Hoops Preview: Gardner-Webb

The Sooners will look to push their record to 4-0 with a win over Gardner-Webb before heading to Madison Square Garden to take on UAB in the semi-finals of the pre-season NIT.

 Who: No. 12 Oklahoma (3-0) Vs. Gardner-Webb (0-2) 
 Where: Lloyd Noble Center (Norman, Okla.) 
 When: Saturday 1:00pm CST
 Tickets: Available(LINK)

Gardner-Webb Projected Starters:
 2 Joshua Henley (6-4, 220, Fr.) – 10.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg
42 Auryn MacMillan (6-8, 235, Jr.) - 12.0ppg, 9.0 rpg
 4 Grayson Flittner (6-0, 200, Jr.) – 17.5 ppg, 3.5 apg
12 Anton Silver (6-2, 175, Jr.) – 16.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg
23 Aaron Linn (6-3, 200, Sr.) – 16.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg

Key Reserve:
30 Lu Dovonou (6-5, 230, Jr.) – 4.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg

Game Preview: Playing its 500th game at Lloyd Noble Center, 12th-ranked Oklahoma goes for its fourth win to start the season when it hosts Gardner-Webb on Saturday at 1 p.m. CST. The Sooners, who are coming off an 82-78 victory over No. 21 Davidson on Tuesday, will face an 0-2 Bulldogs squad that has lost its two road games by a combined four points to Virginia Tech and Longwood.

Key Player - G Grayson Flittner: Flittner provided the nation with a feel-good story in last November, helping Gardner-Webb whip No. 20 Kentucky in Rupp Arena, 84-68, with a 22-point outing that included SportsCenter's top play of the evening and several other notable highlights. The Sharpsville, Ind., native followed that performance with an All-Tournament effort in Madison Square Garden, averaging 17 ppg against the duo of UConn and Oklahoma in two games. Flittner, a former walk-on at GWU, saw that effort land him on the Sports Illustrated All-Tournament Team for the 2K Sports Classic, alongside a star-studded group that included Derrick Rose (Memphis), Blake Griffin (Oklahoma) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis). Capable of scoring in bunches from long range, Flittner didn't ease up much the rest of the season – averaging 15.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game in 32 starts. He knocked down an Atlantic Sun Conference record 107 three-pointers in 266 attempts (.402) and was a stellar 91-of-112 (81.3 percent) from the charity stripe. Against A-Sun favorite ETSU, Flittner drilled 9-of-12 from long distance enroute to a career-high 34 points and a decisive GWU victory. He had two different weeks with at least 15 made treys – including 23 makes in a four-game stretch in November.

Prediction: With No. 2 Texas Tech in town for a key match-up with the grid-iron Sooners there may not be a whole lot buzz surrounding this game, but Gardner-Webb is a quality opponent. They should be much better than Mississippi Valley State and have some scoring threats. If they heat up from outside then they could be pesky, but OU will have too much depth and bang down low to be upset. OU should win this one easily. Look for the Griffin brothers to have a good game.

Player on the Rise: Ryan Wright


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