Hoops Preview: OU Vs. American

OU will start the 2008-2009 season off with a bang when the American University Eagles come in to Norman looking for a big upset over the nationally rated Sooners. The Eagles are the defending Patriot League Conference Champions.

Who: Oklahoma Vs. American

Where: Lloyd Noble Center (Norman, Okla.)

When: 7p.m.

Tickets AVAILABLE: OU Ticket Sales

Projected Starters:

Oklahoma

American

Blake Griffin (6-10, 250, So.)

Brian Gilmore (6-8, 220, Sr.)

Taylor Griffin (6-7, 238, Sr.)

Frane Markusovic (6-10, 240, Sr.)

Tony Crocker (6-6, 206, Jr.)

Derrick Mercer (5-9, 180, Sr.)

Willie Warren (6-4, 207, Fr.)

Garrison Carr (5-11, 170, Sr.)

Austin Johnson (6-3, 176, Sr.)

G  Frank Borden (6-4, 180, Sr.)

Friday night the Oklahoma Sooners will kick off the 2008-09 season with their regular season game against the American University Eagles. The Eagles are a talented squad that will feature five seniors in their starting line-up, and return their top four scorers who helped them on to a birth in the NCAA tournament a year ago.

American Head Coach Jeff Jones

In eight seasons as head coach of the AU men's basketball team, Jeff Jones has engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in school history. The transformation of the men's program culminated last season in the Eagles' first ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament, when Jones led AU to Patriot League Regular Season and Tournament Championships. The Eagles finished the 2007–08 campaign with a 21-12 overall record.

The highlight of an outstanding year was the NCAA Tournament. In the first round match-up in Birmingham, Ala., AU played a tightly contested game against Tennessee, trailing by only one point, 50-49, with six minutes to play before the Volunteers pulled away. American earned its first NCAA appearance with a 52-46 win over Colgate in the Patriot League Championship Game.

Key Player: Derrick Mercer

Mercer was an All-Patriot League Second Team selection… started 32 of 33 games for the Eagles … missed only start against Lafayette to allow all the seniors to start … played all 40 minutes in 14 games, including each PL Tournament game … averaged 12.4 points per game, ranking him 12th in the conference … scored in double-digits in 21 games … shot .420 from the field, good for seventh in the league … ranked third in assists in the PL with 4.03 helpers per game … ranked third in three-point shooting percentage, shooting a .434 clip from beyond the arc … held the fourth-best assist turnover ratio in the league (1.40) … scored a career-high 28 points on 10-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc, against UMBC (12/1) …


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