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Ohio University (8-4) at Oklahoma (7-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) -- Norman, Oklahoma. Television: Local. Home Record: Ohio 8-1, OU 2-1. Away Record: Ohio 0-3, OU 2-1. Neutral Record: Ohio 0-0, OU 3-1. Conference Record: Ohio 0-0, OU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Still in search of their first road win of the season, the Ohio University Bobcats enter the Lloyd Noble Center for a non-conference clash with the Oklahoma Sooners.
Ohio is tied with Western Michigan for the best record in the Mid-American Conference, but the team has dropped all three of its road games so far. The Bobcats are back in action for the first time since last Saturday's 93-57 home win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. They have lost four of their last six games overall after starting the season 6-0, marking their best start since 1969-70.
Oklahoma has been idle since a 56-55 loss to Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 18, which ended the team's 36-game non-conference home winning streak. That contest was the first of a three-game homestand for the Sooners, who are 2-1 at home this season. They'll wrap up the homestand against Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Monday.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
The Bobcats set season-highs in points (93), field goals made (35) and assists (29) in the win over MD-Eastern Shore, with the 29 assists tying a school record. All told, they shot 57.4 percent from the floor while also forcing 24 turnovers and committing only nine. For the first time since Dec. 30, 2010, six Bobcats scored in double figures. Walter Offutt (12.0 ppg) led the way with 15 points, while D.J. Cooper (14.3 ppg) dished out a game-high 14 assists to go along with his nine points. On the season, Ohio has forced at least 20 turnovers in eight of 12 contests and the team is 7-1 in those games. In addition to their pesky defense, the Bobcats have picked up their efficiency on the offensive end of the floor, averaging 27.5 assists over the last two games and eclipsing 20 assists in four of the last five. Their 18.6 assists per game average ranks fifth nationally entering the weekend.
OU boasts only two double-figure scorers, but seven different players are averaging better than 6.3 points. Romero Osby leads the way with a team-best 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per tilt. Steven Pledger is next in line with 10.3 ppg and has knocked down a team-high 20 3-pointers (.370). However, the Sooners were not able to solve the Lumberjacks and their No. 1 scoring defense in the nation. Stephen F. Austin successfully slowed the pace of the game down, and the Sooners never settled into much of a rhythm as they notched their second-lowest scoring output of the season. OU nearly rallied back from an 11-point second-half deficit, but Buddy Hield missed a potential game-tying free throw in the final seconds. Pledger and Je'lon Hornbreak shared team-high honors with 12 points apiece in the loss.
The Bobcats are coming off one of their better efforts of the season, while the Sooners are coming off one of their worst. If the Bobcats can get into the passing lanes and spread the ball around like they did against MD-Eastern Shore, they could deal OU a second straight home loss.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 66, Oklahoma 63
12/29 10:35:48 ET
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