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Former teammates Je'lon Hornbeak and Isaiah Austin will now be pitted against one another for the first time of their collegiate careers. Which freshman will outshine friend turned foe when the Oklahoma Sooners and Baylor Bears clash on the hardwood?
The Baylor Bears sit firmly in second place with only a single loss in conference play. Defending home court has been the theme and the Bears are one of the best at doing so. Currently Baylor is 9-2 at home this season, yet their losses have been against the likes of the Charleston Cougars as well as the Northwestern Wildcats.
Wednesday night, Pierre Jackson and crew will be in action at Ferrell Center coming off a win against the TCU Horned Frogs. The opponent? An Oklahoma Sooners team looking to rebound after a respectable loss to Big 12 leader, the Kansas Jayhawks. A win will place the Sooners in a tie for second in the conference with who other than Baylor. On the other hand, a loss potentially drops them to fifth.
Oklahoma is on a three game losing streak when playing in Waco, Texas. Depending on which Baylor Bears team shows up, the Sooners, led by Romero Osby, could walk away with a win. Road games are not a new phenomenon for Lon Kruger's squad as they have played 10 games on the road to just 8 at home.
Baylor boasts a +11.5 scoring margin as well as holding opponents to an average of 56.3 points per game against conference foes. Much the credit is attributed to senior guard, Jackson, who tallied up 34 total points against the Sooners in the last two contests. He is certainly living up to the Big 12 Player of the Year hype that he garnered at the beginning of the season with 18.7 points per game and 5.9 assists.
Adding to the output on the scoreboard is freshman 7-footer and former high school teammate of Je'lon Hornbeak, Isaiah Austin, who averages 14.5 points per game. Kansas' Jeff Withey was a good tune up for the Oklahoma forwards before heading to Waco. Not only will Austin have a constant impact in the lane with his shot blocking ability, but he will also be getting a handful of rebounds. However, Austin possess the ability to step outside and shoot from beyond the arc. On the season, he has shot 45 three-pointers and connected on 17 of them.
Corey Jefferson rounds out the trio as the final double-figure scorer with 12.8 points per outing. Jefferson (8.4 rebounds per game) combined with Austin (8.8 rebounds per game) come up with nearly half of the Bears rebounding total. Getting a body on both of these players will be crucial for success against Baylor.
The game tips of at 6:02 PM CST and can be found on ESPNU for those fortunate enough to have already subscribed to the network.