Shockers face tough test in OKC

WICHITA, Kan. (WSU release) OPENING TIPS:

· The teams meet for the third-consecutive year. OU leads the all-time series 5-2. WSU won at CEA in December, 2016. Oklahoma upset the third-ranked Shockers last December at INTRUST Bank Arena behind 29 points and 10 assists from Trae Young. The series continues next December in Wichita.

· The Shockers are over .500 and coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season after defeating Baylor last Saturday, 71-63. WSU used first-half runs of 12-0, 18-1 and 11-0 to build a 43-9 lead. Visiting Baylor clawed to within 60-55 at the 3:47-mark before the Shockers regrouped and put the game away. Samajae Haynes-Jones recorded a double-double with 21 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. He was 6-of-11 from three. Erik Stevenson added 18 points off the bench.

· The youthful Shockers face their fourth 2018 NCAA Tournament team in eight games this season. WSU defeated Providence and suffered four-point losses to Alabama and Davidson.

· Since 2010, the Shockers are 7-2 against teams from the Big 12.

· Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Shockers own the most true road wins (49-8) and highest percentage (.860) in Division I. Three of the eight losses have come in overtime. WSU has also been the decade's best road team at 75-16 (.824) since beginning of the 2010-11 campaign.

· Markis McDuffie needs 10 points to become the 47th member of WSU’s 1,000-point club… WSU is 77-22 over the last four seasons when McDuffie sees action. Saturday is his 100th career game… McDuffie entered the week as the American Athletic Conference’s leading scorer (19.6 ppg). Since an eight-point performance in the season-opener, he's scored at least 14 in each of the past six contests.

· Jaime Echenique (team-high nine blocks) is the first Shocker to block a shot in each of the first seven games of a season since Cliff Levingston (1980). He also averages a team-best 6.3 boards.

· WSU is one of seven schools that have appeard in each of the last seven NCAA Tournaments. The Shockers' run of nine-straight 25-win seasons is one of the nation's four-longest active streaks.

· This is Gregg Marshall's youngest team ever, but it might also be his best in terms of raw talent and athleticism. KenPom ranks WSU 345th out of 351 Division I teams in minutes continuity. The seven freshman are accounting for 41.1% of the team's points and 47.7% of its minutes. Just three Shockers team have had a higher proportion of points.

THE SERIES WITH OKLAHOMA: OU leads 5-2

WSU and Oklahoma meet for the third-consecutive year. The 2016 meeting ended a 41-year series hiatus.

The teams have split the last two games, with each winning on the other's pseudo-home floor.

WSU won at CEA in December, 2016 behind 17 points from Zach Brown. Daishon Smith (the game's official MVP) logged 13 points (all in the second half) and six assists, along with a highlight reel dunk that made SportsCenter's top-10. Edmond native Shaquille Morris tallied seven points, six rebounds and five blocks.

Oklahoma upset the third-ranked Shockers last December at INTRUST Bank Arena behind 29 points and 10 assists from Trae Young. The win vaulted the Sooners into the AP top-25 for the first time. Both Young and WSU's Landry Shamet (17 points, five assists) were selected in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft.

The series continues next December with OU's visit to INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita.

The teams split a home-and-home in December of 1974 and 1975. Robert Elmore scored 20 points for the Shockers in both games.

LAST MEETING WITH OKLAHOMA:

Dec. 16, 2017 | Wichita, Kan./ INTRUST Bank Arena

Oklahoma 91, Wichita State 83

OU freshman Trae Young scored a game-high 29 and broke the INTRUST Bank Arena assist record (10).

OU hit 10 first-half threes to build a 15-point lead.

WSU's Darral Willis Jr. recorded a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Landry Shamet (17), Conner Frankamp (14) and Shaquille Morris (10) joined him in double-figures.

WSU lost at home for the first time in almost a year, snapping a 14-game streak in Wichita.

The teams finished even on the boards at 43-each. WSU had outrebounded each of its last 14 foes and came in leading the nation in rebounding margin.

OU built its lead to 18 with 7:15 to go but went scoreless over the next six minutes. WSU pulled within 84-78 with 40 seconds left on Frankamp's three but could get no closer.

SCOUTING OKLAHOMA:

Oklahoma (18-14, 8-10 Big 12 in 2017-18) returns three starters and 10 total lettermen off a team that earned an at-large bid and a No. 10 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament.

With the loss of All-American Trae Young, the Sooners were picked eighth in the Big 12 preseason poll, but others have stepped up in his absence. OU is 7-1 with neutral court wins over Florida, Dayton and Notre Dame. Its only loss came against No. 25 Wisconsin in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinal.

OU enters the weekend ranked 23rd nationally in field goal percentage defense.

Christian James is the team's top scorer at 19.9 points. He’s averaging just under three triples-per-game, while shooting better than 42% from deep.

The Sooner front court is anchored by sophomore forward Brady Manek (9.9 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and senior center Jamuni McNeace (9.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.1 bpg).

OU benefited from an influx of experience to its backcourt with the addition of graduate transfers Aaron Calixte (Maine) and Miles Reynolds (Pacific). Calixte has started all eight games and is averaging 9.4 points and a team-high 2.9 assists. Reynolds is averaging 9.1 points in 22.5 minutes per game off the bench.

MATCHUP MASHUP:

· WSU head coach Gregg Marshall and OU's Lon Kruger have combined for 1,110 career victories.

· A native of Silver Lake, Kan. Kruger played and coached at Kansas State. As a head coach, he’s 8-2 all-time against the Shockers (4-1 at KSU, 2-0 at Florida, 1-0 at Illinois and 1-1 at OU).

· Marshall is 1-1 against Kruger and 1-2 against the Sooners, having previously coached Winthrop against OU in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament.

· WSU’s second-year graduate assistant John Robert Simon is a 2013 graduate of Putnam City North High School, where he earned honorable mention Big All-City honors in both football (quarterback) and basketball. Simon walked on to the Shocker basketball team and played four seasons.

· Markis McDuffie is the only Shocker left from the 2016 game. He was injured for last year's rematch.

· Samajae Haynes-Jones is the only active Shocker who saw time in last year’s game against Oklahoma. He logged one point and one steal in six minutes but missed all four of his shots from the field. OU has more returning minutes from the Shocker side of the boxscore than WSU. Austin Reaves, who played 15 minutes and finished with six points and three rebounds in last year’s game, transferred to OU last spring. Five Sooners are back. Brady Manek (21 points on five threes), Christian James (13 points, seven rebounds in 37 minutes) and Jamuni McNeace (five points, 10 rebounds) all put in strong performances.