February 2 | 11 a.m. | Mogantown, W. Va.
SATURDAY’S GAME BASICS
The Sooners hit the road for their only away contest in an 18-day stretch when Oklahoma (15-6, 3-5 Big 12) faces West Virginia (9-12, 1-7 Big 12) in Morgantown in Saturday. OU is on the hunt for its third win in Morgantown in the last four years, but will be facing a desperate Mountaneer squad. West Virginia has lost eight of its last nine, but its sole victory in the stretch came over a top-10 Kansas squad.
ON THE AIR
The Big 12 matchup will tip at 11 a.m. CT (noon local time in Morgantown) and air on the Sooner Radio Network (107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing. Mark Neely, Fran Fraschilla and Kris Budden will call the action on ESPN2. Fans with proper cable verification can also stream the game on the Watch ESPN app.
• Freshman guard Jamal Bieniemy is expected to make his fifth appearance in the OU starting lineup on Saturday. In his four previous starts, the rookie point guard has totaled 16 assists and only two turnovers in 130 minutes. OU’s only scholarship freshman, Bieniemy boasts a season assist/turnover ratio of 3.8, which ranks second in the Big 12, sixth nationally and third among Division I freshmen.
• The Sooners hope to see a big bounce-back game from senior guard Christian James. In Monday’s loss, James was held to under 10 points for just the third time this season, scoring eight. In the previous two instances, James has come back strong in the following game. After scoring nine against North Texas (Nov. 27), he responded with 25 versus Notre Dame (Dec. 4). He was then limited to five points at Oklahoma State (Jan. 23) and bounced back with 21 points against Vanderbilt (Jan. 26).
•Recent matchups between Oklahoma and West Virginia have gone against the grain of most college basketball series results. The ROAD team has won four of the last five on-campus meetings between the two schools. Oklahoma has won two of its last three games in Morgantown while West Virginia has won two straight in Norman.
Jamal Bieniemy ranks third among Division I freshmen with an assist/turnover ratio of 3.8.
SERIES HISTORY: WEST VIRGINIA
• Oklahoma is 9-7 all-time against the Mountaineers and is 8-6 in the series while WVU has been a member of the Big 12 (also 8-6 during the Lon Kruger era). West Virginia has won the last three meetings.
• The series is tied 3-3 all-time in Morgantown. The Sooners claimed road wins in the WVU Coliseum in 2013, 2016 and 2017.
• Oklahoma will have had four days between games to prepare for West Virginia. The Sooners have won four of their last six games against the Mountaineers in which they’ve had at least two practice days before facing them and their unique press-heavy defense.
• Oklahoma is the only school in the country with a win over a team from every major conference (Power Five + Big East).
• The Sooners are 9-1 when limiting opponents to under 70 points and 4-0 when opponents score less than 60.
• Oklahoma is 14-1 when it scores at least 30 points in the first half.
• The Sooners are 12-1 when outrebounding their opponents. In its 15 wins, Oklahoma is winning the rebounding margin by an average of 5.3 boards.
• OU opponents are shooting 39.4 percent from the field – the second lowest opponent field goal percentage in the conference and 19th nationally. The Sooners rank 16th in KenPom.com’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
• Oklahoma is ninth in the nation in defensive rebounding with 30.0 defensive boards per game. OU’s 40.0 total rebounds per game rank 24th in the country and first in the Big 12.
• OU has three players ranked in the top 10 in rebounding in the Big 12: Christian James (sixth, 7.3), Brady Manek (eighth, 6.7) and Kristian Doolittle (10th, 6.3). TCU is the only other school with multiple players (two) ranked in the top 10.
• Oklahoma’s opponents are averaging 31.9 points in the first half. OU opponents scored 32 or fewer first half points on only five occasions last season.
• Oklahoma is 13-2 when outscoring its opponents in the paint. OU is averaging 34.6 paint points per game.
• Christian James ranks fourth the Big 12 in scoring (16.3) and sixth in rebounding (7.6). He is the only Big 12 guard averaging at least 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.
• James failed to record a double-double in his first 104 collegiate games, but has produced at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in six of his 14 games since. His six double-doubles are the second most in the Big 12.
• James enters tonight’s game with 150 career 3-pointers. He 19 away from cracking OU’s all-time top 10 in the category. Mookie Blaylock is currently 10th in Sooner history with 169.
• The Sooners almost always have team success on nights that Brady Manek is rolling. During his career, OU is 22-6 when Manek scores in double figures, 14-1 when he scores at least 15 points and 8-0 when he hit four or more 3-pointers.
• Graduate guard Miles Reynolds continues to make the most of his lone season with the Sooners, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for games played Dec. 17-25. Reynolds averaged 12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in Oklahoma’s two most recent wins (Creighton and at Northwestern) to earn the honor for the first time.
ZERO HAS BEEN THE HERO
• Senior guard Christian James has been the Sooners’ go-to scorer this season. James entered the season as Oklahoma’s top returning scorer (averaged 11.9 points per game in 2017-18) and has shown improvement in nearly all assetts of his game. Through 19 games, James has scored at least 10 points in all but two contests – including seven games of 20 points.
• James failed to produce a double-double in his first 104 collegiate games but has produced at least 10 points and 10 boards in six of the 13 games since.
• With an average of 16.3 points per game, James is fourth in the Big 12 scoring race. Seeing a Sooner towards the top of the Big 12’s scoring list is nothing new for Oklahoma, as an OU player has led the Big 12 in scoring in three of the previous four seasons (Trae Young in 2017-18; Buddy Hield in 2015-16 and 2014-15).
• By scoring 20 points on Jan. 16 against Kansas State, James became the 45th Sooner to eclipse 1,000 points in an Oklahoma uniform (eighth in the Lon Kruger era). James ranks 40th on the all-time OU scoring list with 1,057 career points.
UP NEXT: WEST VIRGINIA
• The Sooners are back in action with a quick turnaround when they host No. 20 Iowa State on Monday at Lloyd Noble Center. The Big Monday contest will tip at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
• OU leads the overall series against ISU, 116-87, and boasts a 65-23 advantage when playing in Norman. Oklahoma has won five of the last six matchups with the Cyclones in Norman. Iowa State’s sole win in Norman during that stretch came in double overtime in 2017.
• The Sooners snapped a a three-game ISU winning streak last year in Norman with a 21-point victory to close the regular season.