NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma men's basketball season came to a close on Sunday as it was not one of the 32 teams selected for inclusion in the National Invitation Tournament.
The Sooners, who finished with a 16-15 overall record and tied for seventh place with a 6-10 Big 12 Conference mark, saw their 25-year postseason streak end. It was the longest streak in NCAA Division I.
"Not making the postseason is very disappointing," said head coach Jeff Capel. "That was a goal of ours at the beginning of the season, but we didn't do enough things to make it happen. We felt like we were a team that could have done some really good things in the postseason if we had the opportunity. But that's our fault.
"We're sad about our streak ending and we're disappointed about it, but we're looking forward to starting a new one."
Oklahoma, which stood at 15-8 overall and 6-4 in the Big 12 in mid-February before losing seven of its final eight games, was strong defensively all season. OU surrendered just 59.6 points a contest the program's fewest since the 1977-78 season and allowed teams to shoot just 40.6 percent from the field. Only two teams shot above 50 percent against the Sooners all season and nobody scored more than 80 points against them.
Said Capel, "I thought this was a very productive first season. Did we win as many games as we would have liked to win? No. But I think overall our team got better in a lot of areas. Individual players improved, especially some guys who got their first taste of consistent minutes. I think our guys competed and played hard night in and night out.
"One of the things I wanted from the beginning of the year was to show improvement, and I think we did that in most areas. I'm proud to have been this team's coach this year, especially the seniors. My staff and I really appreciate the way they embraced us and really worked hard for us."
Carter was a third-team All-Big 12 pick after he averaged 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in conference play. He scored in double figures in 15 of the team's 16 league outings and shot .865 from the free throw line on the year. Carter also set a school record by making 37 consecutive free throw attempts.
Neal, the 2006 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, averaged 10.0 points per game this season and led OU with 49 3-pointers. He was the only Sooner to start all 16 conference games and he posted a .794 season mark from the foul line.
Sampson, who graduated in three-and-a-half years with a degree in communication, played in 12 games this season. He was 4-for-9 from 3-point range and scored 15 points on the year. He also earned an assist on the team's final field goal Friday against Kansas.
Walker played in 26 contests this season and made three starts. The point guard averaged 1.0 point, 1.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists.
The last time Oklahoma did not qualify for postseason competition was in the 1980-81 season, Billy Tubbs' first year as head coach.