Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - The 17th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs try to keep
their record unblemished on Friday night, as they tangle with the Oklahoma
Sooners as part of second-round action in the Old Spice Classic.
The Bulldogs beat their first three opponents of 2012-13 by at least 34
points, topping the likes of Southern Utah, West Virginia and South Dakota,
but the challenge became a bit tougher on Thursday when the team held on for a
57-49 triumph versus the Clemson Tigers in the first round of this event.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma has done alright for itself as well, producing three wins
in as many tries. Wins over ULM at home and Texas-Arlington on the road were
followed by a 68-61 triumph versus UTEP on Thanksgiving.
The all-time series between these two squads is knotted at one game apiece.
The winner will head to the title game on Sunday, taking on the survivor of
the West Virginia/Davidson contest.
Romero Osby registered a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 10
rebounds as the Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Miners of Texas-El Paso, 68-61,
in the opening round of the tournament at HP Field House. Also scoring in
double figures for the Sooners was Steven Pledger who delivered 12 points
after shooting 3-of-6 behind the three-point line. The Sooners held a 38-32
rebounding advantage and cleared 15 at the offensive end of the floor which
helped to make up for just 12-of-20 shooting at the free-throw line. The
Sooners have managed to get by with only 40.9 percent accuracy from the floor
thus far, basically because the opposition is knocking down shots at only a
37.7 percent clip. What's more, the Oklahoma defense has also held foes to a
mere 22.7 percent from three-point range and forced better than 16 turnovers
per outing. Pledger's 10-of-22 shooting beyond the arc has pushed him to a
team-high 12.0 ppg, with Osby following close behind with 11.7 ppg, to go
along with 9.0 rpg.
Down by a point at intermission against Clemson on Thanksgiving, the Bulldogs
made the necessary adjustments at the half and stormed back with 70 percent
shooting from the field in order to come up with the eight-point win. Elias
Harris and Kelly Olynyk both tallied 13 points for the Bulldogs, the former
also pulling down nine rebounds and handing out four assists, while Sam Dower
tacked on 11 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Another reserve giving the
team a lift was David Stockton who used his 23 minutes in order to hand out a
career-high seven assists. Outscoring the competition, outside of yesterday's
contest, has been rather easy for the Bulldogs in the early going, the team
averaging close to 30 ppg in their margin of victory. The squad is shooting an
impressive 53.3 percent from the floor and beating foes on the glass by almost
11 rebounds per game, but still the fact that the Bulldogs are hitting free
throws at only 55.2 percent has to be a major concern. Olynyk and Harris lead
the offense with 13.0 ppg each, the latter also handling the action on the
glass to the tune of 10.3 rpg, while Stockton and Kevin Pangos are responsible
for keeping the offense moving with a combined 36 assists thus far.
The Sports Network