||Junior forward Amath M'Baye
Oklahoma plays a second-round game in the eight-team Old Spice Classic
on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT when it faces No. 17/16 Gonzaga in Orlando, Fla. The
3-0 Sooners are coming off a 68-61 first-round win over UTEP on Thursday while
the 4-0 Bulldogs downed Clemson, 57-49.
ON THE AIR
Friday's contest, the second of three over a four-day span for OU in Orlando,
will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430
AM in Tulsa) with Ed Murray and Mike Houck announcing. The game
will be televised by ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla
calling the action.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
The Sooners have exhibited a balanced offensive attack through three
games, with six players averaging between 7.3 and 12.0 points per contest. Ten
players average between 13.3 and 24.7 minutes per game.
After averaging a +3.3 rebounding margin last season (its best mark in three
years), OU has outboarded its three foes by an average of 11.7 this season.
It was +19 against ULM, +10 at UT Arlington and +6 versus UTEP.
The Sooners have held their first three opponents to combined shooting percentages
of .377 from the field and .227 from 3-point range (10-for-44).
OU owns a 1-1 record against Gonzaga, with a 72-68 win in Oklahoma City during
the 2007-08 season and an 83-69 loss in Spokane in 2009-10.
Friday's game marks the third of five straight Sooner contests away from Norman.
Seven of OU's first nine games are away from home.
THURSDAY'S UTEP RECAP
Oklahoma advanced to the semifinals of the Old Spice Classic with a 68-61
win over UTEP on Thursday. The Sooners scored the game's first 15 points and
kept the Miners off the scoreboard for the first 5:13. Lon Kruger's team never
OU shot .548 from the field in the first half but struggled to a .276 mark
after halftime. The Sooners took a 20-point lead (52-32) with 14:37 left in
the game and still led 58-40 with 8:48 remaining before the Miners issued a
20-6 run to draw within four (64-60)with 1:44 on the clock. Steven Pledger's
3-pointer with 1:03 to go put OU back up by seven and the Sooners held on.
UTEP entered the game having committed 17 fewer turnovers than its opponents
in its first two games, but committed 17 to OU's 11. The Sooners held a 22-12
advantage in points off turnovers.
OU's 11 fast break points (all in the first half) were its most of the season.
UTEP totaled just two.
Senior forward Romero Osby finished with game highs of 16 points, 10
rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. He was 6-for-10 from the field and 4-for-4
from the free throw line in 30 minutes. His 4 assists tied a career high.
Senior guard Steven Pledger joined Osby in double figures with 12 points.
He was 3-for-6 from 3-point range and has made at least three treys in all three
outings this year.
| Sooner to Watch
Romero Osby | Sr. | Forward
Had game highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds
vs. UTEP on Thursday
Added a career-high-tying 4 assists in opening-round
win of Old Spice Classic
Double-double was his second straight, after
recording 10 points and 10 rebounds at UTA
Averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds
per game (ranks 4th in Big 12)
After being outscored by 261 points from 3-point range last season (average
of 8.4 points per game), the Sooners are outscoring their opponents by 10.0
points per contest from behind the arc this season. OU has 20 3-point makes
while holding foes to 10 treys.
Oklahoma is averaging 15.3 offensive rebounds to its opponents' 7.7, and has
registered a 38-20 advantage in second-chance points.
OU leads the Big 12 with its .805 defensive rebounding percentage. Opponents
have grabbed just 23 offensive rebounds on 112 missed shots (one every five
Despite the fact that OU has registered only eight fewer turnovers (41) than
its opponents (49), it owns a 60-36 advantage in points off turnovers.
Trailing near the midway point of the first half in each of its first two
games, OU used a 26-5 run against ULM in the season opener and a 22-1 run at
UT Arlington to take double-digit halftime leads. The Sooners broke the slow
start trend by scoring the game's first 15 points Thursday against UTEP.
The Sooners' bench has been key, supplying 89 of the team's 216 points (41
percent) through three games. Three starters from last year (Cameron Clark,
Andrew Fitzgerald and Sam Grooms have come off the bench the first
Senior guard Steven Pledger leads the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and
paces the Big 12 with his 3.3 3-pointers per game (shooting .455 to rank third
in league). The league's leading returning scorer from last season (16.2 ppg),
he hit clutch 3-pointers in the waning moments of OU's wins the last two contests.
Pledger continues to climb OU's career charts in scoring and 3-pointers. He
ranks 33rd in school history with 1,058 points and fifth in 3-pointers (188).
Senior forward Romero Osby has posted double-doubles in each of the
last two games (averaging 13.0 points and 10.0 rebounds). On the season, he
is averaging 11.7 points and team highs of 9.0 boards and 2.0 blocks (ranks
fourth in Big 12 in both), while shooting .481 from the field (ranks second
among team's regulars). The transfer who played his first two seasons at Mississippi
State is the Big 12's leading returning rebounder (averaged 7.8 last year).
Freshman guard Buddy Hield ranks third on the team in scoring with
his 11.0 average in 23.0 minutes per game off the bench. The Freeport, Bahamas,
native is shooting a team-best .500 from the field (12-for-24) and has knocked
down 4 treys on 11 attempts (.364). Hield was the catalyst during a 22-1 OU
run at UT Arlington on Nov. 16, scoring 16 points during the stretch to help
turn a 19-11 deficit into a 33-20 lead. He scored 17 points at UTA (all in the
first half), representing the most by a Sooner in a game this season.
Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Amath M'Baye averages 9.0 points
and 7.3 rebounds (ranks 10th in Big 12) while shooting .458 from the floor (11-for-24).
His 3.0 offensive rebounds per outing lead the team and rank seventh in the
Freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak has contributed across the board in
OU's first three games, averaging 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and
a team-high 2.0 steals (ranks eighth in Big 12) in a team-high-tying 24.7 minutes
per game. A starter in all three contests, he is also tied for the team lead
with 10 free throw attempts.
A starter every game the last two years, senior forward Andrew Fitzgerald
has come off the bench each of the first three games to produce 8.3 points and
4.3 rebounds in an average of 18.7 minutes a game. He needs just 72 points to
join OU's 38-member 1,000-point club.
Ranked 17th in the AP poll and 16th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' version,
Gonzaga enters Friday's game with a 4-0 record after beating Clemson 57-49 on
Thursday. The Bulldogs trailed 24-23 at halftime but outshot the Tigers 70.0
percent to 27.6 after intermission. Gonzaga posted a 37-33 rebounding advantage.
The Bulldogs boast six players who average at least 9.8 points through four
games. Senior forward Elias Harris leads the squad with his 13.0 points
and 10.3 rebounds per game. He is followed by 7-1, 305-pound freshman center
Przemek Karnowski (12.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .733 FG%), junior forward/center
Sam Dower (11.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg), sophomore guard Gary Bell Jr. (10.8
ppg, 2.3 apg), sophomore guard Kevin Pangos (10.5 ppg, 4.0 apg, .412
3FG%) and senior forward Guy Landry Edi (9.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Seven-foot,
238-pound junior forward Kelly Olynyk made his season debut Thursday
and had 13 points and 3 rebounds in 24 minutes. Sophomore guard David Stockton
(son of all-time NBA assists leader John Stockton) averages 5.5 points and a
team-high 5.0 assists per game.
Gonzaga is shooting .533 from the field, .397 from 3-point range (6.3 treys
per game) and .552 from the free throw line. It is holding opponents to .352
field goal and .247 3-point shooting marks (5.8 treys per contest).
Mark Few is in his 14th season as a collegiate head coach, all at Gonzaga.
The 1987 Oregon graduate owns a 346-90 record (.794) and is the NCAA's second
winningest active coach by percentage behind North Carolina's Roy Williams
Oklahoma and Gonzaga have met two times, with each program posting a victory.
The Sooners won a 72-68 decision on Dec. 20, 2007, in Oklahoma City as part
of the All-College Classic. Three seasons ago (Dec. 31, 2009), Gonzaga posted
an 83-69 win at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Current Sooners Andrew Fitzgerald
(13 points, 5 rebounds in 21 minutes) and Steven Pledger (5 points in 12 minutes)
played in the contest, as did current Bulldogs Elias Harris (15 points, 9 rebounds
in 26 minutes) and Kelly Olynyk (2 points, 3 rebounds in 10 minutes).
OU'S POTENTIAL SUNDAY MATCHUPS
Oklahoma will play either Davidson or West Virginia in Sunday's final round
of the seventh annual Old Spice Classic. If OU beats Gonzaga, it will play the
Davidson-West Virginia winner in the championship game at 6 p.m. CT (ESPN2).
The losers of the two semifinals games will face each other Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
CT (ESPNU). Davidson, which finished 25-8 last season, is 2-2 this year after
beating Vanderbilt on Thursday, 75-62. West Virginia, owner of a 19-14 record
last year, is 1-1 after handling Marist in the first round, 87-44. All games
are being played at the 5,500-seat HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports
Complex. Previous winners of the Old Spice Classic include Arkansas in 2006,
North Carolina State in 2007, Gonzaga in 2008, Florida State in 2009, Notre
Dame in 2010 and Dayton last season.