Norman, OK – The sixth-ranked Baylor Bears, who have lost two 0 start, try to get back to their winning ways tonight as they head to the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman for a Big 12 Conference clash with the Oklahoma Sooners.
This will be the 46th meeting in the all-time series, and the Sooners hold a sizeable 37-8 in the rivalry after winning the second regular-season meeting and in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament over Baylor last year. Baylor's star forward Perry Jones III was forced to sit out the latter of those encounters, but the sophomore will look to end the Sooners' streak against his team tonight.
Head coach Scott Drew can't be criticized too harshly for his team's current two-game slide, as he went up against the talented Kansas Jayhawks before an 89-88 loss to the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. The losses quickly dropped Baylor's lead in the Big 12 standings to third place behind its two previous opponents. Baylor shot the ball very well against Missouri as it connected on 57.1 percent of its field goal attempts and on 7-of-16 from three-point range, but the Tigers were able to attempt 10 more free throws to sneak away with the victory. Baylor is third in the Big 12 in scoring margin, as they have outscored their opponents by an average of 15.3 ppg.
Baylor has a deep attack as five players average double figures in scoring. The Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, Jones III leads the team with 13.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Quincy Miller was excellent in the loss to Missouri, as he poured in a career-high 29 points. Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson are both contributing just under 13.0 ppg. Acy is an exciting high-flyer who leads the team with 45 blocks. Brady Heslip is a serious threat from long range as he has knocked down 46.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc coming into this game.
Oklahoma is also coming off a close loss as it dropped an 81-75 decision to Texas A&M in an overtime thriller on Saturday. The loss to the Aggies made the Sooners 12-6 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12. Head coach Lon Kruger has his a tough week ahead of him, as Baylor will be the first of three straight ranked opponents for his team. The Sooners, who rank last in the conference in scoring defense (67.2 ppg), will have to raise their effort at the defensive end. Oklahoma will rely on its strong rebounding to stay close with the Bears, as it ranks third in the league with a +5.1 average margin.
Steven Pledger leads the Sooners and is ranked fourth in the Big 12 in scoring (17.2 ppg) and three-pointers per game (2.6). The junior guard has been consistent as he has scored in double figures in every game this season but one. Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby are a talented forward tandem. Fitzgerald has scored in double figures in 13 straight games and averaged 15.2 ppg on 52.2 percent shooting from the floor in those outings. Osby is chipping in 11.9 ppg and is the third-best rebounder in the Big 12 with an average of 8.1 boards per game. Sam Grooms runs the show and carries an average of 5.4 apg.