OU Travels Turnpike to Take on Tulsa

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

 No. 6/6 Oklahoma (7-0) vs. Tulsa (4-3) 
 Date & Tip Time

 Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. CST

 Location  Tulsa, Okla. | BOK Center 
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office
 TV

 CBS College Sports Network
 DirecTV Channel 613
 Dish Network Channel 152

 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KRXO FM 107.7 in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa
 Video Webcast  SoonerSports.com All-Access
 Live Stats  SoonerSports.com/GameTracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

PREVIEWING THURSDAY'S GAME
Owner of its highest national ranking since December 2005, No. 6/6 Oklahoma (7-0) plays at Tulsa (4-3) at the new BOK Center on Sunday at 3 p.m. CST.  The Sooners are off to their best start since the 2003-04 season, while the Golden Hurricane has lost two in a row following a 4-1 start.  The game will be televised by CBS College Sports Network (DirecTV 613; Dish Network 152) with Carter Blackburn and Steve Lappas announcing, and 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 calling the action.

"NOTE"WORTHY
• Sunday's game will mark the first collegiate basketball game at the BOK Center, which opened in August.  The building hosted an NBA preseason game Oct. 13 between Oklahoma City and Houston.
• Despite a modest .683 team free throw percentage, the Sooners have made 37 more foul shots than their opponents have attempted.  OU is 149-for-218 from the stripe while foes are 76-for-112.  That's an average of 15.1 more attempts per game than its opposition.   Sophomore forward Blake Griffin has attempted 39 percent of the team's free throws (86 of its 218).
• Griffin (17.3 rpg) is on pace to shatter the school record for rebounding average in a season.  The standard of 13.3 boards per game was set by Alvan Adams in 1974-75.  Griffin is also averaging 12.3 free throw attempts a game, a figure that would break Stacey King's 1988-89 record of 8.9 foul shots per outing.
• Through seven games, OU has faced five preseason conference players of the year in American's Garrison Carr, Davidson's Stephen Curry, Gardner-Webb's Grayson Flittner, UAB's Robert Vaden and Purdue's Robbie Hummel.
• Out of its 31 regular season games this year, OU will play 21 against teams that made the 2008 postseason (15 against NCAA Tournament teams, four against NIT squads and two against College Basketball Invitational teams).  Tulsa won last year's CBI.

 Tulsa's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
12
 Bishop Wheatley
6-6
210
Jr.
 5.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
F
33
 Joe Richard
6-7
230
Fr.
 1.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg
C
23
 Jerome Jordan
7-0
240
Jr.
 10.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 60.4 FG%
G
1
 Ben Uzoh
6-3
195
Jr.
 16.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.3 apg
G
53
 Ray Reese
6-5
215
Sr.
 9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 36.6 3FG%

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 25.6 ppg, 17.3 rpg, 68.9 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 11.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 59.6 FG%
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 6.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4
207
Fr.
 13.4 ppg, 2.1 apg, 80.0 FT%
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 8.3 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.0 bpg 

THURSDAY'S USC RECAP
• The Sooners won their fourth game of the year by five points or less when they dealt USC a 73-72 defeat Thursday in Norman as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
• Oklahoma overcame a 9-0 start by USC and took a 42-35 lead to halftime.  OU extended its advantage to as many as 11 (48-37) at the 18:10 mark of the second half only to see the Trojans whittle away and draw as close as one five times.  Down 73-70, USC guard Daniel Hackett made two free throws (he tried to miss the second) to cut the Oklahoma margin to one.  OU's Cade Davis was fouled with two seconds to go and missed both foul shots.  DeMar Derozan's 60-foot heave at the buzzer was off the mark.
• Blake Griffin scored a team-high 25 points (his sixth game of at least 20 in seven outings) and added six rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.  He was 8-for-12 from the field and 9-for-13 from the free throw line.
• Senior guard Austin Johnson netted a season-high 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting.  He scored 15 of his points in the first half, including 11 of the team's first 14.  Johnson was 3-for-7 from 3-point range (he entered the game 4-for-23 on the year from deep).
• Senior forward Taylor Griffin scored 10 points, grabbed a season-high nine rebounds and rejected a career-high-tying four shots.  He added two assists and went 4-for-5 from the free throw line.
• Five of OU's seven 3-pointers on the night came in the game's first 6:25.
• USC outrebounded Oklahoma by a 34-25 count, marking the first time this year the Sooners got outboarded.  The Trojans outscored OU 15-0 in the first half on second-chance points, but the Sooners held an 11-2 advantage in the second half.
• USC shot .727 (8-for-11) from 3-point range to set an OU opponent record (minimum of 10 attempts).  Iowa State in 2000-01 and Texas A&M in 2005-06 shared the old record of .667.

WHO'S HOT
• Sophomore forward Blake Griffin is averaging 25.6 points and a nation-leading 17.3 rebounds per game (next highest average is 13.0) while shooting .689 from the field.  He adds 2.7 assists (second most on team) and a team-high 2.0 steals a contest.  He has recorded at least 15 boards in all but one game and pulled down at least 18 in five outings (18, 19, 21, 21 and 21).  Griffin has scored at least 20 points in all but one outing (18 against Purdue).  He has netted 24, 20, 25, 35, 32 and 25 points in the other six contests.
• Griffin has already attempted 86 free throws on the season (an average of 12.3 attempts a game).  He is 44-for-64 (.688) over the last five games after going 9-for-22 (.409) over the first two contests.
• After averaging 7.0 points and 4.5 rebounds over OU's first two games, senior forward Taylor Griffin is averaging 13.0 points and 7.4 boards over the last five.  He is 24-for-40 (.600) from the field in those outings.
• Sophomore guard Cade Davis, who averaged 3.7 points per game as a freshman,  has scored at least six points in all six of his outings this year and is averaging 9.2 points a game.   He has made at least one trey in all six contests and at least two in four games. 
• Willie Warren, who has scored at least 17 points in three of the last five games, finished with only five points versus USC.  The freshman guard did record a career-high four steals against the Trojans, though, giving him seven over the last two games.

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Taylor Griffin | Sr. | Forward
 • Ranks third on team in scoring (11.3 ppg) and second in rebounding (6.6 rpg)
 • Averaging 13.0 points and 7.4 rebounds over the last five contests
 • Shooting .596 from the field on the season and leads team with 14 blocked shots (2.0 average)
 • Has registered 68 blocked shots since the start of his sophomore season

   

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
• Oklahoma's 7-0 start is its best since the 2003-04 season when it began 10-0.
• OU has used the same starting lineup in all seven games (Austin Johnson, Willie Warren, Tony Crocker, Taylor Griffin, Blake Griffin).
• The program's No. 6 AP ranking marks its first top-10 standing since Dec. 20, 2005, and its highest AP ranking since Nov. 29, 2005 (was ranked No. 5).  Since the 1989-90 campaign, Oklahoma has been ranked higher in only three seasons (2001-02, 2002-03 and 2005-06).
• Sophomore Blake Griffin and his brother, senior Taylor Griffin, are a combined 90-for-137 (.657) from the field this year.
• Blake Griffin  has accounted for 31 percent of OU's points, 49 percent of its rebounds and 56 percent of its defensive boards.
• OU has made at least six 3-pointers in six of its seven games, but is shooting just .300 from long range on the season.  The worst 3-point shooting season in school history (.326) was the 2006-07 campaign.
• Junior guard Tony Crocker is averaging 6.6 points per game on .284 (16-for-53) field goal and .250 (8-for-32) 3-point shooting.  Last year, he averaged 11.3 points and shot .441 and .424, respectively.
• The Sooners outrebounded five of their first six foes by at least seven rebounds (they were +4 against Gardner-Webb) before getting outboarded 34-25 by USC.
• Blake Griffin has registered at least three assists in 15 of 40 career games (four times this year).  He has at least two assists in 25 career contests (six times this season).
• Guard Cade Davis made all 23 of his free throw attempts last year as a freshman and canned his first three attempts this year before missing against Davidson on Nov. 18.  He went 4-for-6 Thursday against USC and is now 11-for-14 on the year and 34-for-37 (.919) in his career.
• Registering 54 blocked shots over his sophomore and junior seasons combined (the most ever during a two-year period by a Sooner standing under 6-foot-8), Taylor Griffin has a team-high 14 rejections already this year.

PREVIEWING TULSA
• Tulsa, a member of Conference USA, went 25-14 last season and finished in sixth place in the league race with an 8-8 record.  It won the inaugural College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament.
• The Golden Hurricane began this season with a 4-1 record but has lost its last two games (48-44 versus Illinois in the South Padre Classic and 75-63 at Ohio).  It is 3-0 at home, 0-2 in road games and 1-1 in neutral-site play.
• Sunday's game will mark Tulsa's third against a Big 12 team this season.  It lost at Oklahoma State, 91-73, on Nov. 20 and gave Texas A&M its only loss, 67-56, in the South Padre Classic on Nov. 28.
• Tulsa is shooting .451 from the field, .317 from 3-point range and .594 from the free throw line while holding opponents to .371 field goal and .210 3-point figures.  It is outrebounding its foes by almost six boards a game. 
• Junior point guard Ben Uzoh leads Tulsa in scoring (16.1 ppg), assists (4.3 apg) and free throw percentage (.741), and ranks second in rebounding (5.0 rpg), steals (1.4 spg) and 3-pointers (11).  He has scored in double figures in all seven games with a high of 20 points (in each of first two games).
• Junior center Jerome Jordan is averaging 10.4 points and team highs of 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots.  He is shooting a team-high .604 from the field.  His high scoring game of 18 points came against North Carolina Central on Nov. 25.
• Senior guard/forward Ray Reese contributes 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team-high 2.0 steals an outing.  He has scored in double figures in four of the last five games and is coming off a season-high 14-point effort against Ohio.  Reese is shooting a team-high .366 from 3-point distance and leads the squad with 15 treys.
• Sophomore guard Glenn Andrews has come off the bench five times in seven games and averages 7.9 points and 2.9 rebounds on the year.
• Doug Wojcik is in his fourth season as a collegiate head coach, all at Tulsa.  He owns a 60-45 (.571) record.  He served as an assistant coach at Navy, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Michigan State before taking the Tulsa job.  Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel's brother, Jason, played at North Carolina during two of Wojcik's three seasons there (2000-01 and 2001-02). 

OU Fast Fact 
The Sooners' 82.3 points per game marks their highest average through the first seven games of a season since 1996-97 (86.3 ppg).  They have reached the 80-point mark five times.

OKLAHOMA-TULSA SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 27-11 series lead versus Tulsa and is 7-5 against the Golden Hurricane in Tulsa.  OU head coach Jeff Capel is 2-0 against TU.

The Sooners have won in each of the last five seasons versus Tulsa.  They jumped out to a 46-16 halftime lead last year in Norman before settling for an 81-55 victory.  In 2006-07, Oklahoma posted a 58-48 win in the All-College Classic in a defensive battle in Oklahoma City.  Three years ago, OU won 62-53 at Tulsa as Terrell Everett netted a career-high 26 points.  In 2004-05, Oklahoma held on for a 70-64 win in another All-College Classic meeting as Jaison Williams made five 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 21 points.  In the third game of the 2003-04 campaign, OU notched an 81-73 triumph as Williams (16 points) paced five Sooners in double figures. 

LAST YEAR VS. TULSA
Oklahoma was never threatened last year in an 81-55 home win over Tulsa on Dec. 5.  The Sooners shot .545 from the field, .500 (5-for-10) from 3-point range and .727 (16-for-22) from the foul line, and posted a 37-27 rebounding advantage.  OU staked itself to a 46-16 lead by shooting .633 from the floor in the first 20 minutes.  It became just the second team to shoot better than .500 overall against Tulsa since then-third-year head coach Doug Wojcik became Tulsa's mentor.  Tony Crocker, who scored 24 points the previous game at TCU, netted 22 points against the Golden Hurricane on 7-for-10 field goal and 3-for-4 from 3-point shooting.  He added five assists.  Longar Longar registered 16 points for OU, Blake Griffin finished with 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds, and Austin Johnson added 11 points and six boards.  Ben Uzoh paced a Tulsa team that shot .357 from the field with 11 points.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR
Blake Griffin couldn't be off to a better start in terms of turning his Big 12 Preseason-Player-of-the-Year honor into the league's postseason player-of-the-year award.  The sophomore forward was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday for the third time in three weeks to start the season.  Griffin, who is only the second player in conference history to earn the weekly honor three straight times (Texas Tech's Andre Emmett did it during the 2003-04 campaign), averaged 25.0 points, 18.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in wins over UAB and Purdue to help OU claim the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off title.  Similarly, freshman guard Willie Warren was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second straight time after averaging 14.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in OU's two victories.  Warren was the unanimous choice as Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year.

SCORING SURGE
The Sooners have scored with frequency in each of their first seven games.  In fact, they have surpassed the 80-point mark in five contests and netted 77 (versus UAB) and 73 (versus USC) in the others.  OU is averaging 82.3 points per game, its most through a season's first seven outings since the 1996-97 campaign (86.3 ppg).  Last year, it averaged 67.9 points per game on the season.  The Sooners have shot better than .500 from the field in four of seven contests and own a .482 season mark.

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