Norman, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Seeking to extend their win streak to five straight, the 16th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners shoot for that goal on Saturday as they host the Kansas State Wildcats in Big 12 Conference action at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma has suffered three defeats in 2014-15, two of which have come against top-20 opponents in Wisconsin and Washington, the latter being a two-point setback last month in the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas. Since that loss to the Huskies, the Sooners have rattled off four straight victories, the latest being a 70-49 thrashing of 10th-ranked Texas earlier this week, on the road no less.
A perfect 7-0 at home, every one of Oklahoma's victories have come by double digits.
Meanwhile, Kansas State is just one game over .500, but managed to snap a three-game slide on Wednesday night with a 58-53 triumph over TCU. The Wildcats are still seeking their first true road win of the season, after coming up empty in three attempts.
The Sooners lead the all-time series by a count of 105-94, claiming victory in 60 of the 86 battles played in Norman over the years. The most recent meeting resulted in an 86-73 win for Oklahoma in this facility last season.
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger, the only Division I head coach ever to take five different teams to the NCAA Tournament, was also the top man at Kansas State between 1986-1990, taking the program to the NCAA Tournament all four seasons. Kruger also played for the Wildcats and was named the Big Eight Player of the Year in 1973 and 1974.
Both sides had trouble scoring in the first half in Manhattan earlier this week, but the Wildcats nearly doubled their output in the second half as they secured the five-point home win over TCU. Marcus Foster stole the spotlight for Kansas State, delivering a game-high 23 points in 29 minutes off the bench, thanks to his 10-of-12 shooting at the free-throw line and 3-of-6 behind the 3-point line.
For Foster, who was held scoreless by Oklahoma State last weekend and tallied a mere two points in his last start on New Year's Eve versus Georgia, he leads the team overall in scoring with 13.7 ppg as he actually shoots better beyond the arc (.446) than he does the field overall (.428). Thomas Gipson chips in with 11.7 ppg and Nino Williams 11.1 ppg, although both Gipson and Williams are listed as questionable this weekend due to injuries.
Against a team that was supposed to be one of the best, not only in the Big 12 but the nation as well, the Sooners destroyed the Longhorns last Monday night on the road. Texas was limited to just 30.0 percent shooting from the field, 6-of-21 beyond the arc, and was outscored in the paint by a 34-16 margin. Buddy Hield led the charge for the visitors with 13 points and seven rebounds, followed by Isaiah Cousins and TaShawn Thomas with 12 points apiece, the latter clearing a game-high 11 boards. Jordan Woodard and Dinjiyl Walker checked in with 10 points each, the former also handing out six assists.
As the most productive 3-point shooter, converting 39 triples in 14 starts, Hield leads the Sooners in scoring with 15.8 ppg and has also found a way to be an influence in the paint with 5.5 rpg. The same goes for Cousins (13.4 ppg) who not only connects on 45.2 percent of his 3-point tries, but is also second on the unit with 6.4 rpg, trailing only Ryan Spangler (9.4 ppg) with his 8.1 rpg.