Sooners Ready For No. 1 Michigan State

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 23, 2013

 Oklahoma (4-0) vs. No. 1 Michigan State (5-0)
 Date & Tip Time  Saturday, Nov. 23 at approx. 8:30 p.m. CT
 Location  Brooklyn, N.Y. | Barclays Center
 TV  truTV
 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KRXO 107.7 FM in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa
 Webcast  None
 Live Stats  Sidearm Sports
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

Oklahoma (4-0) takes on top-ranked Michigan State (5-0) in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic championship game on Saturday at approximately 8:30 p.m. CT inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Sooners are coming off an 86-85 win over Seton Hall on Friday in which they outscored the Pirates 7-0 over the final 32 seconds. The Spartans beat Virginia Tech 96-77 in Friday’s nightcap.

Saturday’s contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Tom Dore and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be televised nationally by truTV with Brian Anderson, Greg Anthony and Steve Smith calling the action. Craig Sager will report from courtside.

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

• Saturday’s game will mark the eighth all-time meeting between Oklahoma and Michigan State. The Spartans hold a 4-3 series lead but the Sooners have won the last two matchups (60-58 in Oklahoma City in the 2002-03 season and 80-77 in overtime in Auburn Hills, Mich., in the 2003-04 campaign).

• This marks the 17th time in school history that Oklahoma has met the AP’s No. 1-ranked team. OU owns an impressive 7-9 all-time record against AP No. 1’s and has won six of the last 10 such contests. The Sooners’ seven wins have come against Oklahoma A&M (1950-51 season), Kansas (1989-90, 1994-95 and 2001-02), UNLV (1986-87), Arizona (1988-89) and Missouri (1989-90). The 1990 wins over Missouri and Kansas came over the span of three days (Sunday and Tuesday) and OU took over the No. 1 ranking the following week (stayed there entering NCAA Tournament).

• Sophomore guard Buddy Hield and senior forward Cameron Clark have each scored in double figures in all four games and lead the team with their 17.0 and 14.8 respective scoring averages. Hield paced OU in the points department in the first two games of the year with back-to-back career highs of 19 against Alabama and 23 versus North Texas. Clark led OU with 14 against Idaho before going for 20 Friday night against Seton Hall (his most since his freshman season). Projected to 40 minutes, Clark actually has a higher scoring average than Hield (24.6 to 23.2).

• The Sooners lost their top two frontcourt players from last year in Romero Osby (first-team All-Big 12; 16.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg) and Amath M’Baye (10.1 ppg and 5.2 rpg), but sophomore Ryan Spangler and senior Tyler Neal have filled in more than adequately. Spangler, a transfer from Gonzaga, is averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game while boasting a .704 field goal percentage. He was named Co-Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds against Alabama in the season opener. Neal is contributing 8.8 points and 5.3 boards in only 18.0 minutes a contest (projected to 40 minutes, he boasts averages of 19.4 points and 11.7 rebounds). Neal, who entered the year averaging 3.1 points and 2.1 boards while shooting 36.9 percent for his career, is 14-for-22 (.636) from the field this season.

• OU opened eyes in August when it averaged 90.6 points a contest during its five-game exhibition tour of Belgium and France (it averaged 70.6 last season). Since returning to the U.S., the Sooners have continued to put up points. Lon Kruger’s team averaged 96.0 points in its two preseason exhibition outings and is averaging 87.0 points through four regular season games (it has scored at least 40 points in each of its eight halves). The last time OU averaged more than 80.0 points per game for an entire season was in 1994-95 (81.7 ppg in Kelvin Sampson’s first year as head coach).

• Oklahoma recorded one of the most unlikely comebacks in school history by scoring seven unanswered points over the final 32 seconds of an 86-85 win over Seton Hall in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

• The Sooners led by as many as nine points (27-18) in the first half and were up 44-41 at halftime. Seton Hall outscored OU 15-4 to start the second half to take an eight-point lead and later went up by 11 (63-52 with 12:07 left).

• Down six, senior Cameron Clark’s putback with 31.5 seconds left cut OU’s deficit to 85-81. Clark was credited with a steal moments later and scored another layup with 28 seconds left to make it 85-83. Jordan Woodard notched another steal and was fouled with 21.5 seconds left. Woodard made the first free throw but missed the second, and a jump ball was called after a scramble for the rebound. Clark missed a shot with 16 seconds remaining, but Woodard came up with the offensive board in traffic and got it to Buddy Hield, who was fouled with 9.3 seconds to go. Hield sandwiched two free throw makes around a Seton Hall timeout and the Sooners survived a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

• Clark finished with a team-high 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting and added nine rebounds and two assists. It was his highest scoring game since netting 25 points against Baylor as a freshman (Feb. 20, 2011).

• Sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins only played 21 minutes because of foul trouble, but still almost doubled his career high in scoring. From nearby Mount Vernon, N.Y., and with 19 friends and family members in the stands, Cousins was 7-for-8 from the field and finished with 19 points (previous career high was 10), three rebounds and two blocks. A .279 3-point shooter last year, Cousins was 3-for-3 from deep.

• Woodard was big after halftime, scoring all 12 of his points in the second half. The freshman point guard only made two field goals on five attempts but was 8-for-10 from the free throw line.

• Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler was 3-for-5 from the field and only scored six points, but he pulled down a game-high 10 boards and added career highs of three assists, three blocks (tied) and three steals.

• OU recorded a 52.7 to 41.1 percent shooting advantage and also posted a 37-32 rebounding edge against the bigger Pirates.

• Big Ten juggernaut Michigan State enters Saturday’s contest with a 5-0 record following its 96-77 win over Virginia Tech on Friday, a game in which it shot 50.7 percent from the field, made 14 3-pointers and forced 17 turnovers while committing just six. The Spartans, who were ranked No. 2 in both major polls to start the year, overtook the No.1 spot after beating McNeese State (98-56) at home, then-top-ranked Kentucky (78-74) in Chicago and Columbia (62-53) at home. MSU is outscoring its opponents by an average of 83.2-65.4 and is shooting .482 from the field, .382 from 3-point range and .769 from the free throw line. It is holding foes to .386 field goal and .339 3-point shooting marks. The Spartans hold a +4.0 average rebounding margin and boast a crazy 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio (112-49).

• Michigan State is led by a trio of players who average more than 14 points a game. Senior forward Adreian Payne leads the way with his 19.8 points per contest and ranks second on the squad with his 8.2 rebound average. Payne has recorded career scoring highs in two of the last three games and last night against Virginia Tech registered 29 points, 10 boards, three assists and three blocks. He was 10-for-15 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Gary Harris averages 17.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists an outing. He is shooting .403 overall and .256 (10-for-39) from long distance. Senior point guard Keith Appling contributes 14.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and a team-high 6.4 steals per game. He shoots .532 from the field and a gaudy .647 from 3-point range (11-for-17).

• MSU is under the direction of 19th-year head coach Tom Izzo, who owns a 444-178 (.713) career record. Izzo has guided the Spartans to six Final Fours, one NCAA championship (2000), seven Big Ten regular season crowns and three Big Ten Tournament titles.

• OU boasts seven players averaging at least 8.5 points per game and the Sooners have scored at least 40 points in every half this season.

• After averaging 16.0 points on .588 field goal and .714 (5-for-7) 3-point shooting in OU’s two preseason exhibition games, freshman point guard Jordan Woodard is averaging 8.5 points through four regular season games and is shooting .286 from the field and .125 (1-for-8) from 3-point range. He leads the team with his 4.3 assists per outing and his 17 free throw makes and 22 attempts.

• The Sooners’ lone New York native, sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins is averaging 10.5 points per game after averaging 2.7 last year. From Mount Vernon, N.Y. (Mount Vernon High School is about 25 miles north of Barclays Center), Cousins is shooting .577 from the field and .667 (4-for-6) from 3-point range after posting .279 and .250 (10-for-40) marks as a freshman. He has 13 assists on the year against just three turnovers and has handed out at least four assists in three of four outings.

• OU head coach Lon Kruger has a long and in-depth history with Coaches vs. Cancer, and in 2012 received the organization’s national "Champion Award," which is presented to one coach at the Final Four each year. Kruger started the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic in 2008 and the event has netted nearly $1.5 million in its six years. The money directly benefits the American Cancer Society’s effort to finish the fight against cancer. The seventh annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic will be hosted at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip May 18-20, 2014. Some of the coaches scheduled to participate next year are Colorado’s Tad Boyle, Kansas State’s Bruce Weber, Michigan’s John Beilein, Nebraska’s Tim Miles, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford, Oregon’s Dana Altman, South Carolina’s Frank Martin, Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith, UNLV’s Dave Rice and Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak.



Sooner Sports Properties, LLC, is the multimedia rights holder for athletics at the University of Oklahoma.
Sooner Sports Properties is a joint venture of Learfield Communications and Tyler Media, LLC.


Sooner Sports Powered by FOX Sports is a multi-platform network that provides distribution of 1,000+ hours of Sooner sports programming annually on a variety of FOX Sports outlets, including FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Southwest, and FOX College Sports.