OU Starts NIT Season Tip-Off Monday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

 Oklahoma (1-0) vs. Mississippi Valley State (0-2) 
 Date & Tip Time  Monday, Nov. 17 at 8:05 p.m. CST
 Location  Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center 
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office
 TV

 ESPNU 

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

GAME PREVIEW
After an 83-54 season-opening win over American on Friday, No. 12/14 Oklahoma goes for win No. 2 against Mississippi Valley State Monday at 8 p.m. CST at Lloyd Noble Center.  The contest is part of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Norman Regional and will follow the 5 p.m. Davidson-vs.-James Madison matchup.  The OU-MVSU game 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, and will be nationally televised by ESPNU with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.

If OU, the No. 2 seed in the 16-team NIT Season Tip-Off, wins Monday, it will play the winner of the Davidson-James Madison game on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2.  Monday's losers will square off Tuesday at 5:30.  Davidson is the event's No. 5 seed, James Madison is the No. 12 seed and Mississippi Valley State is the No. 16 seed.  The winner of the Norman Regional will advance to New York City for games Nov. 26 and 28 at Madison Square Garden.  Other regional hosts are No. 1 seed Purdue, No. 3 seed Arizona and No. 4 seed Boston College.

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 4 p.m. on Monday.

 Mississippi Valley State's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2007-08 Stats
F
12
 Amos Studivant
6-8
230
Fr.
 0.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.0 apg
F
15
 Shannon Behling
6-7
200
Jr.
 9.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
F
34
 Eric Petty
6-6
220
Sr.
 8.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.0 spg
G
1
 Dwayne Harmason
5-10
180
Sr.
 10.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 apg
G
23
 Michael Clark
6-2
180
Sr.
 8.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.5 apg

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2007-08 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 24.0 ppg, 18.0 rpg, 81.8 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 8.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 spg
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 9.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4
207
Fr.
 10.0 ppg, 2.0 apg, 2.0 spg
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 5.0 ppg, 8.0 apg 

FRIDAY'S AMERICAN RECAP
Blake Griffin's
24 points and career-high 18 rebounds powered Oklahoma to an 83-54 win over preseason Patriot League favorite American on Friday to give the Sooners their 29th win in their last 30 home openers.  The sophomore preseason All-American was 9-for-11 from the field in 33 minutes of action and drained his first career 3-pointer (third career attempt).  Fellow sophomore Cade Davis came off the bench to drain three 3-pointers on six attempts and score 11 points.  Freshman guard Willie Warren joined the pair in double figures with 10 points. 

Oklahoma jumped to a 9-2 lead and didn't allow a field goal until nearly seven minutes into the contest.  A 13-2 run later in the half pushed the Sooners' advantage to 35-14 before they eventually went to halftime with a 47-24 cushion on the strength of .625 field goal shooting.  They led by as many as 34 in the second half (81-47) before settling for the 29-point victory.  OU shot .538 for the game and went 7-for-23 (.304) from 3-point distance and 20-for-32 (.625) from the free throw line.  It held American to .350 field goal shooting and a 6-for-22 (.273) effort from long range.  The Sooners posted a 38-31 rebounding advantage had 12 turnovers to the Eagles' 15.

FRIDAY'S LEFTOVERS
• Senior guard Austin Johnson racked up a game-high eight assists (fourth most of his career) against just one turnover.
• Senior forward Taylor Griffin was a defensive force, registering three blocked shots and a career-high four steals. 
Blake Griffin's 18 rebounds were the most by a Sooner since Aaron McGhee hauled down 19 boards against St. Bonaventure on Dec. 5, 2001 (a span of 225 games). 
• In his first game action since the 2007 Final Four when he was at UCLA, Ryan Wright contributed nine points and five rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench.  The junior forward was 2-for-3 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. 
• OU's 13 steals were their most since recording 14 against Colorado on Jan. 10, 2007 (a span of 53 games). 
• The Sooners held Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year Garrison Carr to 11 points on 4-for-15 field goal and 1-for-6 3-point shooting.  Carr averaged 18.4 points and 4.0 treys a game last year, and shot .452 from long distance.

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Cade Davis | So. | Guard
 • Scored 11 points in 18 minutes off the bench in Friday's season opener 
 • Was 3-for-6 from 3-point range 
 • Made four treys on seven attempts in each of OU's two exhibition games
 • Has scored in double figures in each of team's three games (two exhibition and one regular season)

   

WHO'S HOT
• Combining OU's two exhibition games with Friday's regular season opener, sophomore forward Blake Griffin is 25-for-27 from the field (.926).  He went 16-for-16 from the field during exhibition action and 9-for-11 versus American.
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis carried over his hot exhibition shooting to Friday's season opener.  Davis tied a career high with three treys (all in the first half) on six attempts against American after going 4-for-7 in each of the Sooners' two exhibition games.  He scored in double figures in all three outings. 

PREVIEWING MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE
Mississippi Valley State, located in Itta Bena, Miss., will be playing its third game in four days Monday to start the season after losing at Arizona State (80-64) on Friday and at Washington State (76-25) on Saturday.  The Delta Devils shot .426 from the field against Arizona State as four players scored in double figures, but managed only a .167 mark against Washington State where no one tallied more than nine points.  They're shooting .296 overall, .293 from 3-point range and .591 from the foul line.  MVSU allowed the Sun Devils and Cougars to shoot a combined .565 from the field and .389 from behind the 3-point arc.   Here are a few individual notes...

• MVSU's top two scorers against Arizona State went scoreless at Washington State.  Junior forward Shannon Behling netted 18 points against the Sun Devils while senior guard Michael Clark scored 16.  Behling was 0-for-6 from the floor at WSU while Clark was 0-for-5.
• Senior guard Dwayne Harmason is averaging team highs of 10.5 points and 2.5 assists per contest.
• Senior forward Eric Petty is averaging 8.0 points and 8.5 rebounds.  He had a double-double at Arizona State with 11 points and 10 boards.

A 2008 NCAA Tournament team that won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament, Mississippi Valley State finished 17-16 overall last season and posted a 12-5 league mark (second place).  It is under the direction of first-year collegiate head coach Sean Woods, a 1992 Kentucky graduate.

OKLAHOMA-MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma won its only previous meeting with Mississippi Valley State, a 117-95 decision on Dec. 30, 1991, as part of the Cardinal Classic in Beaumont, Texas.  Seven Sooners scored in double figures in that contest.  Damon Patterson recorded 25 points and 13 rebounds, and was followed in scoring by Jeff Webster (23), Brent Price (19), Bryatt Vann (14), Angelo Hamilton (12), Terry Evans (10) and Derrick Gallien (10).

OU'S PRESEASON NIT HISTORY
This marks the fourth time for Oklahoma to participate in the NIT Season Tip-Off (formerly the Preseason NIT).  OU owns a 3-3 record in the event and has never advanced to New York as a semifinalist.  The Sooners are 3-0 at Lloyd Noble Center and 0-3 on the road.  In 1986-87, they beat BYU, 119-110, before losing at UNLV, 90-81.  In 1990-91, they handled New Orleans, 95-65, before losing at Arkansas, 110-88.  And in 2001-02, they beat Central Connecticut, 66-44, before falling at Michigan State by a 67-55 count.

PATTILLO TO REDSHIRT
Head coach Jeff Capel announced following Friday's season opener against American that junior forward Juan Pattillo will redshirt this year.  The junior college transfer from College of Southern Idaho averaged 17.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 22.1 minutes a game last year as a sophomore.  He was regarded as the No. 3 juco sophomore in the country last year by recruiting analyst Van Coleman.

OU Fast Fact 
A mechanical engineering major who claims his favorite OU class is Modern Physics, junior forward Beau Gerber wants to be a rock star after college.  If that doesn't pan out, he says he would like to enter the material design field.

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.

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 on 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.  Griffin could meet Curry, the nation's leading returning scorer, in a second-round NIT Season Tip-Off contest Tuesday in Norman.

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 members of their own teams.  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).

CAPTAINS NAMED
In a September players vote, senior Taylor Griffin, junior Tony Crocker and sophomore Blake Griffin were named captains for the 2008-09 season.  This marks the first year that Crocker or Blake Griffin have served as an OU team captain.   Taylor Griffin served as one last year along with then-seniors David Godbold and Longar Longar.

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