Oklahoma (3-0) vs. (17) Gonzaga (4-0)
Friday, November 23, 7:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (5,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Oklahoma 1-0, Gonzaga 3-0. Away Record: Oklahoma 1-0, Gonzaga 0-0. Neutral Record: Oklahoma 1-0, Gonzaga 1-0. Conference Record: Oklahoma 0-0, Gonzaga 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The 17th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs try to keep their record unblemished on Friday night, as they tangle with the Oklahoma Sooners as part of second-round action in the Old Spice Classic.
The Bulldogs beat their first three opponents of 2012-13 by at least 34 points, topping the likes of Southern Utah, West Virginia and South Dakota, but the challenge became a bit tougher on Thursday when the team held on for a 57-49 triumph versus the Clemson Tigers in the first round of this event.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma has done alright for itself as well, producing three wins in as many tries. Wins over ULM at home and Texas-Arlington on the road were followed by a 68-61 triumph versus UTEP on Thanksgiving.
The all-time series between these two squads is knotted at one game apiece.
The winner will head to the title game on Sunday, taking on the survivor of the West Virginia/Davidson contest.
Romero Osby registered a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds as the Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Miners of Texas-El Paso, 68-61, in the opening round of the tournament at HP Field House. Also scoring in double figures for the Sooners was Steven Pledger who delivered 12 points after shooting 3-of-6 behind the three-point line. The Sooners held a 38-32 rebounding advantage and cleared 15 at the offensive end of the floor which helped to make up for just 12-of-20 shooting at the free-throw line. The Sooners have managed to get by with only 40.9 percent accuracy from the floor thus far, basically because the opposition is knocking down shots at only a 37.7 percent clip. What's more, the Oklahoma defense has also held foes to a mere 22.7 percent from three-point range and forced better than 16 turnovers per outing. Pledger's 10-of-22 shooting beyond the arc has pushed him to a team-high 12.0 ppg, with Osby following close behind with 11.7 ppg, to go along with 9.0 rpg.
Down by a point at intermission against Clemson on Thanksgiving, the Bulldogs made the necessary adjustments at the half and stormed back with 70 percent shooting from the field in order to come up with the eight-point win. Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk both tallied 13 points for the Bulldogs, the former also pulling down nine rebounds and handing out four assists, while Sam Dower tacked on 11 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Another reserve giving the team a lift was David Stockton who used his 23 minutes in order to hand out a career-high seven assists. Outscoring the competition, outside of yesterday's contest, has been rather easy for the Bulldogs in the early going, the team averaging close to 30 ppg in their margin of victory. The squad is shooting an impressive 53.3 percent from the floor and beating foes on the glass by almost 11 rebounds per game, but still the fact that the Bulldogs are hitting free throws at only 55.2 percent has to be a major concern. Olynyk and Harris lead the offense with 13.0 ppg each, the latter also handling the action on the glass to the tune of 10.3 rpg, while Stockton and Kevin Pangos are responsible for keeping the offense moving with a combined 36 assists thus far.
Both of these teams were put to the test on Thursday, but given how stubborn the defense for the Bulldogs can be, expect them to come out on top in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gonzaga 66, Oklahoma 58
11/23 15:48:35 ET