Sooners and new Big 12 member Mountaineers to play non-conference contest in Old Spice Classic.
||Freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak
Oklahoma plays for third place in the eight-team Old Spice Classic
on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. CT when it faces new Big 12 member West Virginia in Orlando,
Fla. It is the first meeting of the season between Big 12 schools. The 3-1 Sooners
beat UTEP (68-61) on Thursday before losing to No. 17/16 Gonzaga (72-47) on
Friday. The 1-2 Mountaineers beat Marist (87-44) on Thursday before losing to
Davidson (63-60) on Friday.
ON THE AIR
Sunday's contest, the third over a four-day span for both teams 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 ESPNU with Jon Sciambi and Fran Fraschilla
calling the action.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
Sunday's contest against West Virginia will mark just the second
time in Big 12 Conference history for two league squads to meet in a regular
season non-conference contest. Texas beat Nebraska in a November 1996 game in
Austin (83-81 in overtime), during the first year of the conference.
Oklahoma freshman Isaiah Cousins and West Virginia sophomore Jabarie
Hinds teamed at Mount Vernon (N.Y.) High School to win a state title two
seasons ago. Cousins led his squad to another title last year.
OU owns a 1-1 record against West Virginia, with an 88-82 double-overtime
win in Charleston, W. Va., on Dec. 29, 2007, and 92-68 loss in Oklahoma City
on Dec. 22, 2005, in the All-College Classic.
The Sooners have exhibited a balanced offensive attack through four games,
with five players averaging between 7.3 and 12.0 points per contest. Nine players
average between 14.8 and 24.5 minutes per game.
Sunday's game marks the fourth of five straight Sooner contests away from
Norman. Seven of OU's first nine games are away from home.
PREVIEWING WEST VIRGINIA
In its first year as a member of the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia enters
Sunday's third-place game with a 1-2 overall record. It started the season with
an 84-50 loss at Gonzaga and split its two games this week in Orlando - an 87-44
win over Marist on Thursday and a 63-60 loss to Davidson on Friday
The Mountaineers are shooting .410 from the field, .250 (12-for-48) from 3-point
range and .625 from the free throw line. They are allowing opponents to shoot
.424 from the field and .423 (22-for-52) from behind the 3-point line. WVU is
outrebounding its foes by 5.7 a contest and has 35 steals to its opponents'
Junior center Aaric Murray is averaging a team-high 10.0 points per
game as well as 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 20.7 minutes per outing. The
La Salle transfer is shooting .619 from the field. Eight of his 17 rebounds
have been offensive. Sophomore guard Jabarie Hinds, a high school teammate
of OU's Isaiah Cousins, is averaging 9.3 points per game on .500 shooting.
Fellow sophomore guard Gary Brown has come off the bench to supply 8.0
points in 19.0 minutes an outing. Senior forward Denis Kilicli averages
7.0 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game.
The Mountaineers are under the direction of sixth-year head coach Bob Huggins,
who owns a 121-58 record at West Virginia. The 1977 WVU graduate is in his 31st
season overall and owns a 711-269 career record.
| Sooner to Watch
Isaiah Cousins | Fr. | Guard
Averaging 7.5 points and team-high 2.5
assists in Old Spice Classic
Has made 4 3-pointers on 9 attempts over the
last two games (.444)
Scored a career-high 10 points vs. Gonzaga on
Played with West Virginia sophomore guard Jabarie
Hinds in high school
OU-WEST VIRGINIA HISTORY
Oklahoma and West Virginia have met two times, with each program posting a victory.
The Sooners won an 88-82 double-overtime affair in the most recent meeting on
Dec. 29, 2007, in Charleston, W. Va., under head coach Jeff Capel. OU's
win was its first against a ranked team (the Mountaineers were No. 23) in a
road game since the 2000-01 season. Longar Longar scored all of his game-high
22 points after halftime, and Blake Griffin registered 18 points and
16 rebounds before fouling out in overtime. David Godbold played all 50 minutes
and finished with 18 points, while Austin Johnson played 48 minutes and
contributed 13 points and nine assists. Tony Crocker's 3-pointer with
6.6 seconds left in overtime forced a second extra session.
The first meeting occurred on Dec. 21, 2005, in Oklahoma City as part of the
All-College Classic and resulted in a 92-68 West Virginia victory. Taj Gray
scored a game-high 31 points and pulled down 8 rebounds for Kelvin Sampson's
Sooners, but the Mountaineers shot a sizzling .667 from the field and committed
just 6 turnovers in a near flawless offensive performance. Kevin Pittsnogle
led four West Virginia players in double figures with 25 points, while Johannes
Herber netted 21.
FRIDAY'S GONZAGA RECAP
Oklahoma sustained its first loss of the season, falling 72-47 to No. 17/16
Gonzaga in the semifinals of the Old Spice Classic.
OU was held to .320 field goal shooting while allowing Gonzaga to post a .458
The Sooners trailed by just four points (25-21) with 2:30 remaining in the
first half, but Gonzaga ended the half on a 7-1 run and started the second with
an 11-3 spurt to take an 18-point lead (43-25).
OU entered the game outrebounding its opponents by an average of 11.7 boards
per game, but was outrebounded 51-24 by the Bulldogs. The Sooners were averaging
15.3 offensive rebounds per outing entering the contest but managed just five
on the night despite missing 34 field goal attempts.
Senior forward Romero Osby led the team in scoring for the second straight
game with 13 points. He was 3-for-6 from the field and 7-for-8 from the free
throw line while also pulling down a team-high-tying 5 rebounds.
Freshman point guard Isaiah Cousins reached double figures in scoring
for the first time, netting 10 points with the help of 3-for-5 3-point shooting.
He entered the game averaging 2.3 points in OU's first three outings.
Gonzaga senior forward Elias Harris was the only Bulldog who scored
in double figures. He netted 14 of his 18 points in the second half when he
went 6-for-9 from the field. He attempted one shot in the first half.
For the first time this season, OU's bench was outscored (27-12).
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
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.
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 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.
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.
MORE OLD SPICE CLASSIC NOTES
Senior forward Romero Osby is averaging team highs of 14.5 points and
7.5 rebounds in OU's two Old Spice Classic games (29.0 minutes per contest),
and is shooting .563 (9-for-16) from the field and .917 (11-for-12) from the
free throw line. He also has 4 assists and 2 blocks.
Freshman guard Isaiah Cousins entered the tournament averaging 1.0
point per contest, but ranks third on the team with his 7.5 points a game this
weekend. He is 4-for-9 from 3-point range (.444) and has handed out a team-high
Oklahoma shot .548 in the first half of Thursday's win over UTEP, but has
posted a .304 figure in three halves since (24-for-79). Osby is the only Sooner
with more than one attempt who is shooting at least .500 from the field.
OU's bench has scored 30 percent of the team's points in two games in Orlando
after supplying 45 percent of its offensive production in the season's first