SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma (9-18, 3-12 Big 12) hosts its second-to-last home game of the season when Kansas State (17-11, 6-9 Big 12) visits the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday. The young Sooners look to continue their improvement in their fourth game since losing senior guard Jordan Woodard to injury. Oklahoma’s freshmen and sophomores and have averaged 65.6 points per game since losing Woodard, while the team’s depth has helped filled the void with 30.3 bench points per contest.
ON THE AIR
Saturday’s contest tips off at 5 p.m. CT and air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with Mark Neely and Reid Gettys calling the action.
Fans can purchase tickets online on SoonerSports.com. Tickets are being offered for as low as $10 for an adult ticket and $5 for youth tickets - allowing a family of four to attend for a total of just $30.
OU students are also being offered free admission, even without student tickets, for the final two home games. The first 500 students in attendance on Saturday will receive a free "smart wallet" smart phone attachment.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger attempts to become the 33rd head men’s basketball coach to win 600 career NCAA Division I games on Saturday, and he’ll have a chance to do it against his alma mater. Kruger owns a career record of 599-379 and boasts the 10th-most Division I victories among active head coaches.
• Kruger played for Kansas State from 1970-74 and was named the Big Eight Player of the Year in 1973 and 1974. In 2003, Kruger was inducted into the Kansas State Hall of Fame. His number was retired at K-State in 2006.
• With 13 points against Baylor, freshman guard Kameron McGusty extended his streak of scoring in double figures to 15 consecutive games. His streak is the longest by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster in 1990-91 and the longest of any Big 12 freshman this season. The 15 games mark the third-longest active double-digit streak among all Big 12 players.
• No returning Big 12 player has seen a bigger increase in role than Oklahoma sophomore guard Rashard Odomes. After playing just 6.1 minutes per game in 18 contests last year, Odomes is averaging 26.8 minutes per game and has started in all 27 games. His increase in minutes (20.7 per game) is by far the most in the Big 12. No other Big 12 returner is averaging more than 16 additional minutes per game compared to their previous season. Offensively, Odomes averaged 1.9 points per game in 2015-16 and is scoring 10.6 points a night in 2016-17. He is the only returning Big 12 player to average under two points last season and over 10 points in 2016-17. His increase in scoring (8.7 points per game) is the second-highest among any Big 12 returner.
• Oklahoma has seen potential from all four of its scholarship freshmen as the youngest Sooners have combined to produce 26 games of double-digit scoring - most recently a 13-point showings from McGusty (Feb. 21 vs. Baylor).
LOOKING BACK AT BAYLOR
• Oklahoma (9-18, 3-12 Big 12) fell short in its comeback efforts against No. 9/9 Baylor (23-5, 10-5 Big 12), 60-54, on Tuesday inside Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. Oklahoma is now 1-2 against ranked opponents in true road games this season.
• The Sooners trailed by as many as 15 in the second half but went on an 18-6 run to pull within two (49-47) with 9:19 remaining. OU remained within eight points of the Bears the rest of the night. The Sooner defense helped fuel the comeback efforts by limiting the Bears to 7-of-23 shooting (.304) in the second half – the fewest made shots by an OU opponent in any half this season.
• Freshman guard Kameron McGusty extended his double-digit scoring streak to 15 games by producing a team-high 13 points.
• Sophomore guard Rashard Odomes poured in eight points and pulled down a team-high eight boards in the game. Tonight marks his second straight game of leading the team in rebounds (10 vs. Oklahoma State).
• Freshman forward Kristian Doolittle added eight points and seven boards while sophomore guard Christian James led the OU bench with eight points of his own.
• OU reserves totaled 19 points to Baylor’s 10. Since losing senior guard Jordan Woodard to a season-ending injury, Oklahoma has relied on its depth to make up the scoring he provided. The Sooner bench is averaging 30.3 points per game since losing Woodard.
• Oklahoma tied a season best for turnovers by surrendering the ball just nine times on the evening. The Sooners showed great ball security in the second half – turning the ball over only twice in the period.
Kameron McGusty has scored in double figures in 15 straight games - the third-longest active streak among all Big 12 players and the longest such streak by a Big 12 freshman this season.
• One of the youngest teams in both the Big 12 and the nation, Oklahoma has seen its freshmen and sophomores play a large role for the Sooners this season. The Sooner roster boasts 11 underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) – the most of any OU team in the Lon Kruger era and the most of any Big 12 roster this season. The young Sooners have received ample experience through their first 15 Big 12 contests.
• OU freshmen have played a total of 1,147 minutes (second most in Big 12), averaging a combined 27.6 points per game and contributing 39.5 percent of OU’s scoring in Big 12 play - the second-highest percentage in the conference. Sooner underclassmen rank second in the Big 12 in total minutes played in conference competition (2,254) and have scored 73.7 percent of Oklahoma’s points in league play (second in Big 12).
• According to KenPom.com, the Sooners entered the season with the 20th youngest roster in the country (based off of age and years of playing experience). Oklahoma had the 10th least-experienced team among basketball “power six” schools (ACC, BigEAST, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac 12).
• The Sooners lead the all-time series, 106-98, and are 61-27 against the Wildcats in Norman.
• Kruger is 4-7 against his alma mater while coaching the Sooners (3-2 in Norman). The Wildcats have won seven of the previous nine meetings.
• The Sooners hit the road for the final time this season on Monday, Feb. 27 when they travel to Phog Allen Fieldhouse to face No. 3/3 Kansas. The Big Monday game will be televised on ESPN and tip at 8 p.m. CT. The Sooners and Jayhawks have met 211 previous times - the second most contests against any opponent in Oklahoma history. The Sooners have only faced Oklahoma State (233 games) more times than the Jayhawks.
• Kansas leads the overall series, 145-66. The Jayhawks are the only Big 12 team to own a winning all-time record against the Sooners. KU leads the series in Lawrence, 74-16.
• Oklahoma will look for its first win inside Allen Fieldhouse since 1993. The Sooners came close to snapping the Jayhawks home winning streak in a triple-overtime thriller that ended in a 109-106 KU victory. Buddy Hield scored 46 points in the loss and shot 8-of-15 from 3-point range.