Feb. 19, 2000

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Game Information
Ranked 20th in the AP poll and 19th in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (20-4 overall, 8-3 Big 12) travels to face Kansas (18-7, 7-4) Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. 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 regionally by ABC. Ron Franklin (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) will announce.

Oklahoma Update
Oklahoma rebounded from its 74-71 home loss to Oklahoma State by topping Nebraska on the road Monday night, 62-54. The Sooners, who trailed just once in the game (5-4), won despite shooting just .344 from the field and .261 from beyond the arc. OU has won six of its last seven contests.

All-America candidate Eduardo Najera was held 10 points, his lowest output of the season, versus the Huskers but still recorded his sixth double-double in the last eight games and 10th in the last 15 contests by also grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. He ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring (19.0 ppg), second in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and 11th in steals (1.7 spg). Over OU's last eight games, Najera is averaging 18.3 points and 12.8 rebounds. He is one of only two Sooners in school history (Ryan Minor is the other) to rank in the top 10 in career points (10th), rebounds (sixth), steals (seventh) and blocked shots (sixth).

Junior college transfer Nolan Johnson has made hefty contributions of late, as evidenced by his 12.2 scoring and 6.2 rebounding averages over the last five contests (he is averaging 8.4 points and 4.7 boards per game on the season). The guard is shooting .561 from the field on the year and boasts a .635 mark in Big 12 games. He has also made 15 of his last 16 free throw attempts.

About Kansas
The preseason favorite to win the Big 12 regular season title, Kansas has dropped five of its last eight games and stands in sixth place in the conference. The Jayhawks are coming off a 64-62 home loss to first-place Iowa State Wednesday, a defeat that broke their 13-game Allen Fieldhouse winning streak.

Junior guard Kenny Gregory (13.5 ppg) leads four Jayhawks who average double figures in scoring. Gregory is followed by freshman forwards Drew Gooden (10.9 ppg) and Nick Collison (10.4 ppg) and sophomore guard Jeff Boschee (10.3 ppg). Gooden paces the team with his 7.6 rebounding average and is followed by Collison at 7.0. Guard Kirk Hinrich is a third freshman starter for KU.

Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (81.4 ppg), rebounding margin (+10.0 rpg), assists (19.5 apg), blocked shots (5.6 bpg) and steals (9.0 spg). The team also ranks third in field goal percentage (.468), eighth in three-point percentage (.337) and seventh in free throw percentage (.672).

Head coach Roy Williams, in his 12th season, is 323-79 (.803) at Kansas. He is 14-8 against the Sooners. Assistant coach Joe Holladay is an OU graduate and was a guard on the Sooner basketball team from 1967-69. He averaged 7.2 points per game as a senior when OU went 7-19.

Series with Kansas
Kansas, the only Big 12 team that owns a winning record against Oklahoma, is 125-60 all-time versus the Sooners. The Jayhawks boast a commanding 63-16 series advantage in Lawrence and have won seven of the last eight there. OU's last win at Allen Fieldhouse was an 80-77 victory in 1993. Kelvin Sampson is 2-6 against Kansas as OU's head coach and is 0-3 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Last year in Norman, OU turned in one of its worst offensive performances under Sampson in a 60-50 loss to KU on Feb. 20. OU posted its lowest field goal percentage (.265) under the fifth-year head coach, as well as its lowest point total in a half (14 in the first). The Sooners trailed by just six at the break, despite shooting a mere .161 in the first 20 minutes. Eric Chenowith, who finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, was the only player to shoot better than .500 from the field (9-for-13). Michael Johnson led OU with 16 points while Eduardo Najera (12) led three Sooners who gathered at least 10 boards.

Oklahoma/Kansas Statistical Comparison

OKLAHOMACATEGORYKANSAS
20-4Overall Record18-7
76.0Points Average81.4
62.4Opponent Points Average70.8
37.0Rebounds Average45.2
32.4Opponent Rebounding Average35.2
.460Field Goal Percentage.468
.415Opponent Field Goal Percentage.401
.4013-Pt. Percentage.337
.334Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage.355
.704Free Throw Percentage.672
18.5Personal Fouls Average21.8
15.4Assists Average19.5
12.5Turnovers Average17.5
2.6Blocked Shots Average5.6
7.2Steals Average9.0

Recapping the Nebraska Contest
Oklahoma bolted to a 15-point first-half lead against the Huskers and then hung on for a hard-fought 62-54 victory Monday in Lincoln. The Sooners, who led 28-13 and 32-17, went scoreless over the last five minutes of the first half and nearly two minutes of the second stanza as Nebraska cut the margin to two. OU extended its lead back to nine three times, only to watch the Huskers get within one, 54-53, at the 1:18 mark. J.R. Raymond's three-pointer with 48 seconds left gave the Sooners a four-point lead and the team made five of six free throw attempts down the stretch to seal the win. Raymond and Nolan Johnson totaled 14 points each to lead OU while Eduardo Najera and Tim Heskett scored 10 apiece. Najera also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Oklahoma shot just .344 from the field, its lowest figure since Dec. 22, but outrebounded the Huskers, 42-36. Larry Florence scored 17 to lead Nebraska while Kimani Ffriend had 10 rebounds.

OU Ranked Higher Than KU
Sunday's game marks the first time since the 1990-91 season that the Sooners are ranked higher in the AP poll than the Jayhawks at the time of competition. The last time OU faced Kansas with a higher AP ranking was Jan. 8, 1991. The Sooners, who won that game in Norman by an 88-82 score, were ranked 12th while Kansas was not ranked.

Coming Up
Oklahoma returns to Norman for its final home games of the season against Texas Tech on Wednesday (ESPN Regional) and Missouri on Saturday (ESPN). Both contests will start at 8:05 p.m.

Sampson Seeks No. 300
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson will pocket his 300th career victory with OU's next win. Sampson, who is in his 17th year as a collegiate head coach, owns a 299-207 (.591) career record and is 123-59 (.676) in his sixth campaign at Oklahoma.

Sooners Continue Road Success
Oklahoma sports a 16-7 (.696) record in its past 23 Big 12 road contests. The Sooners, who went 6-2 in conference road games last year, are 3-2 so far this season with wins over Baylor, Texas Tech and Nebraska. OU's road losses this season came at Texas and Colorado.

OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 39-20 (.661) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 48-11 (.814) 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 22-8 league record at home and a 17-12 mark on the road.

Eduardo Najera: The Big 12's Best?
Is Eduardo Najera the best player in the Big 12 Conference? He's certainly making a case for himself, especially lately...

Ranks second in Big 12 games in scoring (18.7 ppg), leads the league in rebounding (10.9 rpg) and ranks seventh in steals (1.9 spg).

Boasts a league-best seven double-doubles in conference action.

Has 12 double-doubles this year and has recorded six in the last eight games.

Ranks second in the Big 12 (all games) in scoring (19.0 ppg), second in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and 10th in steals (1.7 spg). He is the only player to rank in the top 10 in all three categories.

Averaging 38.4 minutes over the last nine games.

Has attempted an average of 6.8 free throws per game, fourth most in the Big 12.

Is the only Sooner to score in double figures in all 24 games this year.

Has led the team in both scoring and rebounding nine times on the season.

Has recorded three or more assists nine times this season and three or more steals on six occasions.

Has started in 56 consecutive games.

Ranks 10th in career scoring at OU (1,477 points), sixth in rebounding (827), seventh in steals (174) and sixth in blocked shots (83). Only he and Ryan Minor rank in the school's all-time top 10 in the four categories.

Was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP this year and was named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.

Earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14 and Feb. 7.

Was featured in the Feb. 7 issue of ESPN The Magazine and the Jan. 24 issue of Sports Illustrated.

"Najera has solidified his position as a first-round pick. Scouts love his toughness and ability to get to the basket. He will be a pick and a favorite on any roster." - ESPN.com's Andy Katz.

Najera Fourth In CBS' Wooden Award Watch
Eduardo Najera currently rates as the fourth-leading candidate to win the 2000 John R. Wooden Award, given to the nation's most outstanding player, according to CBS SportsLine (www.cbssportsline.com). He is the Big 12's highest rated player on the list.

PlayerTeam
1. Kenyon MartinCincinnati
2. Troy MurphyNotre Dame
3. Chris CarrawellDuke
4. Eduardo NajeraOklahoma
5. Chris MihmTexas
6. Mateen CleavesMichigan State
7. Khalid El-AminConnecticut
8. Courtney AlexanderFresno State
9. Desmond MasonOklahoma State
10. Quentin RichardsonDePaul

Johnson's Production Increases with Minutes
Guard Nolan Johnson, a junior college transfer who didn't play basketball last season because he was wrapping up academic requirements, has appeared as comfortable on the court over the last several games as he has all year. He is averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in OU's last five contests and has upped his season averages to 8.4 and 4.7, respectively. During the five-game span, Johnson is also averaging 32.2 minutes per outing. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he is shooting .818 from the free throw line this season and .561 from the field (.635 in Big 12 action).

Raymond Vies For Newcomer of the Year
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks ninth in the Big 12 in scoring (15.6 ppg). He also averages 3.2 three-pointers per game (ranks second), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and is second in steals (1.5 spg). Raymond has made a league-high 76 three-pointers on 173 attempts (.439) and has scored in double digits in all but three games (scored nine each time).

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.

Target Practice
Junior Tim Heskett, OU's career leader in three-point percentage (.422), is shooting .422 from beyond the arc this season. 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, is tied for second on the OU career charts in three-point makes (170) and ranks fifth in attempts (403). Terry Evans owns the school record with 259 career conversions.

This Price is Right
Freshman guard Hollis Price, who has started all 11 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 twice in Big 12 play (versus Baylor and at Colorado). The New Orleans, La., product owns a healthy 2.2 assist/turnover ratio and has recorded three or more assists 11 times (he has led OU in the category the last three games). Lightning quick, Price also has 11 multiple-steals games to his credit.

Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU averages a Big 12-low 12.5 turnovers per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.4). The Sooners also own the second best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.2).

Sooner Guards Shooting .429 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 24 games, the Sooners have made 200-of-499 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .401 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .429 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:

Player3FG3FGAPct.3FG/G
J.R. Raymond76173.4393.2
Tim Heskett62147.4222.6
Kelley Newton3578.4491.5
Hollis Price1438.3680.6

Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 22.8 minutes per game, has committed just 14 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 39 minutes. The junior guard leads the Big 12 with a 2.8 assist/turnover ratio and also ranks sixth in the league with 2.6 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 8.8 points per game to rank third on the team.

OU Miscellany

The Big 12 is one of two conferences that boasts three teams (OU, Oklahoma State and Iowa State) with 20 or more wins. The Southeastern Conference is the other.

Nolan Johnson, who is shooting .561 on the season, sports a .635 mark (40-for-63) in conference action. Renzi Stone is shooting .655 (19-for-29) in league play.

Eduardo Najera recorded a 0.7 assist/turnover ratio in non-conference play but sports a 1.4 ratio in Big 12 games.

Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 24 games.

The Sooners are 17-0 when leading at halftime.

J.R. Raymond (76) and Tim Heskett (62) have combined to make a Big 12-leading 138 three-pointers on the year. The Missouri duo of Clarence Gilbert (62) and Keyon Dooling (51) ranks second in the Big 12 with 113 conversions.

Eduardo Najera leads the Sooners in scoring, rebounding and steals, and ranks second in blocked shots and third in assists.

Renzi Stone, who has shot better than .500 from the field each of the past two seasons, sports a .566 mark this year. The senior has missed just one game during his career.

In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 70-9 (.886)when scoring 80 or more points and are 56-2 (.966) when scoring at least 80 points at home.

Oklahoma has been outrebounded just five times in its 24 games.

The Sooners have committed more turnovers than their opponents in just three games (vs. George Washington, at Colorado and at Baylor). Oklahoma is averaging a Big 12-low 12.5 turnovers per outing.

Sixty-two of Tim Heskett's 66 field goal conversions (94 percent) have been three-pointers while 35 of Kelley Newton's 47 field goal makes (74 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.

The Sooners are averaging 8.3 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. The last time Oklahoma did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The four longest current postseason streaks are as follows:

TeamStreakNCAANIT Started
North Carolina332941966-7
Georgetown252051974-75
Indiana222021977-78
Oklahoma181441981-82

Model of Consistency
Oklahoma has registered a winning record in 22 of its last 23 seasons. No other Big 12 team can boast as many winning campaigns since the 1975-76 season as the Sooners. Entering the year, OU had posted a 504-232 (.685) record over the span.

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 123-59 (.676) record and a 73-15 (.830) 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

YearSchoolRecord (Pct.)
1981-82Montana Tech7-20 (.259)
1982-83Montana Tech22-9 (.710)
1983-84Montana Tech22-7 (.759)
1984-85Montana Tech22-9 (.710)
1987-88Washington State13-16 (.448)
1988-89Washington State10-19 (.345)
1989-90Washington State7-22 (.241)
1990-91Washington State16-12 (.571)
1991-92Washington State22-11 (.667)
1992-93Washington State15-12 (.556)
1993-94Washington State20-11 (.645)
1994-95Oklahoma23-9 (.719)
1995-96Oklahoma17-13 (.567)
1996-97Oklahoma19-11 (.633)
1997-98Oklahoma22-11 (.667)
1998-99Oklahoma22-11 (.667)
1999-00Oklahoma20-4 (.833)
Totals299-207 (.591)

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, Feb. 18)

Big 12Overall
TeamLPct.LPct.
Iowa State101.909223.880
Okla. State92.818203.870
Texas92.818186.750
Oklahoma83.727204.833
Missouri83.727158.652
Kansas74.636187.720
Colorado47.3641410.583
Baylor38.2731210.545
Nebraska38.2731014.417
Texas A&M38.273715.318
Texas Tech110.0911012.455
Kan. State110.091814.364

Player Profiles

3MICHAEL CANO (6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)

A walk-on who has played in 10 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 22 of 24 games and is averaging 8.4 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting .561 from the field.

Shooting .635 in Big 12 games (40-for-63).

Earned second-team junior college All-America honors as a sophomore two years ago.

Played at Kilgore (Texas) Junior College but graduated from 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 5.4 points, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

A starter in all 11 Big 12 contests.

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 (35.3 mpg) and assists (3.8 apg), and second in scoring (15.6 ppg).

Ranks second in Big 12 with 3.2 three-pointers per game and is shooting .439 from beyond the arc.

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 .422 from three-point range and has made at least two treys in 19 of 24 games.

Averaging 2.6 three-point makes per game (ranks sixth 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 (.422).

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)

Ranks third in Big 12 in three-point percentage (.449).

Has scored at least 18 points four times this year.

Made 5-of-6 three-pointers and finished with a career-high 19 points versus Texas A&M in league opener.

Thirty-five of his 47 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 19.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.7 steals.

Ranks second in Big 12 (league games) in scoring and leads in rebounding with 18.7 and 10.9 respective averages.

Named Big 12 Player of the Week twice this season.

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 12 double-doubles and 10 in the last 15 games.

Ranks 10th on OU's all-time scoring list with 1,477 points and sixth on the career rebounding chart with 827 boards.

Averaged 18.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in first two NCAA Tournament rounds to lead OU to Sweet 16 last year.

22OLEG REZTSOV (7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)

Played a career-high 10 minutes versus Mount St. Mary's.

Has scored three points this season in 10 games.

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 last summer.

32VICTOR AVILA (6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)

Scored 13 points in 83-59 win over No. 16 Texas Jan. 31.

Averaging 5.0 points and 3.9 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 24 games and is averaging 4.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per outing.

Shooting .566 overall and .655 in Big 12 play.

A starter in 18 games a year ago who averaged 3.6 points and 3.7 rebounds 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 .585 from field and averaging 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 12.5 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.