OU Aims For NIT Title vs. Purdue

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

 Oklahoma (5-0) vs. Purdue (5-0) 
 Date & Tip Time  Friday, Nov. 28 at 3 p.m. CST
 Location  New York, N.Y. | Madison Square Garden 
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office
 TV

 ESPN2

 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa
 Video Webcast  ESPN360.com
 Live Stats  None
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

Photos  Thursday OU Photo Gallery

GAME PREVIEW
Playing for its first out-of-state regular season tournament title since the 2000-01 season, No. 11/13 Oklahoma (5-0) faces No. 10/9 Purdue in the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off championship game Friday at 3 p.m. CST at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  The OU-Purdue matchup will follow the 12:30 p.m. consolation game between Boston College and UAB.  Both contests will be televised by ESPN2 with Dave O’Brien, Steve Lavin and Allen Hopkins announcing.  OU’s game will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC AM-1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM-1430 in Tulsa) with Ryan Ruocco and Mike Houck calling the action.

 Purdue's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
4
 Robbie Hummel
6-8
210
Sr.
 15.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 50.0 3FG%
F
25
 JuJuan Johnson
6-5
205
Sr.
 10.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.0 bpg
G
3
 Chris Kramer
5-8
185
So.
 5.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.4 apg
G
5
 Keaton Grant
6-2
200
Sr.
 8.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.4 apg
G
33
 E'Twaun Moore
6-5
205
Sr.
 15.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.8 apg

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 27.2 ppg, 18.8 rpg, 75.4 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 10.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 68.0 FG%
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 7.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4
207
Fr.
 13.4 ppg, 2.2 apg, 46.2 FG%
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 6.0 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 bpg 

"NOTE"WORTHY
• Sophomore forward Blake Griffin is the only player in OU history to record at least 18 rebounds in four consecutive games.  No player had done it in more than two games in a row.  Griffin’s career high in rebounds entering the year was 17.
• Purdue’s Robbie Hummel is the fifth preseason conference player-of-the-year the Sooners are facing in their first six games.  The others were American’s Garrison Carr, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, Gardner-Webb’s Grayson Flittner and UAB’s Robert Vaden.
• OU is going for its first NIT Season Tip-Off championship.  The Sooners hold a 6-3 all-time record in the event, but this year marks the first time they advanced to New York for the final two rounds.

WEDNESDAY’S UAB RECAP
• Oklahoma used a .600 second-half field goal performance to outscore UAB 48-33 after intermission in a 77-67 win.  OU posted season-high game marks of .540 from the field and .348 from 3-point range (8-for-23).
• The Sooners trailed by 11 (34-23) with 2:54 left in the first half before cutting the Blazers edge to five at the break (34-29).
• Down 62-60 with 5:15 left, OU finished the game on a 17-5 run.
• Blake Griffin recorded his fifth straight double-double with 32 points (second highest career total) and 15 rebounds (season low) while adding three assists.  He scored six points in the final 2:37 of the first half and netted 19 after the break.  Griffin was 11-for-14 from the field and was solid at the line with a 10-for-14 effort.
• Junior guard Tony Crocker scored a season-high 12 points on 4-for-9 3-point shooting while sophomore guard Cade Davis posted a career-high 12 points on a career-high four treys (all in the second half).  Crocker was 3-for-19 from behind the arc entering the game.  Davis added a career-high three assists and tied a career best with four rebounds.
• Three of Davis’ four 3-pointers came between the 11:29 and 7:11 marks of the second half.
• Senior guard Austin Johnson contributed seven points, four rebounds and five assists without a turnover.
• Oklahoma won despite committing seven more turnovers than UAB (17-10).  OU actually outscored the Blazers 18-12 in the points-off-turnovers category.
• Paul Delaney led UAB with 23 points while Robert Vaden added 18 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Blake Griffin | So. | Forward
 • Averaging 27.2 points, a nation-leading 18.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game
 • Has made 49 of 65 field goal attempts for a .754 season percentage
 • First player in Big 12 Conference history to register consecutive games of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds
 • First player in OU history to pull down at least 18 rebounds in four consecutive games

   

WHO’S HOT
• Sophomore forward Blake Griffin is averaging 27.2 points and a nation-leading 18.8 rebounds per game while shooting .754 from the field (that’s not including the combined 16-for-16 performance from the field in OU’s exhibition games).  Griffin adds 2.8 assists and 2.8 steals a contest.  He has recorded at least 15 rebounds in each contest (18 versus American, 19 against Mississippi Valley State, 21 against Davidson, 21 against Gardner-Webb and 15 versus UAB).
• Griffin has been especially productive over the last three games, averaging 30.7 points, 19.0 boards and 3.7 assists while shooting .711 from the floor (32-for-45) and .711 from the foul line (27-for-38).
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis returned to the floor Wednesday after missing the Gardner-Webb game with an ankle injury to score a career-high 12 points on a career-high four treys.  Davis is averaging 9.5 points per game on the season and is shooting .440 from 3-point distance (11-for-25).  He has made at least three treys in three of his four games (made one in the other). 
• After averaging 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds over OU’s first two games, senior forward Taylor Griffin is averaging 12.0 points and 6.7 boards over the last three.  He is 13-for-19 (.684) from the field over those outings.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
• Oklahoma’s 5-0 start is its best since the 2003-04 season when it began 10-0.
• Despite a not-so-stellar .671 team free throw percentage, the Sooners have made 11 more charity throws than their opponents have attempted this season.  OU is 98-for-146 while foes are 58-for-87.  That’s an average of 11.8 more attempts per game than its opposition.  Blake Griffin has attempted 41 percent of the team’s free throws (60 of its 146).
• Griffin has accounted for 33 percent of OU’s points on the year, 48 percent of its rebounds and 56 percent of its defensive boards.
• OU has made at least six 3-pointers in each of its five games, but is shooting just .309 from long range on the season.  Last year, it posted a .348 season mark from the shorter 3-point distance.
• Junior guard Tony Crocker is averaging 7.0 points per game on .289 (13-for-45) field goal and .250 (7-for-28) 3-point shooting.  Last year, he averaged 11.3 points and shot .441 and .424, respectively.
• Opponents have had success on the offensive glass this season, with each of OU’s foes pulling down double-digit offensive rebounds.  American (12), Mississippi Valley State (14), Davidson (14), Gardner-Webb (15) and UAB have averaged 13.4 offensive caroms.
• Sophomore Blake Griffin and his brother, senior Taylor Griffin, are a combined 66-for-91 (.725) from the field this year and have paired for 23 of the team’s 50 steals (12 by Blake and 11 by Taylor).
• Going back to last year, Blake Griffin has registered at least three assists in 14 out of 38 games (three times this year).  He has at least two assists in 23 career contests (four times this season).
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis missed his first career free throw Nov. 18 against Davidson.  He made all 23 of his attempts as a freshman and his first three this year.
• Registering 54 blocked shots over the past two seasons (the most ever during a two-year period by a Sooner standing under 6-foot-8), Taylor Griffin has a team-high eight rejections already this year.

PREVIEWING PURDUE
Purdue enter’s Friday’s NIT Season Tip-Off championship game with a 5-0 record after notching home victories over Detroit Mercy (82-50), Eastern Michigan (87-58), Loyola Chicago (78-46) and Coppin State (66-46), and an NIT semifinals win over Boston College on Wednesday (71-64).  The Boilermakers, picked to win the Big Ten Conference by a panel of league media, are ranked No. 10 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today version.  They are shooting .444 from the field, .333 from 3-point range and .757 from the free throw line.  They are getting outrebounded by 2.2 boards per contest.

• Sopohomore guard E’Twaun Moore averages team highs of 15.6 points and 3.8 assists to go along with 5.8 rebounds per contest.  He is shooting .483 from the field and .813 (13-for-16) from the free throw line.  Moore registered game highs of 19 points and six assists against Boston College Wednesday.
• Big Ten Conference Preseason Player of the Year Robbie Hummel averages 15.0 points, a team-high 6.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in only 23.4 minutes a game.  The sophomore forward is shooting .500 from the field and .500 from long range (12-for-24), and is perfect from the free throw line (17-for-17).
• Sophomore forward JuJuan Johnson provides 10.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and a team-high 2.0 blocks a game, while shooting .525 from the field.  He averages 21.6 minutes a game.
• Senior forward Nemanja Calasan comes off the bench to supply 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.4 minutes an outing while senior point guard Keaton Grant averages 8.6 points, 3.6 boards and 3.4 assists a game.

Matt Painter, who last year directed the Boilers to a 25-9 overall record and a 15-3 Big Ten mark, is 61-40 (.604) in his fourth year at Purdue.  He’s in his fifth year as a collegiate head coach and owns an 86-45 (.656) record.

OU Fast Fact 
Blake Griffin (27.2 ppg and 18.8 rpg) is on pace to set a school records for scoring and rebounding averages in a season.  The record of 27.0 points per contest was set by Wayman Tisdale in 1983-84 while the standard of 13.3 boards per game was set by Alvan Adams in 1974-75.

OKLAHOMA-PURDUE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma holds a 5-4 advantage against Purdue in a series that dates back to Dec. 21, 1962. OU is 3-0 against the Boilermakers in Norman, 2-2 in West Lafayette and 0-2 in neutral site competition.  Purdue won the last meeting, a 74-71 decision during the 2006-07 season in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.  David Godbold led OU with 17 points and Austin Johnson added 16 with five assists, but Purdue’s Carl Landry was too much as he netted 30 points.  The game marked Jeff Capel’s fourth as OU head coach.  All nine series meetings are listed below. 

Season...Winner...Score...Site
2006-07...Purdue...74-71...Lahaina, Hawaii
2004-05...Oklahoma...66-48...West Lafayette, Ind.
2003-04...Oklahoma...47-45...Norman, Okla.
1999-00...Purdue...66-62...Tucson, Ariz.
1996-97...Oklahoma...82-58...Norman, Okla.
1995-96...Purdue...77-63...West Lafayette, Ind.
1981-82...Oklahoma...80-77...Norman, Okla.
1980-81...Purdue...101-86...West Lafayette, Ind.
1962-63...Oklahoma...80-79...West Lafayette, Ind.

OKLAHOMA AT THE GARDEN
With its 77-67 win over UAB on Wednesday, Oklahoma now owns a 6-13 record inside Madison Square Garden.  Prior to this trip, the Sooners’ three most recent appearances in the building came in the past six years.  OU lost to Duke (78-67) on Dec. 18, 2004, in the Dreyfus Classic, fell to Alabama (68-62) in the 2002-03 season opener in the AT&T Wireless Classic and split games with Memphis (lost 63-53) and Gardner-Webb (won 69-55) last season in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic.

The Sooners also played at the Garden in the 1992 postseason NIT when Billy Tubbs’ squad knocked off Colorado in the semifinals before falling to Stanford in the title game.  Tubbs’ 1981-82 team lost to Bradley inside MSG in the 1982 NIT semifinals.  Prior to that, all of OU’s Garden appearances took place between the 1939-40 and 1950-51 seasons.  The Sooners lost the 1947 NCAA championship game to Holy Cross there, 58-47.

GRIFFIN NAMED BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK, AGAIN
Sophomore forward Blake Griffin was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 26.7 points, 20.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.3 steals in wins over Mississippi Valley State, 21st-ranked Davidson and Gardner-Webb.  He also shot .725 from the field.  The award was the second in two weeks for Griffin, who also picked up the league’s initial honor of the year for his 24-point, 18-rebound effort against American in the season opener.  Griffin earned the honor twice as a freshman last year.

WARREN SHARES BIG 12 ROOKIE-OF-THE-WEEK HONOR
Freshman guard Willie Warren picked up his first career Big 12 weekly award when he was named the league’s co-rookie of the week with Baylor freshman Quincy Acy on Monday.  Warren averaged 17.0 points and 2.7 assists in OU’s three victories, and nailed six treys.  The 6-4, 207-pounder from Fort Worth, Texas, scored 14 points against Mississippi Valley State, a career-high 20 against Davidson and 17 versus Gardner-Webb.  He made three 3-pointers against both Davidson and Gardner-Webb.

SCORING SURGE
The Sooners have scored with frequency in each of their first five games.  In fact, they surpassed the 80-point mark in each of the first four outings (giving them four consecutive games of 80-plus for the first time since the 2003-04 season) and netted 77 Wednesday against UAB.  OU is averaging 83.2 points and is shooting .504 from the field after averaging 67.9 points and shooting .442 last year.  It shot .538 against American, .523 versus Mississippi Valley State, .521 against Davidson and .540 versus UAB.

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.

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).

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