Sooners and Bears Face Off Monday
MONDAY'S GAME BASICS
Coming off a historic Bedlam comeback followed by a SEC/Big 12 Challenge rout, Oklahoma (15-5, 3-4 Big 12) remains at home against one of the hottest teams in the Big 12. Baylor (13-6, 4-2 Big 12) enters Monday’s contest on a four-game winning streak that includes a pair of road wins. The matchup features some of the most prominent graduate transfers in the conference. Baylor is paced by transfer guard Makai Mason from Yale, averaging 15.5 points per game. The oldest team in the Big 12, Oklahoma has turned to its graduate guards Aaron Calixte (8.0 points per game) and Miles Reynolds (8.0) for energy and leadership throughout the season.
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. Kevin Connors and Chris Spatola will call the action on ESPNU. Fans with proper cable verification can also stream the game on the Watch ESPN app.
Tickets are available starting at just $10 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
OU students will be granted free entry with a valid student ID at the north entrance.
OU Athletics is offering a special ticket deal to federal government employees, providing $5 for the game. Those redeeming will be able to purchase up to four tickets at the discounted price by showing their government ID at the ticket window on the night of the game.
IN THE BONUS
• After a successful first run with OU students, OU Athletics is now offering happy hour prices for all fans from the moment doors open until tipoff. During the happy hour, discounts will be applied to the following items: hot dogs ($3), popcorn ($3), soda ($3) and beer ($5).
• Fans are encouraged to #ArriveSooner to avoid delays into the gates with enhanced screenings. OU's clear bag policy will also be in efffect. For more gameday tips at Lloyd Noble Center, visit the LNC's information page.
• Following a 13-point home loss to Kansas State on Jan. 16, Lon Kruger switched up his starting five by adding Jamal Bieniemy and Rashard Odomes. In doing so, he also preached to his team the importance of taking care of the basketball on offense and energetic intensity on defense. That message has translated to a noticeable switch in ball control statistics. The Sooners have gone 2-1 with the new lineup (loss was by three points at Texas) and have committed an average of 5.5 fewer turnovers while swiping 2.2 more steals per game. In exactly 100 minutes of action in his first three career starts, Bieniemy has committed only one turnover.
• Odomes has also been a catalyst on offense the past few weeks with his ability to slash to the hoop. In his last four games, the senior is averaging 13.3 points while shooting 24-of-32 (.750) from the field. On the season, Odomes boasts the fourth-best field goal percentage in the Big 12 (.588).
• Roughly nine minutes into the first half of their road game at Oklahoma State on Wednesday, the Sooners found themselves down by 19. Since that point in the Bedlam game (51 game minutes ago), OU has outscored its opponents 147 to 88. Oklahoma is shooting 50-of-87 (.575) from the field in its last three halves.
Rashard Odomes is shooting 75.0 percent from the field over his last four games.
SERIES HISTORY: BAYLOR
• OU owns a 45-15 record over the Bears, including a 23-5 advantage in Norman. The two teams split the series last season with the Sooners claiming a 98-96 win in Norman and the Bears winning 87-64 in Waco.
• The Sooners are 8-7 against the Bears during the Lon Kruger era and have won eight of the last 13 outings.
• Baylor is coached by Scott Drew, brother of Vanderbilt head coach Bryce Drew, who the Sooners defeated Saturday.
RECAPPING OU'S WIN OVER VANDERBILT
• The Sooners lit up the Lloyd Noble Center in one of their best offensive performances of the season, downing Vanderbilt, 86-55, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Oklahoma shot a season-best 55.4 percent from the field (36-of-65) and scored its most points since Nov. 12. The 31-point win marked OU’s second highest margin of victory this season (defeated Wichita State by 32).
• With the win, the Sooners improved to 4-2 all-time in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The win was OU’s first ever victory against Vanderbilt (third overall meeting). OU improved to 10-9 against current SEC teams in the Kruger era, including 8-5 against schools which were SEC members at the time of competition.
• Coming off his worst offensive night this season (five points), senior guard Christian James produced 21 points and five rebounds while shooting 8-of-15 from the field. James has scored at least 20 points in three of his last four games.
• Ten Sooners scored in the contest, including three with at least 14 points. In addition to James, Brady Manek produced 16 points and Rashard Odomes added 14 on 7-of-8 shooting.
• Despite finishing scoreless, freshman guard Jamal Bieniemy impacted the game as OU’s floor general, dishing out a career-high seven assists to go with five rebounds, four steals and just one turnover in 29 minutes.
• The Sooners forced 22 Vanderbilt turnovers – one shy of the Kruger-era record.
• Oklahoma has won 22 of its last 25 games inside Lloyd Noble Center and 24 of its last 27 “home” games (includes victories in OKC and Tulsa).
• The Sooners’ offense has recently seen a scoring surge after halftime. In the last five games, Oklahoma is averaging 41.6 second-half points and is shooting 58.9 percent from the field after the break.
• 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 9-1 when limiting opponents to under 70 points and 4-0 when opponents score less than 60.
• Oklahoma is 14-1 when it scores at least 30 points in the first half.
• The Sooners are 12-1 when outrebounding their opponents. In its 15 wins, Oklahoma is winning the rebounding margin by an average of 5.3 boards.
• OU opponents are shooting 38.8 percent from the field – the second lowest opponent field goal percentage in the conference and 11th nationally. The Sooners rank 13th in KenPom.com’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
• Oklahoma is eighth in the nation in defensive rebounding with 30.3 defensive boards per game. OU’s 40.4 total rebounds per game rank 19th 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 (fourth, 7.4), Brady Manek (eighth, 6.8) 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 31.6 points in the first half. OU opponents scored 32 or fewer first half points on only five occasions last season.
• Oklahoma is 13-2 when outscoring its opponents in the paint. OU is averaging 34.4 paint points per game.
• Christian James ranks fourth the Big 12 in both scoring (16.8) and rebounding (7.4).
• 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 13 games since. His six double-doubles are the second most in the Big 12.
• James enters tonight’s game with 150 career 3-pointers. He 19 away from cracking OU’s all-time top 10 in the category. Mookie Blaylock is currently 10th in Sooner history with 169.
• Freshman point guard Jamal Bieniemy boasts an assist/turnover ratio of 3.63. He has committed only one turnover in his last four games (while playing a combined 120 minutes).
• The Sooners almost always have team success on nights that Brady Manek is rolling. During his career, OU is 22-6 when Manek scores in double figures, 14-1 when he scores at least 15 points and 8-0 when he hit four or more 3-pointers.
• 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.
RECAPPING OU'S WIN OVER VANDERBILT
• 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 19 games, James has scored at least 10 points in all but two contests – including seven 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 13 games since.
• With an average of 16.8 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 40th on the all-time OU scoring list with 1,049 career points.
UP NEXT: WEST VIRGINIA
• The Sooners are back in action Saturday in their only road game in an 18-day stretch when OU heads to Morgantown for a Saturday showdown with West Virginia. The Sooners and Mountaineers will tip off at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN2.
• Oklahoma is 9-7 all-time against the Mountaineers and is 8-6 in the series while WVU has been a member of the Big 12 (also 8-6 during the Lon Kruger era). West Virginia has won the last three meetings.
• Recent matchups between Oklahoma and West Virginia have gone against the grain of most college basketball series results. The ROAD team has won four of the last five on-campus meetings between the two schools. Oklahoma has won two of its last three games in Morgantown while West Virginia has won two straight in Norman.
• The series is tied 3-3 all-time in Morgantown. The Sooners claimed road wins in the WVU Coliseum in 2013, 2016 and 2017.
• Oklahoma will have four days between games to prepare for West Virginia. The Sooners have won four of their last six games against the Mountaineers in which they’ve had at least two practice days before facing them.