OU to play its first game at Mabee Center since 1995.
||Freshman guard Buddy Hield
Following four games outside the state, the Sooners return to Oklahoma for a Wednesday road game against Oral Roberts at the Mabee Center at 7 p.m. CT. OU is 4-1 after beating new Big 12 member West Virginia in Sunday's third-place game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. The Golden Eagles, 3-3 on the year, are coming off a 1-2 showing at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska. They lost 70-67 to Belmont in their most recent game on Saturday.
ON THE AIR
Wednesday's contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa) with Toby Rowland and Mike Houck announcing. The game will be available for viewing on the Internet via ESPN3 (also on WatchESPN app for iPhone/iPad/Android) with Chad McKee and Bryndon Manzer calling the action.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• OU has won 11 straight games against ORU and has outscored the Golden Eagles by an average of 25.9 points during the streak (an average 12.8 points the last four games).
• Wednesday's matchup will be the first between OU and ORU in Tulsa in 17 years. The Sooners' won the last meeting at the Mabee Center, 87-53, on Dec. 21, 1995 (Kelvin Sampson's second season at OU and the last year of the Big Eight Conference).
• Second-year Oklahoma assistant coach Chris Crutchfield spent four years at Oral Roberts as an assistant coach immediately before joining Lon Kruger's OU staff. First-year ORU assistant coach Wade Mason was a graduate manager last season for Kruger at OU.
• Oral Roberts has five players who each average more minutes per game than any single Oklahoma player averages.
• A win on Wednesday would be Oklahoma's second in two attempts in true road games this season (it won 63-59 at UT Arlington on Nov. 16). The Sooners have won just one true road contest in each of the past three seasons (went 1-9 all three years).
OLD SPICE CLASSIC NOTES
• Oklahoma went 2-1 and finished in third place in the eight-team Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving weekend in Orlando, Fla. The Sooners opened with a 68-61 win over UTEP, lost 72-47 to 17th-ranked Gonzaga and beat West Virginia 77-70 in the first regular season non-conference meeting between Big 12 teams in 16 years.
• OU scored the first 15 points of Thursday's opening game against UTEP and led the entire game.
• After combining for 5 points in the loss to Gonzaga, junior forward Amath M'Baye (19) and freshman Je'lon Hornbeak (14) totaled 33 points in the win over West Virginia. M'Baye was 5-for-6 from the field and recorded career highs of 9 free throw makes and 13 attempts. Hornbeak was 5-for-9 from the floor and 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
• Senior forward Romero Osby was named to the five-member all-tournament team after averaging team highs of 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds, and shooting a team-high .565 from the field. He finished with season highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds against UTEP, as well as a career-high-tying 4 assists.
• OU outscored its three opponents 47-31 off turnovers despite committing just one fewer turnover (35) than its foes (36).
• Despite outrebounding UTEP by six and West Virginia by one, the Sooners were outboarded by 20 over the course of the tournament. Gonzaga grabbed 51 rebounds to OU's 24 in Friday's semifinals game.
| Sooner to Watch
Amath M'Baye | Jr. | Forward
• Named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the first time on Monday
• Averaged 10.7 points, 5.0 rebounds at three-game Old Spice Classic
• Scored a season-high 19 points and went 5-for-6 from the field against West Virginia
• Had a game-high-tying 6 rebounds in Sunday's win over West Virginia
PREVIEWING ORAL ROBERTS
• Oral Roberts is 3-3 entering Wednesday night's contest and is coming off a 1-2 performance at the Great Alaska Shootout last week. The Golden Eagles beat Loyola Marymount (75-66) in Anchorage before falling to Charlotte (72-58) and Belmont (70-67). They have played just one home game, a 90-41 win over NAIA opponent St. Gregory's on Nov. 14 in the second game of the season.
• ORU and the Sooners have one common opponent so far this season in UTEP. The Golden Eagles lost by 20 (69-49) in their season opener in El Paso, Texas, while OU posted a 68-61 win over the Miners last week in the Old Spice Classic.
• The Golden Eagles are shooting .442 from the field, .417 from 3-point range (rank 18th nationally out of 345 teams) and .761 from the free throw line (rank 36th). Opponents are shooting .440 from the field and .363 from long distance. ORU is outrebounding its opponents by 8.5 a contest but is committing 3.0 more turnovers per game than its foes.
• Senior guard Warren Niles and junior forward Steven Roundtree are averaging double figures in scoring. Niles ranks 28th in the country with his 20.8 points per game and ranks fourth with his .606 3-point field goal percentage (20-for-33). He assembled a three-game stretch in which he averaged 29.3 points, which included an 11-for-12 shooting performance (7-for-8 from 3-point range) against St. Gregory's. Niles, who also averages 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 35.0 minutes a game, was held to 4 points in 30 minutes last game against Belmont (1-for-4 from the field). Roundtree averages 11.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in 27.3 minutes a contest. Over the last four games, he is averaging 13.5 points and 8.5 boards. He is coming off a 13-point, 16-rebound effort vs. Belmont. Senior forward/center Damen Bell-Holter has recorded double-digit rebounds in four of six games and is averaging 8.3 points and a team-high 9.2 boards in 29.3 minutes.
• Head coach Scott Sutton is 253-165 (.605) in his 14th year as a collegiate head coach, all at ORU. He is the school's career wins leader. Assistant coach Wade Mason was a graduate manager on Oklahoma's staff last season.
CRUTCHFIELD FACES FORMER TEAM
Second-year Oklahoma assistant coach Chris Crutchfield spent four seasons as an assistant coach for Scott Sutton at Oral Roberts immediately before joining the Sooners' staff. Crutchfield helped the Golden Eagles to an average of 20 wins per year and postseason appearances in 2008 (NCAA Tournament) and 2011 (CollegeInsider.com Tournament).
OU-ORAL ROBERTS HISTORY
Wednesday's game will mark the 14th between Oklahoma and Oral Roberts, with the Sooners owning an 11-2 series advantage and winning each of the last 11 meetings. Ten of OU's 11 wins in the series have come by double digits. ORU's two victories against the Sooners came in the 1975-76 (64-58 in Norman) and 1976-77 (68-50 in Tulsa) seasons. The only other meeting in Tulsa occurred in the 1995-96 season, an 87-53 OU win. See page 68 in the Oklahoma media guide for more series information.
LAST YEAR AGAINST THE GOLDEN EAGLES
• Oklahoma shot .500 from the field and held Oral Roberts to .367 field goal and .067 (1-for-15) 3-point field goal marks in a 73-59 win Dec. 8 in Norman. The loss for the Golden Eagles, who went on to finish 27-7, wound up as their second worst of the year.
• Oral Roberts entered the game with a +6.9 average rebounding margin, but the Sooners won the board battle by a 38-31 count.
• Junior guard Steven Pledger led OU in scoring for the third time in his six games with 17 points. He was 6-for-11 from the field and 5-for-5 at the free throw line while adding 3 assists and 2 steals.
• One game after scoring a season-high 18 points, sophomore guard Cameron Clark netted 16 points on 5-for-8 field goal and 2-for-2 3-point shooting. He added 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 30 minutes.
• Junior forward Andrew Fitzgerald finished with 16 points with the help of a game-high 8 field goal makes.
• Dominique Morrison led ORU with 20 points while Damen Bell-Holter added 16 on 7-for-11 shooting. Warren Niles was held scoreless in 26 minutes (0-for-6 shooting).
M'BAYE HONORED BY BIG 12
Junior forward Amath M'Baye was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Monday after averaging 10.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 block and 1.0 steal while shooting .500 from the field in an average of 25.0 minutes per game against UTEP, Gonzaga and West Virginia. The Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year saved his best performance for last, tallying a season-high 19 points on 5-for-6 field goal shooting and pulling down a game-high-tying 6 rebounds in a 77-70 win over new Big 12 member West Virginia on Sunday. A native of Bordeaux, France, M'Baye also recorded career highs of 9 free throw makes and 13 attempts in the game.
• The Sooners have exhibited a balanced offensive attack through five games, with six players averaging between 7.2 and 11.2 points per contest. Seven players average between 18.8 and 24.2 minutes per game, while three others average at least 10.6 minutes.
• OU returned its top six scorers and 88 percent of its scoring from last season, but newcomers rank third, fourth and sixth in scoring average. The four newcomers have accounted for 44 percent of the team's points (150 of 340).
• Oklahoma has outrebounded its opponents in all four wins (by an average of 9.0 per contest). In its loss to Gonzaga, OU was outboarded by 27 (51-24).
• 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 5.4 points per contest from behind the arc this season. OU has 29 3-point makes while holding foes to 20 treys (tied for Big 12 lead for fewest opponent 3's per game [4.0]).
• Despite the fact that OU has registered only three fewer turnovers (65) than its opponents (68), it owns a 85-55 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 scored the first 15 points of last Thursday's win over UTEP and used a 24-8 first-half run against West Virginia to go up by 12 points.
• The Sooners' bench has been key, supplying 129 of the team's 340 points (38 percent) through five games. OU's bench has been outscored just once in five games (loss to Gonzaga). Three starters from last year (Cameron Clark, Andrew Fitzgerald and Sam Grooms have come off the bench the first five games).
• Head coach Lon Kruger is just two wins shy of 500 for his collegiate career.
• Senior forward Romero Osby has posted double-doubles in two of OU's five games and leads the team in scoring (11.2 ppg), rebounding (7.6 rpg) and field goal percentage (.500). He is averaging just 22.6 minutes a contest. Projected to 40 minutes a game, his scoring and rebounding averages are 19.8 and 13.5, respectively. He made the Old Spice Classic all-tournament team after averaging 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds (shot .565 from the field). The transfer who played his first two seasons at Mississippi State is the Big 12's leading returning rebounder (averaged 7.8 last year).
• Senior guard Steven Pledger averages 10.2 points in 23.4 minutes an outing. He ranks third in the Big 12 with his 2.4 treys per game but is just 2-for-12 over the last two games (was 10-for-22 in the first three contests). The league's leading returning scorer from last season (16.2 ppg), Pledger continues to climb OU's career charts in scoring and 3-pointers. He ranks 33rd in school history with 1,073 points and fifth in 3-pointers (190). He has started his last 37 games.
• Freshman guard Buddy Hield has come off the bench in all five games and ranks fourth on the team with his 9.2 points in 21.8 minutes per contest. The Freeport, Bahamas, native is shooting .415 from the field (.292 at Old Spice Classic) and averages 3.4 rebounds a game. 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 first half), representing the second most by a Sooner in a game this season.
• Reigning Big 12 Rookie of the Week Amath M'Baye averages 10.2 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting .474 from the floor. He has attempted a team-high 24 free throw attempts (4.8 per game) and leads the squad with his 12 offensive rebounds. He is coming off a season-high 19-point performance against West Virginia.
• Freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak has contributed across the board in OU's first five games, averaging 7.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a team-high 1.8 steals (ranks seventh in Big 12) in 23.0 minutes per game. He has started all five contests.
• A starter every game the last two years, senior forward Andrew Fitzgerald has come off the bench each of the first five games to average 7.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in 20.4 minutes an outing. He is tied for the team lead with 6 blocked shots.
• Senior point guard Sam Grooms started all 31 games last year, led the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8) and ranked second in assists (6.0 per game). He has come off the bench in every game this season and has racked up 15 assists against just 3 turnovers (his 5.0 ratio again leads the league; Baylor's Pierre Jackson ranks second with a 2.5 ratio). Grooms played the last several minutes of OU's narrow victories over UT Arlington and West Virginia.
• OU's top five individual scoring performances have been turned in by five different players (19 by M'Baye, 17 by Hield, 16 by Osby, 15 by Pledger and 14 by Hornbeak).
The Sooners play at home for the first time in 19 days when they host Northwestern State on Friday at 7 p.m. CT at Lloyd Noble Center. The game will be televised by Sooner Sports TV.