Sooners and Aggies square off in Oklahoma City in OU's 35th appearance in annual event.
||Junior Guard Cameron Clark
Playing its first game in 11 days, Oklahoma takes on former Big 12
member Texas A&M in the All-College Classic on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT inside
Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Sooners, who will be making their
30th straight appearance in the annual event, are 6-2 on the year following
an 81-78 loss at Arkansas on Dec. 4. Texas A&M improved to 7-1 and won its fourth
in a row by defeating Stephen F. Austin 62-54 on Dec. 5.
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 94; XM 191) with Toby Rowland and
Mike Houck announcing. The game will be televised by ESPNU with Dave
Armstrong and Reid Gettys calling the action.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
Oklahoma owns a 29-10 series advantage against Texas A&M, but the
Aggies have won nine of the last 13 matchups. The teams met in the 1988 All-College
Tournament in Oklahoma City, with OU winning a 128-80 decision.
Texas A&M won two of the three meetings last year. Each team won close games
at home, and the Aggies notched a 62-53 victory in the first round of the Big
12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo.
OU senior forward Romero Osby averaged 19.7 points in three games against
the Aggies last year. He shot .742 from the field (23-for-31) in those contests
and scored a career-high 24 points in the Sooners' 65-62 win in Norman.
Saturday's game will mark Oklahoma's seventh away from home during an eight-game
stretch. The Sooners play just two of their first nine games at Lloyd Noble
Center this year.
OU senior guard Steven Pledger turned in one of his best career performances
in last year's 79-74 All-College Classic win over Houston. He scored 31 points
(second highest career total and highest in regulation) and pulled down a career-high
10 boards for his lone career double-double. Pledger was 10-for-13 from the
field, 4-for-5 from 3-point range and 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
OU'S ALL-COLLEGE HISTORY
This year's All-College Classic marks the 35th such event for Oklahoma
and the 30th straight. The Sooners own a 51-11 (.823) all-time record in the
All-College and have claimed 25 championships. They have won 16 of their last
19 games in the event, including last year's 79-74 outcome against Houston.
This marks the first year that the All-College is comprised of one game. The
11 All-College events immediately prior to this one featured a four-team "classic"
or non-tournament format. For a complete list of OU's All-College Classic results,
consult page 157 in this year's media guide.
KRUGER IN THE ALL-COLLEGE
Second-year OU head coach Lon Kruger is making his third appearance
in the All-College Classic. As head coach at Florida during the 1995-96 season,
Kruger led the Gators to the All-College title with wins over Louisiana Tech
(71-56) and Oklahoma (76-72 in overtime). The tournament was played at The Myriad,
now the Oklahoma City Convention Center.
| Sooner to Watch
Romero Osby | Sr. | Forward
Had a season-high 22 points with 6 rebounds
and 2 assists Dec. 4 at Arkansas
Averaged 19.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 3 games
last year against Texas A&M
Scored a career-high 24 points last March against
Leads OU with 12.5 points per game this year
and averages 6.9 rebounds per contest
After playing six games in a span of 13 days, Saturday's contest
against Texas A&M will mark OU's first in 11 days. The Sooners will host Stephen
F. Austin on Tuesday before having another 10 days between games (host Ohio
on Dec. 29).
Oklahoma has already won as many games away from home this season (4-2 record)
as it did all of last season (4-11 record). The Sooners play seven of their
first nine games away from home, their most in 37 years (played eight of their
first 10 away from home in 1975-76).
Oklahoma has already played six games this year decided by seven points or
fewer and has won four of them. Last year the Sooners finished 4-5 under the
The Sooners have exhibited a balanced offensive attack through eight games,
with six players averaging between 6.6 and 12.5 points per contest. Nine players
average between 15.9 and 25.3 minutes per game. A Sooner has played at least
30 minutes in a game just four times this year (Amath M'Baye 32 vs. West
Virginia, Steven Pledger 32 at Arkansas and 31 at UT Arlington, and Romero
Osby 30 vs. UTEP).
OU returned its top six scorers and 88 percent of its scoring from last season,
but newcomers rank second, fourth, sixth and seventh in scoring average. The
team's four newcomers have accounted for 43 percent of the team's points (234
Despite the fact that OU has registered only six fewer turnovers (107) than
its opponents (113), the Sooners own a 135-97 advantage in points off turnovers.
In four of Oklahoma's wins, the game was tied or the Sooners trailed with
under six minutes to go. OU was tied 57-57 at UT Arlington with 2:30 remaining
(won 63-59), was tied 62-62 vs. West Virginia with 5:30 left (won 77-70), trailed
60-59 at Oral Roberts with 3:00 remaining (won 63-62) and trailed Northwestern
State 63-61 with 2:15 left (won 69-65).
The Sooners' bench has been key, supplying 221 of the team's 550 points (40
percent). OU's bench has been outscored just twice in eight games (vs. Gonzaga
and Northwestern State). Two starters from last year (Cameron Clark and
Sam Grooms) have come off the bench each of the first eight contests,
while another, Andrew Fitzgerald, has come off the bench in seven games.
Senior forward Romero Osby leads the team in scoring (12.5
ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (6.9 rpg) in just 23.8 minutes a contest.
After being held to an average of 10.0 points on .333 (8-for-24) shooting over
a three-game span, he broke out for a season-high 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting
at Arkansas in OU's last game. Osby, who came off the bench against the Razorbacks
for the first time in his two seasons at OU (team penalty for receiving a technical
foul the previous game), made the Old Spice Classic all-tourney team last month
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 (7.8 last year). He leads the team with 6 charges
taken this year.
Preseason Big 12 Rookie of the Year Amath M'Baye averages 10.6 points
and a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game. He has led OU in rebounding in each of
the last five games and is averaging 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds during the
stretch while shooting .543 from the field (averaged 8.0 points and 6.8 rebounds
the first four games while shooting .406). The junior forward scored a season-high
19 points in a win over West Virginia in the Old Spice Classic third-place game
and was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Nov. 26.
Senior guard Steven Pledger averages 10.1 points in a team-high 25.3
minutes an outing. He ranks third in the Big 12 with his 2.3 treys per game
(has made at least one in every game and has three games of at least three makes).
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 30th in school
history with 1,103 points and fifth in 3-pointers (196; needs two to tie Tony
Crocker in fourth place). He has started his last 40 games.
Freshman guard Buddy Hield has come off the bench in all eight games
and ranks fourth on the team with his 8.5 points in 19.6 minutes per contest.
The Freeport, Bahamas, native ranks third on the squad with his 3.4 rebounds
a game. Fifty-six percent of his rebounds (15 of 27) have come on the offensive
end. In his top two scoring games, all of his output came in one half. At UT
Arlington on Nov. 16, Hield scored 17 first-half points. On Nov. 28 at Oral
Roberts, he netted all 11 of his points in the game's final 13:28.
Freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak has contributed across the board in
OU's first eight games, averaging 6.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and
a team-high 1.5 steals in 21.9 minutes per game. He has started all eight contests
and hit a 3-pointer with 2:12 remaining two games ago to give the Sooners the
lead for good against Northwestern State.
A starter every game the last two years, senior forward Andrew Fitzgerald
came off the bench the first seven games this year before replacing Osby in
the starting lineup last game at Arkansas (4 points, 1 rebound in 14 minutes).
On the year, he averages 6.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 19.3 minutes an outing.
He needs just 42 points to become the 39th member of OU's 1,000-point club.
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
a team-high 22 assists against just 7 turnovers (his 3.1 ratio would lead the
league if he had enough assists to qualify in the category).
PREVIEWING TEXAS A&M
Picked ninth out of 14 teams in the preseason SEC media poll, Texas
A&M enters Saturday's game with a 7-1 record. The Aggies have won four straight
contests following a 70-49 defeat to Saint Louis in the CBE Classic in Kansas
City, Mo. They are 5-0 at home, 1-0 on the road (70-58 win at Houston two games
ago) and 1-1 at neutral sites.
Texas A&M is averaging 68.6 points per game and is shooting .471 from the
field, .380 from 3-point range (5.1 treys per game) and .707 from the free throw
line. The Aggies are holding their opponents to 60.5 points an outing, .398
field goal and .339 3-point shooting (7.1 treys per game). They outrebound their
foes by 2.9 per contest.
Senior guard Elston Turner has led A&M in scoring in five of its eight
games and is averaging a team-high 16.3 points a contest. The team's chief 3-point
threat, he has made 22 treys (next highest total on squad is eight makes) and
is shooting .431 from behind the arc. The University of Washington transfer
has scored 26 points twice this season (vs. Troy and at Houston). In three games
against OU last year, he averaged 16.0 points and shot .364 from 3-point distance
Senior forward Ray Turner is averaging 12.8 points and a team-high
6.3 rebounds per game while shooting a team-best .642 from the field. Turner,
who has led the team in scoring two times (season-high 17 vs. Prairie View A&M),
has attempted a team-high 46 free throws (5.8 per game) and is shooting .739
from the foul line.
Billy Kennedy is in his second year as Texas A&M's head coach and sports
a 21-19 record. He came to A&M from Murray State and owns a 232-198 career mark.
OU-TEXAS A&M HISTORY
Oklahoma owns a 29-10 series advantage against Texas A&M and posted a 24-10
record against the Aggies when both teams were in the Big 12 Conference (1997-2012).
Nine of the Aggies' 10 wins in the series have come over the past six seasons
(they have won nine of the last 13 meetings). OU beat A&M in the 1988 All-College
Tournament, 128-80, in Oklahoma City.
LAST YEAR AGAINST THE AGGIES
Oklahoma went 1-2 against Texas A&M last year, losing 81-75 in College
Station in overtime in January, winning 65-62 in the regular season finale in
Norman and falling 62-53 in the first round of the Big 12 Championship in Kansas
OU outshot A&M .460 to .453 over the course of the three meetings, but was
outscored by 30 points from 3-point range. The Sooners were 8-for-31 (.258)
from long distance, while the Aggies were 18-for-50 (.360).
Three Sooners averaged double figures against A&M last season, and another
almost did. Forward Romero Osby led the way with his 19.7 points per
outing and shot .742 from the field (23-for-31). He was followed by forward
Andrew Fitzgerald and guards Steven Pledger and Sam Grooms,
who averaged 11.7, 10.3 and 9.7 points, respectively. Fitzgerald shot .500 from
the field and averaged 5.0 rebounds, Pledger made 6 treys on 18 attempts (.333)
and averaged 3.0 assists, and Grooms averaged 6.0 assists.
Osby tallied point totals of 18 in College Station (8-for-10 shooting), a
career-high 24 in Norman (11-for-15 shooting) and 17 in Kansas City (4-for-6
DEC. 4 ARKANSAS RECAP
Steven Pledger hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give OU a 79-78
lead with 22 seconds left, but Arkansas' B.J. Young hit a runner in the lane
just eight seconds later to lift the Razorbacks to an eventual 81-78 win Dec.
4 in Fayetteville. Romero Osby's 18-footer with four seconds to go was
off the mark for the Sooners.
Oklahoma shot a season-high .554 from the field (previous high was .474 vs.
West Virginia) and posted a .640 mark after halftime. However, the Sooners allowed
Arkansas to shoot an opponent-season-high .526. OU and Arkansas entered the
game shooting .403 and .429 from the field, respectively.
OU took a 6-2 lead with the help of a pair of dunks by Amath M'Baye,
but Arkansas answered with seven straight points to go up 9-6. The Sooners didn't
lead again until Pledger's 3-pointer with 22 seconds left. OU trailed by as
many as 11 in the second half and was down by eight points (69-61) with 7:20
Osby scored a season-high 22 points (most by a Sooner this season) even though
he came off the bench for the first time in his 39 games at OU (head coach decision
resulting from a technical foul he received the previous game). He made 9 shots
on 12 attempts in his 26 minutes and added 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
M'Baye's 14 points were his second most as a Sooner. He was 6-for-10 from
the floor and tied Osby for team-high rebounding honors with 6.
Pledger had gone 4-for-16 from 3-point range over the previous four games
but was 4-for-7 on the night to finish with 12 points. He moved into 30th place
on OU's all-time scoring list (1,103 points).
Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell scored a career-high 33 points on
11-for-17 field goal and 4-for-6 3-point shooting. He entered the game 3-for-10
from 3-point range on the year.
The Sooners lost for the first time this year when outrebounding their opponent
(won the board battle, 31-26).
OU plays just its third home game of the year when it hosts Stephen F. Austin
next Tuesday (Dec. 18) at 7 p.m. CT.