MEN'S BB: Oklahoma Hosts Rice on Saturday

Oklahoma will attempt to continue its hot streak at 2 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Rice at the Lloyd Noble Center. Coming off consecutive wins over Arkansas, Gonzaga and West Virginia, the Sooners will attempt to avoid a letdown with Big XII Conference play looming.

One of the hottest teams in college basketball will try to push its win streak to four games on Saturday.

Oklahoma, coming off three consecutive quality wins, will host Rice at 2 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center.

The Sooners (10-3) are playing their first home game since Dec. 15, a win over Arkansas that kickstarted an impressive three-game stretch. OU followed it up with wins over Gonzaga and then an 88-82 double-overtime win last Saturday at then 23rd-ranked West Virginia.

Rice (3-9) is playing its third road game in a week. The Owls lost at No. 12 Texas A&M (68-41) on Monday and at No. 15 Vanderbilt (76-58) on Thursday. They are 1-4 in road games.

With its three most recent wins, Oklahoma has garnered national attention. They were ranked 28th in the most recent AP poll, the highest under second-year coach Jeff Capel. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News named the Sooners his national team of the week. Blake Griffin, Oklahoma's standout freshman power forward, was named the Big XII Player of the Week and Dick Vitale's "Diaper Dandy of the Week" after his 18-point, 16-rebound performance against the Mountaineers.

Oklahoma is just six wins shy of last year's season total and one reason is scoring. The Sooners have topped 70 points nine times already, the same amount it did in 31 games last year. They are averaging 75.2 points a game.

Led by Griffin's 13.5 points a game, three Sooners average double figures in scoring. Longar Longar contributes 13.4 and Tony Crocker 12.1. Guard Austin Johnson is closing in on the mark with his 9.2 points a game.

Defense isn't shabby either. The Sooners are surrendering just 61.5 points an outing while opponents are shooting just 38.2 percent and 29.6 percent from 3-point range.

The game with the Owls is the ninth meeting between the two schools, but the first since December 1956. Oklahoma owns a 6-2 record.

The Sooners have little time to rest after the game. They host Mt. Saint Mary's at 6 p.m. Monday to wrap up the pre-conference portion of the schedule.

Oklahoma opens up conference play on Jan. 12 when it hosts Kansas State at 5 p.m.


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