Sports

Texas challenges No. 17 Oklahoma in Big 12 action

Norman, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - They have identical overall records, but only Oklahoma is nationally ranked at No. 17 this week, as the Sooners host the Texas Longhorns in Big 12 Conference action at the Lloyd Noble Center on Tuesday night.

Oklahoma enters the week third in the Big 12 standings with a mark of 8-6, trailing only Kansas and Iowa State, while Texas is in the bottom half of the standings, sporting a 6-6 record which had the group tied with Baylor.

The Sooners saw a five-game win streak come to a close on Valentine's Day when they bowed to Kansas State in Manhattan by a score of 59-56 in a very physical outing. Even though the Wildcats are below .500 in conference play, Oklahoma has been swept by them this season.

As for the Longhorns, a group that recently lost four straight decisions, they just won their third in a row on Saturday with a 56-41 victory against a weak Texas Tech group at home. Texas improved to a perfect 17-0 versus the Red Raiders in games played in Austin under head coach Rick Barnes.

The Sooners stomped Texas in the first meeting of the season early last month by a score of 70-49 in Austin. As a result, the all-time series now stands at 51-35 in favor of Oklahoma.

Myles Turner had a huge game for Texas over the weekend, scoring a game-high 25 points and pulling down a career-best 12 rebounds as the Longhorns beat up on Texas Tech yet again at home. Turner was the lone double-digit scorer for the hosts, but then again they didn't really need anyone else to pick up the pace due to the fact that they held Tech to just 33.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 7-of-25 behind the 3-point line.

Turner, who has been primarily a reserve this season, is now tied for second on the team in scoring with 11.3 ppg, matching the output up Jonathan Holmes. The other similarity between the pair is that Turner is pulling down a team- best 6.5 rpg and Holmes is right on his tail with 6.3 rpg for a group that is beating opponents on the glass by just under 10 rpg. Isaiah Taylor leads the offense overall with 13.3 ppg, while Javan Felix checks in with 10.3 ppg with only four starts under his belt.

Oklahoma held Kansas State to a mere 26.5 percent shooting from the field this past Saturday, yet it was KSU that pulled out the three-point win at home nonetheless, thanks mostly to a 28-13 scoring edge at the free-throw line. Buddy Hield finished with 14 points, four assists and three steals, but he may not have been as aggressive as usual due to the fact that he was assessed a flagrant foul early on. Jordan Woodward tacked on 13 points and TaShawn Thomas 10 as they tried to make up for the loss of Ryan Spangler who fouled out with just six points and seven rebounds.

Perhaps most remarkable about the Sooners this season is that they've kept the same starting lineup for all 25 games, and four of those five performers are scoring in double figures at the moment. Hield leads the attack with 17.4 ppg, while Isaiah Cousins produces another 11.9 ppg and has combined with Hield to knock down a collective 113-of-274 shots behind the 3-point line. As a group, the Sooners are 34.6 percent accurate out on the perimeter, compared to 30.5 percent for a set of opponents who have taken more than one-third of all field goal attempts from long range.