Teams: No. 17/16 Oklahoma (0-0) vs. British Columbia (1-0)
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 3
Tip: 7:07 p.m. CST
Site: Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)
Radio: Sooner Radio Network (KOKC 1520 AM in OKC; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa)
Internet Video Webcast: SoonerSports.com
Series: OU leads 1-0
TUESDAY'S GAME BASICS
Fourth-year Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel will watch his team play outside competition for the first time since last year's NCAA Tournament South Regional Final when the Sooners host the University of British Columbia in an exhibition game Tuesday night at Lloyd Noble Center. The contest is scheduled to tip at 7:07 p.m. CST and will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City; KTBZ AM 1430 in Tulsa) with Bob Barry Sr. and Mike Houck announcing. The game will not be televised. However, a free, live Webcast of the game will be available for viewing on OU's official athletics site, SoonerSports.com.
• OU students who present a valid school I.D. will be admitted to Tuesday's game free of charge (north entrance).
• Upper-level reserved seats are available for $10 (north and south) and $15 (east and west) at the OU Athletics Ticket Office. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
UBC'S PROJECTED STARTERS
F 10 Kyle Watson (6-5, 200, Sr., 9.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
F 13 Graham Bath (6-5, 230, Jr., 3.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
G 4 Josh Whyte (6-2, 205, Sr., 2.9 ppg, 4.9 apg)
G 5 Blain LaBranche (6-4, 185, Sr., 11.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
G 15 Kamar Burke (6-5, 220, Jr., first year at UBC)
OKLAHOMA'S PROJECTED STARTERS
F 1 Ryan Wright (6-9, 241, Sr., 1.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
F 24 Tiny Gallon (6-9, 290, Fr., first year at OU)
G 5 Tony Crocker (6-6, 209, Sr., 9.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
G 11 Tommy Mason-Griffin (5-11, 203, Fr., first year at OU)
G 13 Willie Warren (6-4, 203, So., 14.6 ppg, 3.1 apg)
Picked by Big 12 Conference coaches to finish in third place in the league race, Oklahoma enters the 2009-10 season ranked No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and No. 17 in the AP poll.
The Sooners are coming off a 30-6 season (their fifth 30-win campaign in school history) that saw them finish in second place in the Big 12 (13-3) and advance to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight round where they lost to eventual national champion North Carolina. OU returns eight letterwinners from that squad, including two starters. Among those gone from last year's team are consensus National Player of the Year Blake Griffin and fellow starters Taylor Griffin and Austin Johnson. The Sooners welcome back just 42 percent of their scoring, 29 percent of their rebounding and 40 percent of their assists. They do return 72 percent of their 3-point field goals, however.
On paper, Oklahoma's strength in 2009-10 will be its backcourt. Leading the guard charge will be sophomore preseason All-American Willie Warren and senior Tony Crocker. The pair, who combined for 70 starts last year, has shown an ability to score in bunches. Warren recorded seven games of at least 20 points last season (including two of at least 30 points) en route to being unanimously named Big 12 Freshman of the Year. He averaged 14.6 points and set an OU freshman record with his 67 3-pointers. Crocker, meanwhile, has scored at least 20 points nine times over the past two seasons. He enters his final campaign already ranked 34th in OU career scoring (1,008 points) and seventh in 3-point field goals (158). Other returnees are junior guard Cade Davis (4.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg), sophomore guard Ray Willis (3.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg), senior forward Ryan Wright (1.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg), junior center Orlando Allen (1.8 ppg), senior forward Beau Gerber (0.6 ppg) and sophomore guard T.J. Franklin (0.3 ppg).
Headlining a heralded recruiting class are McDonald's High School All-Americans Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin. Gallon, a 6-9, 290-pound forward, was the McDonald's game's leading scorer last spring (20 points in 21 minutes) and is one of the most highly touted high school signees in OU history (ranked No. 9 overall by Rivals.com). Mason-Griffin, a 5-11 point guard, was the Gatorade Texas High School Player of the Year last season and was rated by ESPN.com as the country's No. 24 overall player (No. 4 point guard). The pair is joined by freshman forward Andrew Fitzgerald (ranked No. 68 by ESPN.com), freshman guard Steven Pledger (ranked No. 84 by ESPN.com) and freshman forward Kyle Hardrick. Ryan Randolph is a freshman walk-on guard who won three state titles in basketball and one in football as starting quarterback at Oklahoma City's Bishop McGuinness High School. The 15th player on OU's roster is junior forward Barry Honoré, a transfer from Southern University who will sit out the 2009-10 season. Honoré was the Southwestern Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year two seasons ago.
PREVIEWING BRITISH COLUMBIA
Located in Vancouver, B.C., the University of British Columbia (UBC) competes in the Canada West conference of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national athletics organization. UBC boasts a strong men's basketball tradition and last year finished 31-4 overall and 21-2 in Canada West play under the direction of head coach Kevin Hanson. It advanced all the way to the CIS championship game where it lost 87-77 to Carleton.
The Thunderbirds return nine letterwinners from last year's team, including three of their top four scorers. Senior point guard Josh Whyte was a second-team Canada West all-star last year after ranking fourth in the conference in assists. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.9 steals in league play. Another senior guard, Blain LaBranche averaged 11.3 points in conference action, and shot .385 from 3-point range (40-for-104) and .829 from the free throw line (63-for-76). Senior forward Brent Malish averaged 8.7 points in Canada West games last year, as well as a team-high 5.9 rebounds. He made 25 treys on the year and shot .379 from deep.
UBC opened its regular season Friday at home with a 71-44 win over rival Trinity Western. The Thunderbirds were dominant defensively in the first half and used a 24-2 run to take a 34-13 lead at intermission. Trinity Western shot just .300 from the field and .200 from 3-point range (4-for-20) on the evening. Whyte and LaBranche paced UBC with 16 points apiece. Whyte also had five boards and five steals.
Tuesday's game will mark UBC's second in Oklahoma in two nights, as the Thunderbirds play an exhibition contest at Oral Roberts on Monday.
OU-UBC SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma beat UBC in the teams' lone previous meeting during the Sooners' Labor Day exhibition trip to the Vancouver area two years ago. OU posted an 81-62 victory on Sept. 1, 2007, behind game highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds from Blake Griffin (it was his first time in an OU uniform) and 17 points and six blocks from Longar Longar. The Sooners shot .449 from the field and held the Thunderbirds to a .323 mark. OU led 63-39 through three quarters before being outscored 23-18 in the final stanza. Cade Davis (11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks in 30 minutes) and Beau Gerber (1 minute) were the only two current Sooners who played in the game. UBC was led by Chris Dyck's 15 points. Current Thunderbirds to play in the game included Kyle Watson (7 points, 7 rebounds), Graham Bath, Alex Murphy, Nathan Yu (4 points each), Brent Malish (3 points) and Balraj Bains (2 points).
The Sooners have compiled an impressive 41-2 exhibition record over the last 21 years. Last season, OU beat Oklahoma Panhandle State, 90-43, and Cameron, 94-39, in Norman. Tuesday's game against British Columbia is OU's only exhibition contest this season.
Oklahoma begins its regular season Saturday, Nov. 14, against Mount St. Mary's at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners have won 70 of their last 72 home non-conference games and need just two regular season victories to reach 1,500 in the history of the program.