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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: FS Oklahoma. Fox College Sports Atlantic. Home Record: Tulsa 2-2, Oklahoma 5-0. Away Record: Tulsa 0-2, Oklahoma 0-0. Neutral Record: Tulsa 1-2, Oklahoma 3-1. Conference Record: Tulsa 0-0, Oklahoma 0-0. Series Record: Oklahoma leads, 28-11.
GAME NOTES: The Oklahoma Sooners take aim at their fifth win in a row as they host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in a non-conference instate battle at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Tulsa is 3-6 after a very difficult nine-game stretch to begin the season. The Golden Hurricane participated in the Great Alaska Shootout where they defeated Indiana State, 63-62, before losing to TCU and Green Bay. Coach Danny Manning's team then returned home to defeat Texas Southern and Arkansas-Little Rock at the Reynolds Center for its first winning streak of the campaign. Although Tulsa had just one victory through its first seven games, Wichita State was the only opponent it lost to by more than 10 points.
Oklahoma improved to 8-1 last Sunday as it coasted to an 81-66 victory over George Mason in the nation's capital. The Sooners have been perfect this season minus their 11-point loss to then No. 1 Michigan State. Coach Lon Kruger's squad has been unstoppable en route to an average of 86.7 points per game on 47.9 percent efficiency. The Sooners' excellent ball movement gives them an average of 15.6 assists per game.
This will be the 40th meeting in history between Tulsa and Oklahoma. The Sooners own a 28-11 all-time series lead after winning 12 of the last 13 meetings. Saturday's matchup will mark the first encounter since Oklahoma earned a 69-44 decision over the Golden Hurricane on Dec. 7, 2008 at the BOK Center.
The Golden Hurricane looked like they would have trouble against UALR as they went into halftime trailing the Trojans by two points. They used a 16-0 run in the second half to run away with a 78-64 victory. James Woodard poured in a game- high 19 points while Shaquille Harrison tallied 13 points and seven assists. Tulsa has struggled on the defensive end of the floor and surrendered an average of 73.9 ppg to rank 12th in the Conference USA. The Golden Hurricane showed no sign of weakness against the Trojans, who shot 36.4 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers. Woodard is pacing the team with 13.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Rashad Smith is a close second in both categories with 12.9 ppg and 5.4 rpg. Manning has a very deep rotation as 10 players regularly see action.
The Sooners will be without sophomore guard Je'Lon Hornbeak, who will be out four to six weeks after breaking his left foot on Tuesday. Hornbeak's absence will not make a huge difference for Oklahoma as it will still have the trio of Cameron Clark, Ryan Spangler and Buddy Hield. Clark recorded a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds to propel the Sooners past GMU. Spangler contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Hield tallied 12 points and 10 boards. Jordan Woodard chipped in 15 points to help the team to its fourth straight win. Clark is averaging a team-high 18 points and six rebounds per game. Hield is the second-leading scorer at 16.4 ppg, while Spangler anchors the rebounding effort with 9.3 boards per tilt.
Oklahoma may be the sleeper team in the Big 12 Conference this season. It has performed like a powerhouse through its non-conference slate, but the Golden Hurricane are too scrappy to overlook. The Sooners will most likely come out on top, but Tulsa has fought every time it has stepped on to the hardwood this season and its effort will only be greater against a marquee opponent.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 86, Tulsa 80
12/14 10:38:05 ET