Jan. 27, 2000
PDF Formatted Release
NORMAN, Okla. - Ranked 18th in the AP poll and 17th in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (15-3 overall, 3-2 Big 12) travels to face Texas Tech (9-7, 0-5) Saturday at 3 p.m. at the new United Spirit Arena. The game will air on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry, Sr., (play-by-play) and Mark Mathew (analyst) calling the action. The contest will be televised on ESPN Regional (KFOR Channel 4 in Oklahoma City and KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa). Chuck Cooperstein (play-by-play) and Rolando Blackman (analyst) will announce.
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||19.6||8.7||2.1|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.5||4.2||1.4|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||7.3||4.3||1.6|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||6.1||1.7||2.5|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||15.6||3.6||3.8|
TEXAS TECH PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||14||Mario Layne (6-7, 195, Sr.)||14.1||4.8||2.6|
|F||33||Brodney Kennard (6-8, 210, Sr.)||6.7||7.2||1.3|
|C||25||Johnny Phillips (6-9, 235, Jr.)||0.9||1.2||0.2|
|G||3||Rayford Young (5-11, 180, Sr.)||16.6||4.3||4.3|
|G||5||James Ware (6-5, 210, Sr.)||11.1||3.1||2.8|
Oklahoma halted its modest two-game losing streak with a thrilling 80-75 double-overtime win over Iowa State last Saturday in Norman. It was OU's first multiple-overtime affair since a 117-100 triple-overtime victory against Nebraska in 1996.
John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera, who is featured in the Jan. 24 issue of Sports Illustrated (pages 60-63), registered his eighth double-double of the season and sixth in the last nine outings with game highs in points (25) and rebounds (14) versus the Cyclones. The senior forward ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring (19.6 ppg), fifth in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and eighth in steals (1.8 spg). He also leads OU in blocked shots (0.9 bpg) and is third in assists (2.1 apg). Over OU's last four games, Najera is averaging 22.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.3 blocks. He ranks 12th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,373 points and 12th on the all-time rebounding chart with 753 boards.
OU has been terrific from three-point territory, shooting a Big 12-leading .415 on the season and .446 (50-for-112) in five league games. Four Sooners are shooting .400 or better from beyond the arc this year. Kelley Newton leads the Big 12 with his .540 mark and is followed by Tim Heskett (.447), J.R. Raymond (.416) and Hollis Price (.400). Heskett has made 13 of his last 18 three-point attempts (.722) over a three-game span.
About Texas Tech
After starting the season 9-3, Texas Tech has lost its last four games. The Red Raiders have lost their five Big 12 contests by an average of 8.0 points. Included were a two-point home loss to Texas A&M and a three-point road loss to Nebraska. Tech is coming off a 71-57 defeat at Baylor Wednesday in which forward Brodney Kennard scored a team-high 15 points. Guard James Ware produced a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Hit hard by injuries, the Red Raiders lost their leading scorer and rebounder for the rest of the season Jan. 19 when sophomore forward Andy Ellis sustained a dislocated shoulder at Nebraska. Ellis was averaging 16.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Also, senior forward Cliff Owens, who averaged 10.4 points and 7.0 boards per game last year, underwent ankle surgery prior to the season and is sitting out the entire campaign.
Senior guard Rayford Young is averaging 16.6 points per game to lead available players and is also averaging a team-high 4.3 assists per outing. Senior forward Mario Layne averages 14.1 points while Ware averages 11.1 points and is shooting a team-best .420 from three-point range. Kennard's 7.2 rebounds per game leads non-injured players.
Head Coach James Dickey is in his ninth year at Texas Tech where he owns a 154-96 (.616) record.
Series with Texas Tech
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Texas Tech, 13-10, and has won the last three contests. Despite earning victories in their last three trips to Lubbock, the Sooners trail 4-6 there. Kelvin Sampson is 4-3 against Texas Tech as OU's head coach and is 3-0 versus the Red Raiders on their home court.
The Sooners swept Texas Tech last year, winning 78-68 in Norman Jan. 6 and 72-54 in Lubbock Jan. 30. In the first meeting, Eduardo Najera scored a game- and then-career-high 23 points in OU's Big 12 home opener. Michael Johnson added 14 points while Ryan Humphrey registered 11 points and 11 rebounds. OU committed just 10 turnovers compared to Tech's 24. In the rematch in Lubbock, Oklahoma broke its four-game losing skid thanks to Eric Martin's 5-for-8 three-point performance and game-high 26 points. Najera notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards for OU while Rayford Young led the Red Raiders with 16 points.
Oklahoma/Texas Tech Statistical Comparison
|62.6||Opponent Points Average||67.9|
|31.8||Opponent Rebounding Average||40.5|
|.461||Field Goal Percentage||.456|
|.426||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.388|
|.348||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.339|
|.703||Free Throw Percentage||.700|
|18.6||Personal Fouls Average||16.1|
|2.6||Blocked Shots Average||5.3|
Recapping the Iowa State Contest
Playing in its first multiple-overtime contest since the 1995-96 season, Oklahoma survived two extra periods and a tough Iowa State squad, 80-75, Saturday in Norman. The Sooners, who led 34-19 at halftime and 52-38 with 6:47 left in regulation, watched a potential game-winning shot by Cyclone Jamaal Tinsley fall off the rim at the end of the second half with the score knotted at 59. Iowa State failed to steal the victory at the end of the first overtime as well when Michael Nurse missed the second of two free throws that would have untied the 63-63 deadlock. The second overtime was ruled by Eduardo Najera and his Sooner teammates as OU outscored the Cyclones 17-12. Najera, who registered game highs with 25 points and 14 rebounds, scored seven points in the final five minutes to guide the Sooners to the victory. J.R. Raymond scored 20 points with the help of six three-pointers to aid OU and Tim Heskett added 18 off the bench thanks to 6-for-8 three-point shooting, including two makes in the second overtime. The Sooners' 13 treys (on 27 attempts) were a season high. Iowa State forward Marcus Fizer scored a team-high 20 points while Nurse scored 19. The game was Kelvin Sampson's 500th as a collegiate head coach.
Oklahoma will attempt to avenge an earlier season loss when it hosts Texas on ESPN's Big Monday Jan. 31. The game will start at 8 p.m. Then the Sooners travel to face Baylor on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 12:45 p.m. That contest will be televised by ESPN Regional.
Iowa State Game Was Sampson's 500th
Last Saturday's OU game against Iowa State was Kelvin Sampson's 500th as a collegiate head coach. Sampson, who was the 1995 national coach of the year in his first season at Oklahoma, owns a 294-206 lifetime record in 17 seasons. He compiled a 73-45 (.619) record in four years at Montana Tech, a 103-103 (.500) record in seven seasons at Washington State and is 118-58 (.670) in his sixth season at OU. The only Big 12 mentors to coach in more career games are Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton (901), Baylor's Dave Bliss (753) and Nebraska's Danny Nee (607).
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 34-19 (.642) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 46-8 (.852) mark. OU finished 9-7 (fifth place) in 1996-97 and 11-5 (tied for second) in each of the last two years. Kelvin Sampson's Big 12 squads have posted a 20-7 league record at home and a 14-12 mark on the road.
Junior Tim Heskett, OU's career leader in three-point percentage (.430), is shooting .447 from beyond the arc this season and has drained 13 of his last 18 attempts over the team's last three games. Dave Sieger (.405) is the only other Sooner to ever post a career three-point mark above .400. Heskett, who set the single-season school record with a .473 three-point mark last year, ranks fifth on the OU career charts in three-point makes (159) and attempts (370). The Lexington, S.C., native needs just 12 treys to move into second place on the career list. Terry Evans owns the school record with 259 career conversions.
High Praise for Heskett
Following Tim Heskett's 6-for-8 three-point performance (he hit two in the second overtime) against Iowa State last Saturday, Cyclones Head Coach Larry Eustachy said of the Sooner junior, "He just murdered us. When you get to this level, you've got to have mental toughness, and there probably is nobody more mentally tough in this league than him."
Not Necessarily a Slump, But...
In its first nine games this year, Oklahoma shot .500 or better from the field five times and owned a .501 field goal percentage through those contests. In nine games since, however, the Sooners have failed to shoot .500, posting a .425 mark from the floor. OU still touts a .461 field goal percentage for the season, a mark that compares favorably to last year's .421 figure.
Okay, This is a Slump
Sophomore newcomer J.R. Raymond began the season afire, shooting .505 from the field and .534 from three-point range in OU's first nine games. The point guard has recorded just .333 (42-for-126) and .313 (21-for-67) respective marks since, however. He has shot .500 from the field just once in the last nine games. Raymond averaged 18.0 points over OU's first nine games but is averaging 13.2 per outing since.
Not all has been bad for Raymond lately, though, as the Gastonia, N.C., native has led the Sooners in assists in each of the last seven contests. He is averaging 4.9 assists per game during the span. In the team's first 11 games, Raymond averaged 3.2 assists.
Najera Climbing OU's Charts
John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera has already collected a number of in-season honors with his solid play. The senior forward, who is averaging 19.6 points (ranks second in Big 12), 8.7 rebounds (ranks fifth) and 1.8 steals (ranks eighth) per game, is the only Big 12 player to rank in the top 10 in the league in scoring, rebounding and steals. Najera was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP, and was also named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team. Additionally, he earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14. Najera, who shot .415 from the field and .642 from the free throw line last year, has posted .458 and .702 marks so far this season.
The Chihuahua, Mexico, native entered the season ranked 29th in OU career scoring and 15th in rebounding, but now ranks 12th (1,373 points) and 12th (753 boards). Najera needs 19 points to move into 11th place on the all-time scoring list ahead of Harvey Grant. In 18 games this season, he has already passed Cary Carrabine, Scott Martin, Joe King, Damon Patterson, Terry Stotts, Willie Rogers, Brent Price, Lester Lane, Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry, Al Beal, Mookie Blaylock, David Johnson and Terry Evans in career scoring.
This Price is Right
Freshman guard Hollis Price, who has started all five league games for OU, is developing into a steady player on both ends of the floor. Price has scored a career-high-tying 15 points in two of the last four contests (versus Baylor and Colorado). The New Orleans, La., product owns a healthy 1.8 assist/turnover ratio this season and has recorded three or more assists seven times. His shooting percentages are also more than adequate for a guard (.456 from the field, .400 from three-point land and .758 from the foul line). Lightning quick, Price has 10 multiple-steals games to his credit and ranks 15th in the league with 1.6 steals per outing.
Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU averages a Big 12-low 12.8 turnovers per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.6) while forcing five of its last eight opponents into 20 or more turnovers. The Sooners own the third-best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.16).
A Merry Band of Thieves
In its first 10 games, Oklahoma averaged 5.8 steals per contest. The Sooners have stepped up the defensive pressure in the last eight games, though, and are averaging 10.4 steals per outing during the span. Eduardo Najera has a whopping 22 steals in the last seven games (3.1 average).
Najera on The Sporting News' List
Preseason All-American Eduardo Najera appears in the eighth spot on The Sporting News' national player-of-the-year watch list. The 10-player list includes (in order), Quentin Richardson (DePaul), Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati), A.J. Guyton (Indiana), Terence Morris (Maryland), Khalid El-Amin (Connecticut), Chris Mihm (Texas), Morris Peterson (Michigan State), Najera, Shane Battier (Duke) and Ed Cota (North Carolina).
Sooner Guards Shooting .445 From Beyond Arc
Historically an excellent three-point shooting team under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma has done nothing to jeopardize that label so far this season. Through 18 games, the Sooners have made 153-of-369 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .415 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .445 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:
Raymond One of Big 12's Top Newcomers
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks second on the team and 12th in the Big 12 in scoring (15.6 ppg). He also averages 2.9 three-pointers per game (ranks third in league), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and is third in steals (1.6 spg). Raymond has made a team-high 52 three-pointers on 125 attempts (.416).
In his collegiate debut versus Montana State Nov. 19 in Fairbanks, Alaska, Raymond made 9-of-16 field goal attempts, including 5-of-9 three-point tries, and finished with a game-high 29 points. He also contributed six rebounds and five assists in the 91-76 victory and went on to earn Top of the World Classic All-Tournament Team honors. Raymond's 29-point outburst is believed to be the second-highest scoring total by a Sooner in his collegiate debut. In 1972, center Alvan Adams scored 38 points and collected a school-record 28 rebounds against Indiana State in his first-ever game.
Raymond has also been named this year's Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to the All-College Tournament all-tourney squad.
Newton Third on Division I Three-point Shooting Chart
Junior guard Kelley Newton, who sat out last year while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, ranked third in three-point percentage in the Jan. 24 NCAA Division I statistics report with a .540 mark (27-of-50). He trails only Montana State's Pete Conway (.558) and Bowling Green's Keith McLeod (.544). Newton owns the Big 12's top two three-point performances this year with a 6-for-7 (.857) effort versus Georgia Southern and a 5-for-6 (.833) game against Texas A&M.
Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 24.6 minutes per game, has committed just 12 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 37 minutes. The junior guard leads the team with a 2.5 assist/turnover ratio and ranks fourth in the league with 2.8 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 9.6 points per game to rank third on the squad.
Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 18 games.
Four Sooners (Tim Heskett, Kelley Newton, Hollis Price and J.R. Raymond) are shooting .400 or better from three-point range.
Twenty-two of Eduardo Najera's 33 steals have come in the last seven outings (3.1 average).
J.R. Raymond recorded seven steals versus Arkansas-Little Rock, the second most by a Big 12 player this year, but is averaging 1.2 steals in the team's other 17 contests.
Oklahoma shot .500 or better from the field in five of its first nine games but hasn't in nine games since.
In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 68-9 (.883)when scoring 80 or more points and are 54-2 (.964) when scoring at least 80 points at home.
Oklahoma has been outrebounded just four times in its 18 games.
OU has committed fewer turnovers than its opponents in all but two games (George Washington and Colorado). It is averaging a Big 12-low 12.8 turnovers per outing.
Fifty-one of Tim Heskett's 54 field goal conversions (94 percent) have been three-pointers while 27 of Kelley Newton's 32 field goal makes (84 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.
The Sooners are averaging 8.5 three-point makes per game. Last season, OU set a school record with its 8.6 treys per outing.
OU Boasts Nation's Fourth-Longest Postseason Streak
Oklahoma has made 18 consecutive postseason appearances (14 NCAA and four NIT), the fourth-longest streak among Division I programs. Only North Carolina, Georgetown and Indiana own longer postseason streaks (North Carolina and Indiana made last year's NCAA field while Georgetown competed in the NIT). The last time Oklahoma did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The four longest current postseason streaks are as follows:
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
Now in his 17th year as a collegiate head coach, Kelvin Sampson is in his sixth year at the Oklahoma helm. He has averaged 20.6 wins per season at OU and is one of two Big 12 coaches - Kansas' Roy Williams is the other - to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament each of the last five seasons.
Sampson began his head coaching career in 1980 at Montana Tech when he was hired as the program's interim head coach. He recorded a 73-45 mark in four seasons and was inducted into the school's sports hall of fame two years ago.
In 1988, Sampson was named head coach at Washington State and compiled an even 103-103 record over seven years, including two 20-win campaigns.
Hired by Oklahoma on April 25, 1994, he has guided the Sooners to a 118-58 (.670) record and a 71-14 (.835) home mark. In 1997-98, OU finished tied for second place in the Big 12 Conference and played in the league's postseason tournament championship game. Last year, he directed OU to another second-place league finish and an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.
Sampson was named the 1995 national coach of the year by the Associated Press, the USBWA and Basketball Times.
Sampson year by Year
|1981-82||Montana Tech||7-20 (.259)|
|1982-83||Montana Tech||22-9 (.710)|
|1983-84||Montana Tech||22-7 (.759)|
|1984-85||Montana Tech||22-9 (.710)|
|1987-88||Washington State||13-16 (.448)|
|1988-89||Washington State||10-19 (.345)|
|1989-90||Washington State||7-22 (.241)|
|1990-91||Washington State||16-12 (.571)|
|1991-92||Washington State||22-11 (.667)|
|1992-93||Washington State||15-12 (.556)|
|1993-94||Washington State||20-11 (.645)|
Coach Sampson on Television
This season, Oklahoma basketball fans can catch Head Coach Kelvin Sampson on television twice a week with "Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson" and "Sooner Basketball 2000." The shows will give viewers an insider's look at the OU program and feature highlights, interviews and Coach Sampson's insights.
Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson
Hosted by veteran Oklahoma City television sports anchor Bill Teegins, "Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson" airs Fridays at 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. The half-hour show can be seen in Oklahoma City on KWTV Channel 9 Saturdays at 11 a.m. and in Tulsa on TCI Cablevision Channel 9 Fridays at 6 p.m.
Sooner Basketball 2000
"Sooner Basketball 2000" is hosted by Steve Neumann, director of broadcasting at OU. The one-hour show airs in Oklahoma City Sundays at 7 p.m. on NewsNow 53 and later that night at 1:45 a.m. on KWTV Channel 9.
1999-00 Big 12 Standings
(Through Friday, Jan. 28)
3MICHAEL CANO (6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)
A walk-on who has played in eight games this season.
Scored his first career points with a last-minute basket against Arkansas-Little Rock Dec. 11.
5NOLAN JOHNSON (6-4, 215, JR., GUARD)
Has started in 16 of 18 games and is averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting .520 from the field.
Earned second-team junior college All-America honors as a sophomore two years ago.
Played at Kilgore (Texas) Junior College but wrapped up academic requirements at Garden City (Kan.) Community College.
Named Brooklyn (N.Y.) Player of the Year as a high school senior.
10HOLLIS PRICE (6-1, 165, FR., GUARD)
Averaging 6.1 points, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Has scored 15 points in two of the last four games.
Regarded as one of the country's 50 best high school seniors last year at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans.
Earned first-team All-State and New Orleans Metro Player-of-the-Year honors as a senior when he averaged 25.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.
Hit game-winning shot in 1998 17-and-under AAU national championship game and was named tournament MVP.
11J.R. RAYMOND (6-2, 175, SO., GUARD)
Poured in 29 points in first collegiate game Nov. 19.
Ranks first on team in minutes (35.1 mpg) and assists (3.8 apg), and second in scoring (15.6 ppg).
Ranks third in Big 12 with 2.9 three-pointers per game and is shooting .416 from beyond the arc (11th in league).
Earned Big 12 Rookie-of-the-Week honor Dec. 14.
Named Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to Top of the World Classic and All-College all-tourney teams.
Practiced with the team under "partial qualifier" label last year, but was not allowed to play in games.
14TIM HESKETT (6-1, 185, JR., GUARD)
Shooting .447 from three-point range (sixth in Big 12) and has made at least two treys in 15 of 18 games.
Averaging 2.8 three-point makes per game (ranks fourth in Big 12) and just 0.6 turnovers per outing.
Set single-season OU record with his .473 three-point mark last year and is the career leader in three-point percentage (.430).
Ranked second in the Big 12 in three-point percentage and in three-pointers per game (2.5) last year.
20KELLEY NEWTON (6-2, 190, JR., GUARD)
Leads Big 12 in three-point percentage (.540).
Has scored at least 18 points three times this year.
Made 5-of-6 three-pointers and finished with a career-high 19 points versus Texas A&M in league opener. Twenty-seven of his 32 baskets have been three-pointers.
Tore ACL and MCL in his left knee during Oct. 31, 1998, scrimmage and missed the entire season (had surgery Nov. 20).
21EDUARDO NAJERA (6-8, 240, SR., FORWARD)
Averaging 19.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals.
Has played 127 out of 130 minutes in last three games.
A preseason Playboy All-American who was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP and to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team. Has eight double-doubles and six in the last nine games.
Ranks 12th on OU's all-time scoring list with 1,373 points.
Averaged team highs in points (15.5) and rebounds (8.3), and ranked second in assists (2.2) and steals (1.8) last year.
Averaged 18.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in first two NCAA Tournament rounds to lead OU to Sweet 16.
22OLEG REZTSOV (7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)
Played a career-high 10 minutes versus Mount St. Mary's.
Has scored three points this season.
Is the tallest player in school history.
Maintains his own web site (http://i.am/sooner).
30JARRETT HART (6-3, 210, FR., GUARD)
A first-team All-State selection at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., last year.
Averaged 17.4 points, 8.5 boards and 7.3 assists as a senior.
Helped Arkansas Hawks AAU team to national title over the summer.
32VICTOR AVILA (6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)
Averaging 4.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Has recorded two double-doubles this season.
Tied career highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds versusGeorgia Southern Dec. 18 and had career-high four assists.
A second-team junior college All-American who averaged 23.7 points, 15.3 boards and 2.8 blocks per contest in 1997-98.
33RENZI STONE (6-10, 250, SR., FORWARD/CENTER)
Has started all 18 games and is averaging 4.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per outing.
A starter in 18 games a year ago who averaged 3.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest while shooting a team-high .531 from the field.
Grabbed at least four rebounds 17 times last year.
One of seven OU students nominated this past September for a Rhodes Scholarship.
Has missed just one game during his Sooner career.
34JAMEEL HEYWOOD (6-6, 220, JR., FORWARD)
Shooting team-high .641 from field and averaging 3.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.5 minutes per contest.
Grabbed a career-high 12 boards vs. Texas A&M in 17 minutes.
Transferred from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
A second-team All-Jayhawk Conference selection as a freshman and sophomore (averaged 17.0 points both seasons).
Named the 1995 Bronx (N.Y.) Player of the Year as a junior at Evander Childs High School.
Voted 1996 New England Player of the Year at Salisbury(Conn.) Prep School.