Jan 28, 2003

 

By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer

NORMAN, Okla. - On a night when Ebi Ere showed signs of breaking out of his scoring slump, Hollis Price was as solid as ever for No. 6 Oklahoma. That was too much for Texas A&M.

Price scored 24 points in 36 minutes as the Sooners extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 33 games with a 75-68 victory Tuesday night.

"He's one of those players, you know that he's going to find a way, if there's any way out there, to help his team win," Texas A&M coach Melvin Watkins said. "When he has the ball in his hands, nine out of 10 times he's going to make something very positive happen.

"On the way out I was asking him, I was making sure he's a senior. It's time for him to move on."

Ere added 18 points for the Sooners (14-3, 5-1 Big 12). He came in averaging 15.4 points per game, but had gone four straight games in single figures while shooting 9-of-48.

He continued to struggle with his shot, going 5-of-14, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range, but he scored 13 first-half points in part because he was more aggressive driving to the basket.

"I wanted to get to the basket first, get a couple of easy buckets, then step out and try to shoot 3s later in the game," Ere said. "But they still weren't falling."

Bernard King scored 21 points for Texas A&M (10-6, 2-3) to become the school's career scoring leader. He moved past Vernon Smith, who scored 1,778 points from 1977-81.

Antoine Wright added 13 points and Jesse King had 10 for A&M, which kept scrapping after falling behind by 19 early in the second half.

Oklahoma put together a 14-0 run in the first half to get control after a listless start in which it committed six of its 11 turnovers. The Aggies led 13-9 before Price made a 3-pointer and followed with a short bank shot. Ere added a short jumper and two free throws in the spurt.

The Aggies, meanwhile, went scoreless for nearly seven minutes, missing nine shots and turning it over twice.

Oklahoma scored the first seven points of the second half to build a 48-29 lead. Texas A&M gradually chipped away and got within 68-61 with 3:44 left. The Aggies nearly cut the margin to four, but a 3-point try by Kevin Turner with 2:55 remaining rimmed out.

"I thought that was in but it just didn't fall," Turner said.

Quannas White then hit a jumper in the lane to make it 70-61, and after an A&M turnover, Kevin Bookout scored on a pass from Price for an 11-point lead with 1:51 to play.

"It's always going to be difficult for anyone to come in here and get a win," Watkins said. "I was really glad with the effort the kids gave when they could have easily said, 'We can't do it today, Coach."'

The Sooners beat Texas A&M for the seventh straight time and ran their record in the series to 18-1.

The game was Oklahoma's first at home since a 69-64 overtime victory over Texas Tech on Jan. 20. A review of that game showed two brief clock stoppages late in regulation. After an investigation by the Big 12, Oklahoma agreed to use a new clock operator and the league instructed its officials to use their electronic timing devices to start the clock in the final minute of each half and in overtime.

There was one glitch in the final 30 seconds of the first half when time ran off the shot clock during a dead ball, but it was quickly fixed. .