Sooners Head to Stillwater for Bedlam
WEDNESDAY'S GAME BASICS
For the second time in five days, Oklahoma (13-5, 2-4 Big 12) is on the road for a rivalry game when it heads to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State (8-10, 2-4 Big 12) in the second round of Bedlam. The Cowboys will be the first team the Sooners see twice this season and it will be the second year in a row that both regular-season Bedlam games will be played in January.
The Sooners are on the hunt for their first win inside Gallagher Iba Arena since 2016 and will need to limit the Cowboys’ scoring from beyond the arc. OSU is the league’s best 3-point shooting squad and is hitting 3-pointers at a 40.0 percent clip at home. The Sooners succeeded in the first round of Bedlam, limiting the Pokes to 6-of-26 (.231) shooting from behind the arc to help OU win by double figures.
ON THE AIR
The Big 12 matchup will tip at 8 p.m. CT 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. Mark Neely and Fran Fraschilla will call the action on ESPNU. Fans with proper cable verification can also stream the game on the Watch ESPN app.
• Freshman guard Jamal Bieniemy made his first career start on Saturday against Texas. Despite the loss, the Sooners’ lone scholarship freshman impressed in his career-high 36 minutes. Bieniemy scored a career-best 11 points and sank three 3-pointers in the final four minutes. The point guard did not commit a turnover in the performance and has played 60 minutes on the floor since his last turnover (Jan. 12 vs. TCU). The rookie boasts an assist/turnover ratio of 3.33.
• Senior guard Christian James is coming off of back-to-back games of 20 points. The senior scored 15 points in the second half of both games last week. James ranks fourth in the Big 12 scoring race with 17.2 points per game and is also fifth in the league in rebounding (7.6). James also ranks fourth 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, one of two OU starters from the state of Oklahoma, has produced some big performances into previous Bedlam matchups. In his four career games against Oklahoma State, Manek is averaging 15.0 points and shooting 12-of-26 (.462) from behind the arc.
Brady Manek is averaging 15.0 points in his four previous games against Oklahoma State.
SERIES HISTORY: OKLAHOMA STATE
• 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.
• A win would give Oklahoma its first Bedlam sweep since 2016. The Sooners boast six Bedlam sweeps since 2006 (Oklahoma State has swept just once in that span).
WHAT'S WITH THE SHOES?
• As part of Suits and Sneakers Week (Jan. 21-27), the Oklahoma coaching staff will join coaches around the country in wearing sneakers during the game to raise awareness about the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. The iniative is organized by Coaches vs. Cancer - a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
• Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger was named council chair of Coaches vs. Cancer this past fall and has been a member of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council since 2007. As the council chair, Kruger is not only an advocate for the organization, but partners with a presitgous list of fellow council members that includes the likes of Jay Bilas, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith, Norm Stewart and Roy Williams.
• Kruger has been a longtime supporter of the American Cancer Society. As founder and chairman of the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic, Kruger’s leadership has helped the event raise over $3.5 million over the last 11 years.
• In 2017, Kruger was a recipient of the American Cancer Society’s prestigious St. George National Award for his extraordinary service to the community in support of the Society’s mission to save lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer. Kruger was also recognized in 2012 with the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award and in 2009 with the Legacy and Leadership Visionary Award from the ACS Las Vegas region.
• Since its inception, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised over $115 million to support the American Cancer Society and save lives. Thanks to Coaches vs. Cancer supporters, the American Cancer Society is providing hope to millions of cancer patients and their families. The Society offers free rides to treatment, a live 24/7 helpline, and free lodging near hospitals for people dealing with every type of cancer.
• This is just the fourth time in program history that the Sooners have played on the road against Texas and Oklahoma State in consecutive games and the first instance since 2001.
• 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 7-1 when limiting opponents to under 70 points.
• Oklahoma is 12-1 when it scores at least 30 points in the first half.
• 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 38.7 percent from the field – the second lowest opponent field goal percentage in the conference and 11th nationally. The Sooners rank 11th in KenPom.com’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
• Oklahoma is fifth in the nation in defensive rebounding with 30.8 defensive boards per game. OU’s 41.3 total rebounds per game rank 11th in the country and first in the Big 12.
• OU has three players ranked in the top 10 in rebounding in the Big 12: Christian James (fifth, 7.6), Brady Manek (sixth, 7.1) and Kristian Doolittle (10th, 6.5). TCU is the only other school with multiple players (two) ranked in the top 10.
• Oklahoma’s opponents are averaging 31.7 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 33.2 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 11 games since. His six double-doubles are the second most in the Big 12.
• James enters tonight’s game with 147 career 3-pointers. He is three shy of the 150 mark and 22 away from cracking OU’s all-time top 10 in the category. Mookie Blaylock is currently 10th in Sooner history with 169.
• Sophomore forward Brady Manek ranks sixth in the Big 12 in rebounding with 7.1 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.
• Kristian Doolittle has scored in double digits in five of his last eight games, including a 24-point performance that featured the game-winning shot over TCU on Jan. 12.
• Senior guard Rashard Odomes totaled 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting (.722) in OU’s two games last week.
• 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.
ZERO HAS BEEN THE HERO
• Senior guard Christian James has been the Sooners’ go-to scorer this 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 18 games, James has scored at least 10 points in all but one contest – including six games of 20 points.
• James failed to produce a double-double in his first 104 collegiate games but has produced at least 10 points and 10 boards in six of the 11 games since.
• With an average of 17.1 points per game, James is fourth in the Big 12 scoring race. Seeing a Sooner towards the top of the Big 12’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 41st on the all-time OU scoring list with 1,023 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 18 games as their roster features seven 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. All nine players in the rotation have at least one game in double figures.
• 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 four games.
UP NEXT: VANDERBILT
• Oklahoma takes a break from conference action for the sixth edition of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Sooners host Vanderbilt on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
• The Sooners will face Vanderbilt for the third time in program history and first time since 1994. The Commodores have won both previous meetings. The two schools most recently met in 1994 as part of the postseason NIT.
• Oklahoma is 3-2 in the mid-season event with previous wins over LSU, Missouri and Texas A&M while falling to Florida and Alabama.
• Big 12 teams are 29-21 (.580) in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. In the first four years of the event, the Challenge trophy remained in the Big 12 offi ce. The Big 12 won it the first three seasons and the leagues split the 10 games in 2017 (in case of a tie, the trophy stays with the conference that won it the previous season). The SEC won the fifth season of the Challenge.
• OU is 9-9 against current SEC teams in the Kruger era, including 7-5 against schools which were SEC members at the time of competition. The Sooners defeated Florida in the opening round of Battle 4 Atlantis earlier this season.
• Oklahoma 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).