Oklahoma (7-1) vs. George Mason (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 8, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Center (18,277) -- Washington, D.C.. Television: MASN. Home Record: OU 5-0, GMU 4-1. Away Record: OU 0-0, GMU 1-2. Neutral Record: OU 2-1, GMU 0-0. Conference Record: OU 0-0, GMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Oklahoma Sooners and the George Mason Patriots meet at the Verizon Center on Sunday afternoon as part of the BB&T Classic.
Oklahoma has played very well in the first month of the season, with its only loss in eight tries coming against nationally-ranked Michigan State in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic championship game on Nov. 23 (87-76). Since that defeat, the Sooners have reeled off three straight wins, all at home, most recently downing Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday night, 78-56.
George Mason squared off with South Florida at home on Wednesday night, and despite holding a double-digit second-half lead, it ultimately fell on the wrong end of a 68-66 final. The Patriots have lost three of their last four games after opening the campaign on a four-game win streak.
This matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the Sooners and Patriots on the hardwood.
The Sooners did what was expected of them in their rout of TXA&M-CC earlier in the week, as they ran out to an 18-point halftime lead and never looked back. They shot a modest 45.3 percent from the field on the evening, but they earned extra possessions by dominating the turnover battle, 20-9. Buddy Hield sparked the offense with 18 points, Isaiah Cousins scored 12 points, and Frank Booker and D.J. Bennett netted nine apiece. On the season, Oklahoma boasts a stellar scoring attack that shoots field goals at nearly 48 percent efficiency for 87.4 points per game, 11 points more than it allows, and it also has made a habit of winning the takeaway battle (+4.1 turnover margin). Cameron Clark (17.5 ppg) and Hield (17.0 ppg) are neck-and-neck as the team's top scorer, and the duo has combined to drain 26 3-pointers. Cousins puts up 11.6 points per game, Ryan Spangler (11.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg) is an anchor in the frontcourt and Jordan Woodard (10.0 ppg, 4.8 apg) rounds out a balanced starting five.
The Patriots appeared well on their way to a quality home victory over USF the last time out, as they held a 17-point lead with under 12 minutes to play, but the Bulls ripped off a furious 18-0 run to take the lead and eventually drained the game-winning bucket in the waning seconds to hand George Mason the heartbreaking defeat. Sherrod Wright shined despite the disappointing loss, as he shot 6-of-13 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line for 22 points. Bryon Allen and Marko Gujanicic were also solid with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Unfortunately for GMU, its scoring offense (66.4 ppg) hasn't been much to brag about this season, but it is able to make up for it with a solid effort at the defensive end (64.0 ppg). Wright is the team's unquestioned go-to guy, as he puts up 17.5 points per game on 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. Gujanicic (11.9 ppg) hauls in a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game, and Allen (11.3 ppg) gets his teammates involved with 4.5 assists per tilt.
While it's not a home game for George Mason, it will have the geographical advantage over Oklahoma playing in nearby Washington, D.C., and its stout defensive pressure will give it a shot in this one. However, expect Oklahoma's hot shooting to continue on its way to a fourth straight triumph.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 73, George Mason 65
12/08 10:37:41 ET