Oklahoma Faces Texas in Austin
SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma vs. Texas...what else has to be said? No. 20/19 Oklahoma (13-4, 2-3 Big 12) travels to Austin for the first hardwood edition of the Red River Showdown this season. The Sooners are looking to bounce back from their first home loss of the season while Texas (10-7, 2-3 Big 12) aims to snap a three-game losing streak. The Saturday showdown is OU’s first Big 12 road game against an unranked opponent this season. The Sooners fell to No. 5 Kansas and No. 8 Texas Tech by seven points each, but showed intensity and composure in both games – a factor they’ll look to bring into Saturday’s road contest.
ON THE AIR
The Big 12 matchup will tip at 7 p.m. CT at Frank Erwin Center and air on the Sooner Radio Network (107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. Alex Loeb and Lance Blanks will call the action on Longhorn Network. Fans with proper cable verification can also stream the game on the Watch ESPN app.
• Two seasons ago, Kristan Doolittle put on a career performance of 29 points and 10 rebounds against Texas in Austin. A freshman at the time, Doolittle showed what he was capable of producing. He scored in double figures only three more times that season and never as a sophomore. Recently, Doolittle has gotten into a rhythm and is showing off the flash of talent OU saw in him two years ago in Austin. Entering tonight’s game, Doolittle has scored in double digits in five of his last seven games, including a 24-point performance that featured the game-winning shot over TCU on Saturday. Five games into conference play, Doolittle is second on the team in both scoring and rebounding in Big 12 games with 13.6 points and 7.8 boards. A full feature on Doolittle's confidenc and rhythm can be read here.
• Senior guard Christian James is the newest member of Oklahoma’s 1,000-point club after scoring 20 against Kansas State on Wednesday. He is the eighth Sooner coached by Lon Kruger to score 1,000 points in an OU uniform and the 45th in program history. With 1,003 career points, James ranks 43rd on OU’s all-time scoring list. Teammate Aaron Calixte also boasts over 1,000 career points with 1,273 points in his career (1,125 came at Maine). Miles Reynolds is approaching the milestone with 922 (767 came at Saint Louis and Pacific).
• Oklahoma is coming of a home loss against Kansas State on Wednesday. The Sooners are 3-0 in games after losses this season. In their three previous “bounce back” games (Dayton, Oklahoma State, TCU), the Sooners limited opponents to 33.7 percent shooting and winning by an average of 7.7 points.
Christian James became the 45th Sooner to eclipse 1,000 career points on Wednesday.
SERIES HISTORY: TEXAS
• Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 54-39, with UT holding a narrow lead (22-18) for games played in Austin.
• The Sooners are 7-7 against Texas under Lon Kruger. The Longhorns have won four of the past five meetings.
• The Longhorns won both meetings against the Sooners last season. Texas and West Virginia were the only Big 12 teams to sweep Oklahoma in 2017-18.
• OU is looking for its first win inside "The Drum" since 2015.
• Oklahoma is tied with Iowa State for a league-leading three road wins. The Sooners are 3-2 on the road this season (0-2 in Big 12 play) with their pair of losses both coming against top-10 teams (No. 5 Kansas and No. 8 Texas Tech).
• Oklahoma is the only school in the country with a win over a team from every major conference (Power Five + Big East).
• The Sooners are 11-1 when outrebounding their opponents. In its 13 wins, Oklahoma is winning the rebounding margin by an average of 6.2 boards.
• OU opponents are shooting 38.3 percent from the field – the second lowest opponent field goal percentage in the conference and 12th nationally. The Sooners rank ninth in KenPom.com’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
• Oklahoma is third in the nation in defensive rebounding with 31.2 defensive boards per game. OU’s 41.8 total rebounds per game rank ninth in the country.
• The Sooners have three players ranked in the top 10 in rebounding in the Big 12: Christian James (fifth, 7.6), Brady Manek (sixth, 7.2) and Kristian Doolittle (10th, 6.4). TCU is the only other school with multiple players (two) ranked in the top 10.
• Oklahoma’s opponents are averaging 31.9 points in the first half. OU opponents scored 32 or fewer first half points on only five occasions last season.
• Oklahoma is 11-2 when outscoring its opponents in the paint. OU is averaging 33.8 paint points per game.
• Christian James failed to record a double-double in his first 104 collegiate games, but has produced at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in six of his 10 games since. His six double-doubles are the second most in the Big 12.
• James also ranks fifth in the conference for made 3-point field goals (2.2 per game). He is the only Big 12 player averaging over 2.0 made 3-pointers and 7.0 rebounds.
• Sophomore forward Brady Manek ranks sixth in the Big 12 in rebounding with 7.2 boards per game. Manek averaged only 5.2 rebounds last season, but put on 20 pounds over the offseason to improve his physical presence in the paint. He has put together four double-doubles this season (had none his freshman year).
• The Sooners almost always have team success on nights that Manek is rolling. During his career, OU is 20-6 when Manek scores in double figures, 12-1 when he scores at least 15 points and 8-0 when he hit four or more 3-pointers.
• Freshman guard Jamal Bieniemy has dished out 13 assists off the bench over his last four games. The only scholarship freshman on the Oklahoma roster, Bieniemy boasts an assist/turnover ratio of 3.2. He is just outside the conference and national rankings, which require at least 3.0 assists per game (Bieniemy averages 2.8). Despite only scoring 3.5 points per game, Bieniemy contributes with his composure as a ball handler/distributor and as one of the toughest defenders in the Sooner lineup.
• Bieniemy is the only major-conference bench player to average over 2.5 assists and less than 1.0 turnover.
• Graduate guard Miles Reynolds continues to make the most of his lone season with the Sooners, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for games played Dec. 17-25. Reynolds averaged 12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in Oklahoma’s two most recent wins (Creighton and at Northwestern) to earn the honor for the first time.
• Graduate point guard Aaron Calixte ranks 10th in the conference in assists with 3.1 dimes per game. Calixte is averaging 8.9 points per game and has totaled 1,273 points in his career (1,125 came at Maine).
• OU has won 21 of its last 24 games inside Lloyd Noble Center and 23 of its last 26 “home” games (includes victories in OKC and Tulsa).
ZERO HAS BEEN THE HERO
• Senior guard Christian James has been the Sooners’ go-to scorer through the first two months of the season. James entered the season as Oklahoma’s top returning scorer (averaged 11.9 points per game in 2017-18) and has shown improvement in nearly all assetts of his game. Through 16 games, James has scored at least 10 points in all but one contest – including five games of reaching 20 points.
• James failed to produce a double-double in his first 104 collegiate games, but has totalled at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in six of the 10 games since.
• With an average of 17.0 points per game, James is fourth in the Big 12 scoring race. Seeing a Sooner towards the top of the conference’s scoring list is nothing new for Oklahoma, as an OU player has led the Big 12 in scoring in three of the previous four seasons (Trae Young in 2017-18; Buddy Hield in 2015-16 and 2014-15).
• By scoring 20 points on Jan. 16 against Kansas State, James became the 45th Sooner to eclipse 1,000 points in an Oklahoma uniform (eighth in the Lon Kruger era). James ranks 43rd on the all-time OU scoring list with 1,003 career points.
DIFFERENT GUY EVERY NIGHT
• Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger has said all season that for the Sooners to be successful, they’ll need contributions from different guys each night. The Sooners have seen just that through 17 games as their roster features sevn players averaging at least five points.
• Eight of the nine Sooners in Kruger’s main rotation have at least three games of 10-or-more points.
• The Sooners have had at least three players reach double-digit scoring in all 13 of their wins. Oklahoma is averaging 3.5 players in double figures per game.
• Three different Sooners have led the team in scoring over OU’s last three games.
UP NEXT: OKLAHOMA STATE
• The Sooners’ road rivalry week continues when Oklahoma heads to Stillwater on Wednesday for the second round of Bedlam. This is just the fourth time in program history that the Sooners have played on the road against Texas and OSU in consecutive games and the first instance since 2001.
• The 238th Bedlam meeting will tip at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU. Oklahoma owns a 138-99 all-time advantage in the series, including a 74-64 victory over the Cowboys earlier this season in Norman. The Sooners are 11-6 in Bedlam games under Lon Kruger. The 11 wins against OSU are tied with TCU for the most against an opponent during the Kruger era.
• The Cowboys have taken the last two matchups in Stillwater by a combined six points, including an 83-81 overtime win in last year’s meeting. In the Sooner loss, Trae Young scored a career-high 48 points - tied for the highest-scoring game by a Big 12 player in the conference’s history. His scoring output was also the most ever scored by an OSU opponent inside Gallagher Iba Arena and the most by any player in a Bedlam game.
• Despite losing its last two at Gallagher Iba Arena, the Sooners have still won three of the last five Bedlam meetings in Stillwater.