The Official Site of Oklahoma Sooner Sports

Saturday's Game 500th at LNC

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

 Oklahoma (3-0) vs. Gardner-Webb (0-2) 
 Date & Tip Time  Saturday, Nov. 22 at 1:06 p.m. CST
 Location  Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center 
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office
 TV

 None 

 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC AM-1520 in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ AM-1430 in Tulsa
 Video Webcast  SoonerSports.com
 Live Stats  SoonerSports.com / GameTracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

GAME PREVIEW
Playing its 500th game at Lloyd Noble Center, 12th-ranked Oklahoma goes for its fourth win to start the season when it hosts Gardner-Webb on Saturday at 1 p.m. CST.  The Sooners, who are coming off an 82-78 victory over No. 21 Davidson on Tuesday, will face an 0-2 Bulldogs squad that has lost its two road games by a combined four points to Virginia Tech and Longwood.  Saturday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC AM-1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM-1430 in Tulsa) with Bob Barry Sr. and Mike Houck announcing.  The game will not be televised, but an Internet video webcast will be available on the subscription-based "All-Access" portion of OU's official athletics site, SoonerSports.com.

TICKET INFORMATION
• Upper-level reserved seats are available for $10 (north and south) and $20 (east and west) at the OU Athletics Ticket Office.  Lloyd Noble Center ticket windows will open at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

 Gardner-Webb's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
2
 Joshua Henley
6-4
220
Fr.
 10.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
C
30
 Lu Dovonou
6-5
230
Jr.
 4.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
G
4
 Grayson Flittner
6-0
200
Jr.
 19.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.5 apg
G
12
 Anton Silver
6-2
175
Jr.
 16.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.5 apg
G
23
 Aaron Linn
6-3
200
Sr.
 16.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.5 apg

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 23.0 ppg, 19.3 rpg, 77.4 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.7 spg
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4
207
Fr.
 14.7 ppg, 2.0 apg, 50.0 FG%
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 5.7 ppg, 4.7 apg, 1.7 spg 

TUESDAY'S DAVIDSON RECAP
In the season's first matchup of AP top-25 teams, No. 12 Oklahoma withstood a Lloyd Noble Center opponent record 44 points from preseason first-team AP All-American Stephen Curry to post an 82-78 win over No. 21 Davidson in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off South Regional title game Tuesday in Norman.  OU's Blake Griffin, also a preseason first-team AP All-American, netted 25 points (21 in the second half) and pulled down a career-high 21 rebounds for the Sooners to help them improve to 3-0 and advance to next week's NIT semifinals in New York City.  The sophomore was 7-for-11 from the field, 11-for-12 from the free throw line and added three assists.

After a Curry jumper to start the second half cut OU's lead to two points, the Sooners issued a 23-4 run over a six-minute span to go ahead 61-40 with 13 minutes remaining.  The outburst didn't faze the Wildcats, though, as they immediately answered with a 14-0 run of their own to draw within seven at 61-54 with 11 minutes left.  Oklahoma pushed its margin back to 15 points before another Curry-led charge brought Davidson to within three points with 16 seconds to go.  A Cade Davis free throw and a Curry turnover sealed the game, however, and the Sooners claimed the victory.  

Freshman guard Willie Warren scored a career-high 20 points in 24 minutes of action for OU with the help of three 3-point makes early in the contest.  Senior forward Taylor Griffin registered 16 points (12 in the first half on 5-for-5 shooting) and six rebounds.

TUESDAY'S LEFTOVERS
• Blake Griffin's 21 rebounds tied as the 11th most in OU history and marked the most by a Sooner since Kermit Holmes also hauled down 21 boards against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 15, 1990 (a span of 573 games).  His 18 defensive rebounds were one more than the entire Davidson team recorded on the defensive end. 
• Griffin went 11-for-12 from the free throw line on the night (made his first 10) after going 9-for-22 (.409) in OU's first two games.
• Taylor Griffin's 16 points tied as the second most of his career. 
• Davidson's Stephen Curry became just the third opposing preseason AP first-team All-American to play against OU in Norman in non-conference action.  The others were Arizona's Sean Elliott (1988-89) and Vanderbilt's Billy McCaffrey (1993-94). 
• The Sooners improved to 5-3 in NIT Season Tip-Off games and advanced to semifinals play for the first time in the event.

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Willie Warren | Fr. | Guard
 • Coming off a career-high 20-point outing against Davidson
 • Was 3-for-5 from 3-point range against the Wildcats and scored his 20 points in only 24 minutes of action
 • Has scored in double figures in each of team's three games and ranks second on squad with his 14.7 average
 • Is 9-for-11 from the free throw line (.818)

   

WHO'S HOT
• Sophomore forward Blake Griffin is averaging 23.0 points and a staggering 19.3 rebounds per game while shooting .774 from the field.  He adds 2.0 assists and 2.7 steals.  Including OU's two exhibition games when he was 16-for-16 from the field, he is shooting .851 (40-for-47) this year.  Each of Griffin's three rebounding totals this year represented a career high at the time (18 versus American, 19 against Mississippi Valley State and 21 against Davidson).
• Freshman guard Willie Warren has scored in double figures in all three games and ranks second on the team with his 14.7 points per outing.  He netted 20 points in 24 minutes of action against Davidson before fouling out. 
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis has carried over his hot exhibition shooting to the first three games of the regular season.  Davis tied a career high with three treys each against American and Mississippi Valley State after going 4-for-7 in each of the Sooners' two exhibition games.  He added another trey against Davidson and is 7-for-17 (.412) from deep in the regular season.  He is averaging 8.7 points in 19.3 minutes a game. 

PREVIEWING GARDNER-WEBB
Gardner-Webb, which is playing its third of four road games this Saturday to open the season,  lost 65-62 at Virginia Tech Nov. 14 and 85-84 at Longwood on Tuesday.  The Bulldogs are shooting .426 from the field, .333 from 3-point range (14-for-42) and .737 from the free throw line (28-for-38) while outrebounding their opponents by 8.5 boards a game.  Gardner-Webb, which finished with a 16-16 record last season, is picked to finish in third place in the 10-team Big South Conference by league coaches and media.

• Big South Preseason Player of the Year Grayson Flittner is averaging a team-high 19.5 points per outing to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.  The guard, a former walk-on, is 7-for-20 from 3-point range and 8-for-8 at the free throw line.
• Junior guard Anton Silver averages 16.5 points and 6.0 boards while shooting .650 from the field and .600 from 3-point range (6-for-10).  He scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting Tuesday at Longwood.
• Senior guard Aaron Linn also averages 16.5 points and 6.0 boards per contest.  He is 12-for-13 (.923) at the foul line.
• Junior center Auryn MacMillan registered 12 points and nine rebounds at Virginia Tech before getting injured late in the contest.  He did not play against Longwood and is questionable for Saturday.
• Sophomore forward Nate Blank, the 2008 Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year, will miss Saturday's game due to preseason surgery.  He made 60 3-pointers and averaged 10.8 points (scored 25 at Connecticut) and 3.6 rebounds a game last year.

Gardner-Webb, which has six lefties on its 15-man roster and only two players taller than 6-6, is coached by Rick Scruggs.  The 1979 Georgia grad is 178-182 (. 494) in his 15th year at the Boiling Springs, N.C., school and 356-297 (.545) in his 22nd year overall.

OKLAHOMA-GARDNER-WEBB SERIES HISTORY
Saturday's game will mark the second meeting between the schools in men's basketball.  Last year in New York City, Oklahoma posted a 69-55 November win over Gardner-Webb in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic consolation game.  The inside tandem of Blake Griffin (17 points, eight rebounds) and Longar Longar (16 points and 11 rebounds) combined for 33 points and 19 boards, and Tony Crocker came off the bench to score 11 points in his only non-start of the year.  OU held the Bulldogs to a .279 shooting night but had to survive a 14-for-37 3-point barrage in order to get the victory (the 37 trey attempts tied a 12-year-old OU opponent record).  Gardner-Webb was led by Grayson Flittner's 18 points (he was 6-for-13 from long range), while Nate Blank and Takayo Siddle contributed 13 each.  The Bulldogs were just 5-for-31 (.161) from inside the 3-point arc.

SCORING SURGE
The Sooners have scored with frequency in each of their first three games.  In fact, they have surpassed the 80-point mark in each outing, giving them three consecutive games of 80-plus for the first time since 2004-05 (they claimed the Big 12 regular season title that year).  OU, which is averaging 86.3 points (it averaged 67.9 last year), is shooting .527 from the field.  It shot .538 against American, .523 versus Mississippi Valley State and .521 against Davidson.  It owns a .317 mark from 3-point distance and is shooting .648 from 2-point range.

OU Fast Fact 
Sophomore forward Blake Griffin is the first player in OU history to record at least 18 rebounds in three consecutive games.  He grabbed 18 versus American, 19 versus Mississippi Valley State and a career-high 21 against Davidson.

THANKSGIVING IN NEW YORK
Thanks to wins over Mississippi Valley State and Davidson this past week, the Sooners will be spending Thanksgiving in New York City as participants in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals and championship rounds.  No. 2 seed OU will meet No. 7 seed UAB on Wednesday at approximately 8:30 p.m. CST.  That game will follow a 6 p.m. meeting between No. 1 seed Purdue and No. 4 seed Boston College.  Friday's consolation game will start at 12:30 p.m. and will be followed by the championship game at approximately 3 p.m.  All four contests will be televised by ESPN2.

GRIFFIN NAMED BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore forward Blake Griffin picked up the Big 12's initial Phillips 66 Player-of-the-Week award on Monday for his 24-point, 18-rebound performance against American last Friday.  The Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year was 9-for-11 from the field in OU's 83-54 win and, at the time, his 18 boards were the most by a Sooner since the 2001-02 season.  He added an assist, a blocked shot and a steal.  It was Griffin's third Big 12 Player-of-the-Week award (earned it twice as a freshman).

GRIFFIN NAMED AP PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
Sophomore Blake Griffin became the first Sooner in 13 years to be named an AP preseason first-team All-American (Nov. 3).  The last OU player to receive the honor was forward Ryan Minor prior to the 1995-96 season.  Griffin was joined on the five-man team by North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough (reigning national player of the year), Davidson guard Stephen Curry, Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody and UCLA guard Darren Collison.

SOONERS NO. 1 ACCORDING TO BIG 12 COACHES
For the first time in the 13-year history of the Big 12 Conference, the Sooners have been picked to win the league in a vote of head coaches.  OU received three first-place votes and a total of 109 points in the conference's annual preseason poll to edge second-place Texas.  The Longhorns captured four first-place votes and 107 total points.  Baylor and Kansas tied for third place with 103 points.  Next were No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Missouri, No. 8 Kansas State, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 10 Texas Tech, No. 11 Iowa State and No. 12 Colorado.

UNANIMOUS PICKS
Blake Griffin and Willie Warren were unanimous selections as Big 12 Preseason Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively, the conference office announced Oct. 14.  The players were selected by the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players.  Griffin is OU's third Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year (Hollis Price in 2002-03 and Taj Gray in 2005-06 were the others), while Warren is the second OU player to be named Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year (Drew Lavender was recognized prior to the 2003-04 season).

COMBO NO. 1
Head coach Jeff Capel has signed McDonald's All-Americans in back-to-back years in sophomore forward Blake Griffin and freshman guard Willie Warren.  This season marks the first in history that multiple McDonald's All-Americans appear on an Oklahoma roster.  Last March, Warren became the seventh OU signee to play in the McDonald's All-American Game.  Others were Wayman Tisdale (1982), Jeff Webster (1989), Ryan Humphrey (1997), Drew Lavender (2003), Scottie Reynolds (2006) and Griffin (2007).



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