Sooners host Bears at 4 p.m. Saturday, look for 18th win of the season and fourth in five games.
||Junior forward Amath M'Baye
Tied with Iowa State for fourth place in the Big 12, Oklahoma (17-8, 8-5) plays host to Baylor (16-10, 7-6) on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT. The Sooners, coming off an 86-71 win at Texas Tech on Wednesday and have won three of their last four, are 5-1 in Big 12 home games. The Bears, who suffered an 87-82 home loss on Wednesday, have lost five of their last seven. They are 2-4 in conference road games.
ON THE AIR
Saturday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Sirius 92; XM 190) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be televised nationally by ESPNU with Brad Sham and Bob Valvano calling the action.
• Tickets are available for $10, $30 and $40 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
• OU students may purchase a ticket for $10.
PROMOTIONS AND EVENTS
• Lloyd Noble Center will be striped with free t-shirts for fans (6,000 crimson t-shirts and 6,000 cream).
• Stacey King, OU's No. 5 all-time scorer, will be in attendance and will be recognized in the first half. King's Sooners played in the national championship game 25 years ago.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Oklahoma is 38-10 all-time against Baylor and is 18-4 in Norman. However, two of the Bears' wins at Lloyd Noble Center have come over the last three years.
• The Sooners posted a 74-71 win at Baylor on Jan. 30 despite attempting 20 fewer field goals. OU shot .527 from the field (third highest mark of season) and held the Bears to a .373 mark. Amath M'Baye and Steven Pledger each scored a then-season-high 20 points.
• The Sooners have played 14 games away from home and just 11 in Norman. The 11 home games are tied for the fewest among the 75 teams in the six "power" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC). Six Big 12 teams have played at least 15 home games.
• Senior forward Romero Osby has led (or tied for the lead) the team in scoring in nine of its 13 Big 12 games and has scored in double figures in all but one. He is averaging 15.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in conference play to rank sixth and fourth in the league, respectively. Osby also ranks sixth with his .507 field goal percentage in Big 12 play. He is averaging 17.3 points on .569 shooting in OU's six conference home games.
• Reserve point guard Sam Grooms has recorded his two highest scoring totals of the season in the last two outings. The senior scored a season-high 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting in Saturday's overtime loss at Oklahoma State and responded with 12 points in Wednesday's win at Texas Tech (for an average of 15.0 points). He also had nine assists and just two turnovers in an average of 32.5 minutes in the two games. Entering the Oklahoma State game, Grooms was averaging 2.5 points in 16.3 minutes a contest on the year.
| Sooner to Watch
Steven Pledger | Sr. | Guard
• Was 6-for-12 for 20 points with a season-high five assists in OU's Jan. 30 win over Baylor
• Averaging 20.0 points on 9-for-19 3-point shooting over the last two contests
• Scored a season-high 22 points and made a season-high six treys Wednesday at Texas Tech
• Ranks second on the team with 11.3 points in a team-high 27.6 minutes per game on the year
• After starting 5-1 in Big 12 play, Baylor is 2-5 since and has lost its last two contests. The Bears are 2-4 in conference road games with wins at Texas Tech and TCU. They are coming off an 87-82 home loss to Iowa State on Wednesday in which the Cyclones hit 11 3-pointers and shot .542 from the field.
• In Big 12 play, Baylor leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.275), ranks second in field goal percentage defense (.399) and blocked shots (4.5 bpg), and third in scoring offense (70.5 ppg), scoring margin (+6.2 per game) and assists (14.2 apg).
• Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Pierre Jackson leads the league with his 18.9 points season scoring average. He also leads the Big 12 in assists (6.4) and ranks second in 3-pointers per game (2.5), fourth in steals (1.6) and ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (.360). The senior guard scored in double figures in 31 straight games prior to being held to seven points two games ago at Kansas State. He has netted at least 20 points 10 times this season. Jackson is averaging 19.7 points in three career games against Oklahoma.
• Center Isaiah Austin ranks third among Big 12 freshmen and 10th overall with his 13.4 points per game and leads all league rookies with his 9.2 rebounds per contest (ranks second overall). He also ranks 11th in the league with his .468 field goal mark. In six games since scoring 19 points against OU in Waco, Austin is averaging 9.2 points on .344 field goal shooting (21-for-61). A McDonald's All-American last year (high school teammate of OU's Je'lon Hornbeak), Austin has nine double-doubles to rank third in the Big 12.
• Junior forward Corey Jefferson averages 12.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and a team-high 2.0 blocks per game while shooting a team-best .586 from the field. He has nine double-doubles on the year, including a 15-point, 10-board effort Wednesday versus Iowa State.
• Scott Drew is in his 10th year as Baylor's head coach and owns a 171-134 (.561) record at the school.
OU-BAYLOR SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 38-10 series advantage against Baylor and has won 33 of the last 38 meetings (including a streak of 30 straight wins that was snapped three years ago). The Sooners possess an 18-4 series lead in games played in Norman. OU is 29-5 against the Bears since the inception of the Big 12 Conference (14-2 at Lloyd Noble Center).
JAN. 30 VS. THE BEARS
• Oklahoma was outrebounded 47-34 and surrendered 20 more field goal attempts but still managed a 74-71 road win over second-place Baylor on Jan. 30. The Sooners, whose only deficit was 4-2, led by 16 with 13:25 remaining and by 11 (67-56) with 2:40 to go before having to hang on. The Bears missed two shots on their final possession, one at the buzzer.
• OU shot .527 from the field for its second-best performance of the season and the highest by a Baylor opponent on the year. It held Baylor to a .373 mark. The Sooners made one more field goal despite attempting 20 fewer shots.
• Junior Amath M'Baye and senior Steven Pledger scored then-season highs of 20 points each. M'Baye made a season-high nine shots on 12 attempts and added seven rebounds and a season-high four blocks. Pledger was 6-for-12 from the floor and added a season-high five assists to go along with two steals. His three 3-pointers were his most in seven games. His two free throws with eight seconds left marked the game's final points after Baylor cut OU's lead to one.
• Baylor grabbed 24 offensive rebounds to OU's five and outscored the Sooners 24-6 in second-chance points. OU committed just five turnovers in the first half (led to five BU points) but committed 11 after halftime (led to 15 points).
OU TEAM UPDATE
• As of Thursday, Oklahoma is ranked 18th out of 347 Division I teams in the CBSSports.com RPI (second best in Big 12 behind No. 6 Kansas), with a strength of schedule ranked No. 5 (best in Big 12). OU was projected on Monday by CBSSports.com and USA Today as a No. 7 NCAA Tournament seed.
• The Sooners own a .436 season field goal percentage but are shooting .503 over the last three games. They've held opponents to a .387 mark during the stretch.
• Oklahoma is 9-2 at home this year with its two defeats coming by a total of three points (56-55 to Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 18 and 52-50 to Kansas State on Feb. 2). SFA is 22-3 on the year while K-State is 21-5.
• With 17 wins, OU has already surpassed its victory total from each of the last three years. The Sooners won 13 games in 2009-10, 14 in 2010-11 and 15 last season. OU's eight Big 12 wins are also its most since 2009 (won four in 2010 and five each of the last two years).
• The seven teams who have beaten OU this year have combined for an average overall record of 21-5 on the season and four are ranked in the top 15 of this week's AP poll. The Sooners have lost by one, two and three points, and once in overtime. Two of the defeats against non-ranked teams came by a combined four points. OU lost by three at Arkansas (led with 15 seconds remaining) and by one to Stephen F. Austin (the Lumberjacks are 22-3 and lead the nation in scoring defense).
• Oklahoma is 8-4 this year in games decided by seven points or fewer. Last year the Sooners finished 4-5 under the circumstance.
• Oklahoma has already won more games away from home this year (8-6 record) than it did over the last two seasons combined (6-25 record). Its eight wins away from home are tied with Kansas for the most by a Big 12 team. OU is 5-5 in true road games this season (went 1-9 each of the last two years).
• The Sooners have shot better from the field than their opponent in 10 of 13 conference games. Oklahoma is shooting .452 in Big 12 play (ranks second) while holding opponents to a combined .407 mark (OU ranks fourth in field goal percentage defense).
• OU ranks second in the Big 12 with its .735 season free throw shooting mark and owns the league's top three free throw performances of the year (1.000 vs. TCU, .947 vs. Texas A&M and .938 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi). It is shooting .789 over the last four outings.
• In their six Big 12 home games, the Sooners are shooting .831 from the free throw line and outscoring their opponents by 6.3 points a game there. In six league road games, they are shooting .643 and are being outscored by an average of 4.1 points at the stripe.
• In Big 12 play, opponents have made 89 3-pointers to the Sooners' 58. That's a difference of 93 points, or 7.1 per game. In seven conference road games, opponents have made 57 treys to OU's 32 (a difference of 10.7 points per game).
• In conference wins, Romero Osby and Amath M'Baye are averaging a combined 30.4 points and shooting .574 from the field. In conference losses, they are averaging a combined 21.2 points and are shooting .363.
• Oklahoma's bench has outscored opponent reserves by 145 points this season, or 5.8 a game. The OU bench has outscored its counterpart in each of the last seven games and in 10 of 13 conference outings. Three starters from last year (Cameron Clark, Andrew Fitzgerald and Sam Grooms) have come off the bench in all but two of their combined 74 games this season.
The Sooners go back on the road when they plat at Texas at 8 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN2.