Tulsa, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - The 16th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners are set for an intrastate battle with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday afternoon at the Reynolds Center.
Oklahoma has been idle since an 82-63 win over Missouri last Friday in Norman as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Four of the Sooners' seven opponents have spent time ranked in the AP Top 25 this season. This will be only their second true road game.
Tulsa, which went to the NCAA Tournament last season, is off to a 5-4 start under first-year head coach Frank Haith, formerly of Missouri and Miami. The Golden Hurricane are coming off Wednesday's 69-66 home loss to Division II foe Southeastern Oklahoma State on Wednesday. It marked the team's first loss to a D-II squad since 1977 and also snapped a modest two-game win streak.
OU leads the all-time series, 29-11, and that includes victories in 13 of the last 14 meetings.
Defensive pressure is the name of the game for the Sooners, who have held opponents to 61.3 points per game on 36.2-percent shooting from the floor and 27.3-percent from 3-point range. In fact, all seven of OU's opponents were held below their season's scoring average.
The Sooners simply smothered Missouri last week, combining an efficient offensive output with that relentless defense. Ryan Spangler (10.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg) led the way with a season-high 18 points, Buddy Hield (16.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) had 17 points and three steals, and Isaiah Cousins (12.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) added 16 points as the Sooners shot 57.4 percent from the field and made 10-of-20 threes. OU changed the course of the game with a 15-0 run to start the second half, as the Tigers missed their first seven shots after the break.
Tulsa is led by James Woodard, the reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Week, who is averaging 14.4 points and shooting 38.9 percent from the perimeter (21-of-54). Woodard shares the backcourt with fellow junior Shaquille Harrison, who averages 11.4 points after scoring 24 against Southeastern Oklahoma, two shy of his career-high.
Surprisingly, Tulsa found itself trailing that D-II squad by as many as 19 points with 7:30 remaining before putting together a rally that eventually fell three points short. The Golden Hurricane shot just 34.8 percent as a team, including a 6-of-23 effort from the perimeter. D'Andre Wright and Marquel Curtis joined Harrison in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Woodard finished with only six points in 35 minutes.
An interesting note in this matchup: Tulsa's Woodard is the older brother of OU sophomore point guard Jordan Woodard, who is averaging 8.1 points, 4.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds.