines Center appearance, 22nd-ranked OU fell to Nebraska (69-63) in the 2006 Big 12 quarterfinals.

The Sooners averaged 96.0 points in wins over Washburn (104-76) and Oklahoma Christian (88-76) in their two exhibition games Saturday and Monday.  Washburn is an NCAA Division II squad while Oklahoma Christian, formerly an NAIA team, is in the second of a three-year NCAA Division II membership process.  Six Sooners averaged double figures in points.  Sophomore guard Buddy Hield led the team with his 25.0 points (21 and 29, respectively) and was followed by freshman point guard Jordan Woodard (16.0 ppg), senior forward Cameron Clark (14.5), sophomore guard Je’lon Hornbeak (12.0; missed Washburn game), senior forward Tyler Neal (10.5) and sophomore forward Ryan Spangler (10.5).  OU outrebounded its foes by 10.0 per game and posted healthy shooting percentages of .527 from the field, .438 (21-for-48) from 3-point range and .814 (35-for-43) from the free throw line.  It held its opponents to combined .407 field goal and .333 (15-for-45) 3-point marks.

• Sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins played 15 minutes against Washburn before spraining an ankle and missing the rest of the contest.  Cousins, who scored OU’s first four points of the game, sat out the Oklahoma Christian contest but is expected to play Friday versus Alabama.
• Senior forward Cameron Clark scored a game-high 23 points in the opener against Washburn on 8-for-13 field goal shooting.  Clark was 3-for-5 from 3-point range after attempting only one 3-pointer all of last season (made it).
• OU’s win over Oklahoma Christian was not without some drama, at least for a half.  The Eagles hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to take a 41-38 lead.  The Sooners responded nicely after intermission, hitting their first seven shots (four of them treys) and took a 59-49 lead with 15:44 left.  Not much later they used a 10-0 run to go ahead 75-56 with 10:19 to go.
Buddy Hield, Jordan Woodard and Clark combined to go 15-for-23 (.652) from 3-point range and average 55.5 points in the two wins.  Hield was 7-for-10 from long range, Woodard 5-for-7 and Clark 3-for-6.

• Directed by fifth-year head coach Anthony Grant, Alabama returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last year’s 23-13 squad that went 12-6 in the SEC and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals (2-1).  In its lone exhibition game, the Crimson Tide beat Division II West Georgia 65-64 in overtime on Monday.  Alabama posted a .417 to .333 shooting advantage, but was outrebounded 49-40.
• Leading the way for the Crimson Tide is senior guard Trevor Releford, a first-team All-SEC pick last year who averaged team highs of 14.9 points and 2.1 steals as well as 2.5 assists per game.  The brother of former Kansas Jayhawk Travis Releford, he shot .476 from the field, .407 from 3-point range (1.4 makes a game) and .824 from the free throw line (4.5 attempts an outing).  Releford scored a game-high 27 points in Monday’s win over West Georgia (nobody else scored more than 12 for the Tide).  He is the SEC’s active leader in career points, assists and steals.  Other returning starters are junior guard Rodney Cooper (10.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.1 3FG/game) and junior guard Levi Randolph (8.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.6 apg).  Randolph missed the exhibition game with a knee injury.
• Grant owns an 86-52 (.623) record at Alabama and is 162-77 (.678) in seven years overall (also coached at VCU for three seasons).



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