OU Closes Non-League Slate Monday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

 No. 4/4 Oklahoma (13-1) vs. Maryland Eastern Shore (1-8) 
 Date & Tip Time

 Monday, Jan. 5 at 7:07 p.m. CST

 Location  Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center 
 Tickets  OU Athletics Ticket Office
 TV

 Sooner Sports Network 
 FS Oklahoma across the state

 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City
 KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa
 Series History  First meeting
 Live Stats  SoonerSports.com/GameTracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

PREVIEWING MONDAY'S GAME
Playing its final regular season non-conference game, No. 4/4 Oklahoma (13-1) hosts Maryland Eastern Shore (1-8) on Monday at 7 p.m. CST at Lloyd Noble Center.  The Sooners, who are 8-0 at home and have won those contests by an average of 19.3 points, have won 69 of their last 71 home non-conference games.  Maryland Eastern Shore is 0-7 on the road and is coming off an 88-56 loss at Nebraska on Saturday.  Monday's game will be televised by the Sooner Sports Network (FS Oklahoma across the state; ESPN Full Court) with Bob Carpenter and Charlie Spoonhour announcing.  It will air on the Sooner Radio Network (flagship KOKC AM 1520 in OKC; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa; Sirius 122) with Bob Barry, Sr. and Mike Houck calling the action.

TICKET INFORMATION
Reserved seats are available at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online at SooonerSports.com.  Lloyd Noble Center ticket windows will open at 5 p.m. on Monday.

 Maryland Eastern Shore's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
1
 Keishawn Mayes
6-7
235
Fr.
 10.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 36.8 3FG%
F
34
 Neal Pitt
6-6
230
Jr.
 16.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 68 FTA's
C
32
 Tyler Hines
6-6
230
Fr.
 5.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 58.6 FG%
G
3
 Marc Davis
5-10
175
So.
 5.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.7 apg
G
25
 Jamie Boyer
6-1
175
Fr.
 1.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg

 Oklahoma's Projected Starters
Pos.
No.
 Name
Ht.
Wt.
Year
 2008-09 Stats
F
23
 Blake Griffin
6-10
251
So.
 22.2 ppg, 13.9 rpg, 66.3 FG%
F
32
 Taylor Griffin
6-7
238
Sr.
 9.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 51.2 FG%
G
5
 Tony Crocker
6-6
206
Jr.
 10.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 35.4 3FG%
G
13
 Willie Warren
6-4
207
Fr.
 16.3 ppg, 3.0 apg, 50.6 FG%
G
20
 Austin Johnson
6-3
176
Sr.
 6.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.3 apg 

"NOTE"WORTHY
• Monday's game will mark the first ever meeting between Oklahoma and Maryland Eastern Shore in men's basketball.
• With a win over Maryland Eastern Shore, OU will post its best regular season non-conference record (14-1) since going 15-1 in 1987-88.  The 1987-88 squad advanced to the national championship game.
• The Sooners have won 69 of their last 71 home non-conference games dating back to the 1999-2000 season.  The two losses during the span came to Villanova in 2006-07 and Stephen F. Austin last year.
• OU has won 12 straight home games and is 34-7 under head coach Jeff Capel at Lloyd Noble Center.
• Oklahoma ranks fourth in the country with its 29.3 free throw attempts per game (Xavier leads with 31.5 per contest).
Tony Crocker and Willie Warren have combined for 31 treys over the last four games.  Crocker is 16-for-35 (.457) during the stretch while Warren is 15-for-27 (.556).  Prior to the four-game span, each owned a .273 season 3-point figure (12-for-44).
• Warren has scored 80 points over the last three games (31, 35 and 14), the most over a three-game span by an OU true freshman since Wayman Tisdale 26 years ago (1982-83).
Blake Griffin, who leads the country in rebounding (13.9 rpg) and paces the Big 12 in scoring (22.2 ppg) and field goal percentage (.663), also averages 2.5 assists per contest (the most by any player in the Big 12 taller than 6-5).  The 6-10 sophomore forward has registered at least two assists in 11 of 14 games and at least three assists in seven outings.
• Griffin also leads the country with 150 free throw attempts on the season (an average of 10.7 a game).  He is 84-for-128 (.645) over the last 12 games after going 9-for-22 (.409) over the first two contests.  Last year, Griffin shot .589 from the line.
• Despite a modest .668 team free throw percentage, the Sooners have made nine more foul shots than their opponents have attempted.  OU is 274-for-410 from the stripe while foes are 180-for-265.  That's an average of 10.4 more attempts per game than the opposition.  Griffin has attempted 37 percent of the team's free throws (150 of its 410).

 
 Sooner to Watch 

 Tony Crocker | Jr. | Guard
 • Has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games (averaging 14.1 points in those seven) 
 • Has made 10 3-pointers over the last game and a half
 • Shooting .457 from 3-point range (16-for-35) over the last four outings
 • Has scored at least 20 points in two of the last four contests (career-high 26 and 20)

   

SATURDAY'S COPPIN STATE RECAP
Tony Crocker's 20 points paced five Sooners in double figures in a 93-62 home win over Coppin State on Saturday.  Crocker was 5-for-11 from 3-point range and reached 20 points for the seventh time in his career.  It was his second highest output this season.
• The Sooners' 93 points were their second most of the year (scored 94 against Mississippi Valley State).
• OU drained 13 3-pointers for the second game in a row.  It had not made 13 treys in a game since the second game of last season.
Blake Griffin registered 14 points and 12 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the year.  He made all four of his free throw attempts and added a pair of assists.
Willie Warren also netted 14 points and tied a career high with seven assists (against just one turnover).
• Senior Omar Leary drained three 3-pointers on four attempts and scored a season-high 11 points while freshman Ray Willis registered 10 points and a career-high six rebounds.  It marked the first time two Sooners reached double figures off the bench since last season's Arkansas game (Dec. 15, 2007).
Taylor Griffin added eight points and a season-high 10 rebounds (nine defensive).
• Oklahoma's 48 rebounds were a season high and its +19 rebounding advantage was its largest of the year.
• The Sooners improved to 13-0 against Coppin State with each game being decided by double figures.
• The game marked the 200th in the head coaching career of OU's Jeff Capel.

WHO'S HOT
• A strong candidate for national-player-of-the-year honors, sophomore forward Blake Griffin has scored at least 18 points in 12 of 14 games this season, has netted at least 20 on nine occasions and surpassed 30 points twice.  The 6-10, 251-pounder has registered 11 double-doubles (last year he had 10) and has led OU in rebounding 12 times.  Griffin now leads the Big 12 in scoring (22.2 ppg), rebounding (13.9 rpg) and field goal percentage (.663).  For perspective, Big 12 players who rank second in the respective categories are Texas' A.J. Abrams (19.0 ppg), Oklahoma State's Obi Muonelo (9.7 rpg) and Kansas' Cole Aldrich (.624).  Griffin also ranks sixth in the Big 12 with his 1.3 blocked shots per game.  Seven of his 18 rejections have come in the last three games.
• Freshman guard Willie Warren, who has scored in double figures in 11 of 14 outings, is averaging 19.1 points and 3.9 assists over the last seven games while shooting .573 (47-for-82) from the field and .500 (19-for-38) from 3-point territory.  His .507 season field goal percentage is tops among the team's guards and fourth among Big 12 backcourt players.
• Over the last three games, Warren is averaging 26.7 points and 4.7 assists while shooting .600 (27-for-45) from the field and .542 (13-for-24) from 3-point range.
• After scoring in double figures once in OU's first seven games, sophomore guard Tony Crocker has done it in six of the last seven.  He is averaging 14.1 points over the seven outings and is shooting .426 from 3-point range (20-for-47).  By comparison, Crocker averaged 6.6 points and shot .250 from 3-point territory over OU's first seven games this year.
• Even though his scoring average has dropped over the last four games (7.3 ppg during the stretch), senior forward Taylor Griffin has seen his rebounding numbers increase during the span (8.0 rpg).

OU Fast Fact 
Over the last four games, the Sooners are shooting .418 from 3-point range and averaging 10.3 treys.  Over the first 10 games this season, they shot .311 from behind the arc and averaged 6.4 treys.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
• Oklahoma has used the same starting lineup in all 14 games (Austin Johnson, Willie Warren, Tony Crocker, Taylor Griffin, Blake Griffin).
• Despite its .418 3-point field goal mark over the last four games, Oklahoma ranks 11th in the Big 12 Conference with its .345 season percentage.
• OU has made at least one 3-pointer in 398 straight games (last one without a trey was at Memphis on Dec. 23, 1996).
• Freshman guard Willie Warren is shooting .507 from the field on the season.  The last OU guard to shoot at least .500 from the field for an entire campaign was Nolan Johnson (.559) in 1999-00.
• Brothers Blake and Taylor Griffin are a combined 151-for-247 (.611) from the field this year.
• Blake Griffin has accounted for 28 percent of Oklahoma's points on the season, 38 percent of its rebounds and 43 percent of its defensive boards.
• Blake Griffin has registered at least three assists in 18 of 47 career games (seven times this year).  He has recorded at least two assists 30 times in his career (11 times this season).
• 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 17 blocks already this year.
• Forty percent of Taylor Griffin's rebounds this year (38 of his 96) have come on the offensive end of the floor.
Cade Davis made all 23 of his free throw attempts last year as a freshman and canned his first three attempts this year before finally missing against Davidson on Nov. 18.  He is now 34-for-38 (.895) in his career but has not attempted a free throw over the last six outings.
• OU will play 21 of its 31 regular season games against teams that made the 2008 postseason (15 against NCAA Tournament teams, four against NIT squads and two against College Basketball Invitational teams).  As of Sunday, the Sooners are ranked No. 7 nationally by CollegeRPI.com.

NOTING OU'S 30-POINT PERFORMANCES
• Sophomore Blake Griffin and freshman Willie Warren have each posted back-to-back 30-point performances this season.  Griffin netted a career-high 35 points against Gardner-Webb Nov. 22 before scoring 32 four days later against UAB.  Warren went for 31 at Rice on Dec. 22 before pouring in a career-high 35 on Tuesday at Arkansas.
• The last time two Sooners each had back-to-back games of at least 30 points in the same season was in 1993-94 when senior forward Jeff Webster and junior guard/forward Calvin Curry did it.
• The last OU player to register two 30-point games his true freshman season was Tim McCalister in 1983-84.
Wayman Tisdale holds the school record for most 30-point games by a freshman (nine in 1982-83).
• The last OU true freshman to register three 30-point games was Tisdale.

PREVIEWING MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE
• Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member Maryland Eastern Shore, located in Princess Anne, Md., comes to Norman with a 1-8 record and a 0-7 road mark.  Since picking up its lone win against New Jersey Institute of Technology (46-42 on Dec. 6), UMES has lost three straight.  It is getting outscored by 14.7 points per game but outrebounds its opponents by a 0.7 margin per contest.
• The Hawks, who finished 4-28 last season, are coming off an 88-56 loss at Nebraska on Saturday -- their worst of the season.  They are averaging just 51.0 points per game while shooting .338 from the field, .248 from 3-point distance and .627 from the free throw line.  They are allowing opponents to shoot .431 overall and .335 from long distance.
• Junior forward Neal Pitt accounts for 31 percent of the Hawks' scoring and 38 percent of their free throw attempts.  Pitts, who has scored in double figures in all but one game, is averaging 16.1 points and 7.3 rebounds while shootinng .423 from the field and .676 from the foul line.  He is averaging 19.0 points and 6.0 boards over the last three outings.
• Freshman forward Keishawn Mayes is the only other player averaging in double figures.  Mayes contributes 10.7 points and a team-high 7.6 boards per game.  He has scored in double figures in seven of nine contests.
• Freshman guard Chris Conner ranks third on the squad with his 6.6 points per game and has made a team-leading 11 treys on 45 attempts (.244).  He is averaging 9.0 points over the last three games.
Frankie Allen is in his first year at Maryland Eastern Shore.  He's in his 19th year as a collegiate head coach and owns a 224-302 (.426) record.  Allen has also served as head coach at Virginia Tech, Tennessee State and Howard.  A 1971 graduate of Roanoke College, he remains the all-time leading scorer (2,780) and rebounder (1,758) at any collegiate level in the state of Virginia.

BIG 12 ON THE HORIZON
The Big 12's 13th season of league play will commence for Oklahoma on Saturday when the Sooners play at Kansas State at 12:30 p.m. CST (regionally televised by the Big 12 Network).  OU will have a quick turnaround before its second conference game of the year, an ESPN Big Monday home contest against Texas on Jan. 12 (8 p.m.).  The Sooners were picked No. 1 in the Big 12 preseason poll while Texas was picked No. 2.  Kansas State was slotted at No. 8.  OU finished in the top three of the league race eight times in the league's first 12 years.

MORE BLAKE
Blake Griffin scored at least 18 points in each of the season's first nine games, marking OU's longest such streak since guard Corey Brewer netted at least 18 in 15 consecutive outings during the 1997-98 season.  Griffin's lone games under 18 points this year were an 11-point performance against Utah when he played a season-low 23 minutes (attempted only three field goals) and Saturday's 14-point effort against Coppin State.  He registered double-doubles in both contests.
• Lost in Griffin's gaudy scoring and rebounding statistics are some pretty impressive assist numbers.  The forward ranks third on the team with 2.5 assists per game this season and has registered at least one handout in all 14 outings.  Last season, Griffin became the first Sooner standing 6-foot-10 or taller to ever dish at least three assists in a game 11 times.  He has recorded at least three assists seven times already this year.
• Griffin (13.9 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 a nation-leading 10.7 free throw attempts a game, a figure that would break Stacey King's 1988-89 school record of 8.9 foul shots per outing.
• Griffin has three games of at least 20 rebounds this season.  No other player in the country has more than one.
• Griffin has 38 dunks on the season, good for an average of 2.7 per game.
• Griffin owns the best vertical leap (no step) on the team at 37.5 inches, as well as the best max leap (no limit on steps) by reaching 27 inches above the rim.  He also owns an 84.5-inch wingspan (seven feet and one-half inch).

UNDERRATED AUSTIN
A Sooner who tends to get lost among OU's higher-profile players is senior point guard Austin Johnson.  The 6-3, 176-pounder ranks just fifth on the team with his 6.8 points per outing but ranks among the Big 12's leaders in several other categories.  Johnson ranks second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.0-to-1), seventh in assists (4.3), 11th in steals (1.8) and just outside the top 10 in blocked shots (0.9).  He is also shooting .800 from the free throw line (16-for-20).

DEFENSE, DEFENSE
• OU has held its last seven opponents to a combined .366 field goal mark.  Five teams in those seven games (Tulsa, Maine, Utah, Rice and Coppin State) shot below .360.
• Since USC went 8-for-11 from 3-point range on Dec. 4, OU's last six foes are a combined 40-for-128 (.313) from long distance.
• OU ranks fourth in the Big 12 in blocks per game (4.2), fifth in field goal percentage defense (.387) and fifth in steals (8.4).  Blake (1.3) and Taylor Griffin (1.2) rank sixth and seventh in blocked shots.

RELATED