Jan. 31, 2003
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Ranked sixth in this week's AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, Oklahoma (14-3 overall, 5-1 Big 12) will travel to Manhattan, Kan., to face unranked Kansas State (11-7, 2-3) on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. CST inside Bramlage Coliseum. The lone regular season matchup between the teams will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City, KFAQ 1170 AM in Tulsa) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action. The matcup will be televised regionally by ESPN Plus (KOCB Ch. 34 in OKC, KJRH Ch. 2 in Tulsa) with Dave Armstrong and Paul Splittorff announcing.
AVERAGES KANSAS STATE PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 34 Matt Siebrandt (6-8, 235, Sr.) 9.4 5.2 F 44 Pervis Pasco (6-9, 225, Sr.) 11.4 8.3 G 11 Tim Ellis (6-4, 185, Jr.) 10.8 3.1 G 22 Frank Richards (6-2, 190, Jr.) 9.8 2.7 G 32 Gilson DeJesus (6-6, 210, Sr.) 12.9 5.9
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 9.9 6.2 C 32 Johnnie Gilbert (6-8, 230, So.) 3.9 5.1 G 2 Ebi Ere (6-5, 215, Sr.) 15.5 5.5 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 6.5 3.6 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 19.0 2.8
STATISTICAL COMPARISON Category Oklahoma K-State Overall Record 14-3 10-5 Big 12 Record 5-1 2-3 Points Per Game 72.4 72.1 Opponent Points Per Game 59.2 63.1 Rebounds Per Game 38.6 38.2 Opponent Rebounds Per Game 32.2 31.7 Field Goal Pct. .443 .479 Opponent Field Goal Pct. .404 .384 3-Point Pct. .348 .398 Opponent 3-Point Pct. .343 .343 Free Throw Pct. .726 .610 Personal Fouls Per Game 18.3 17.1 Assists Per Game 14.4 16.4 Turnovers Per Game 11.5 13.7 Blocked Shots Per Game 3.3 3.4 Steals Per Game 8.1 4.6
A winner of four straight and eight of its last nine, Oklahoma hits the road again after recording a 75-68 home victory over Texas A&M on Tuesday. The win marked OU's 33rd straight at Lloyd Noble Center, good for the nation's longest homecourt winning streak. Senior guard Hollis Price was 4-for-7 from three-point land and 6-for-6 at the foul line en route to a game-high 24 points while fellow senior guard Ebi Ere snapped out of a four-game single-digit scoring streak by netting 18 points. OU's freshman tandem of Kevin Bookout (nine points and seven boards) and De'Angelo Alexander (11 and four) combined for 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Price, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, ranks third in the league with his 19.0 points per game, first in free throw percentage (.934) and fourth in three-pointers per game (2.7). In league games, he ranks first in scoring (20.0 ppg), first in free throw percentage (.962) and third in treys per game (3.5). He stands in 10th place on OU's career scoring list (1,532 points) and needs 16 points to move into ninth place. In addition to his 19.0 points per contest, he also averages 2.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals.
Prior to Tuesday, Ere had averaged 6.3 points over OU's previous four contests. He averaged 18.5 points per game before the Jan. 13 Oklahoma State game and now averages 15.5. He is 14-for-62 (.226) from the field and 3-for-22 (.136) from three-point territory over the last five games. White, the team's third starting senior guard, is averaging 6.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and a team-high 3.5 assists. He leads the Big 12 with a 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages just 1.0 turnover per game. White played just five minutes against Texas A&M due to foul trouble.
In the frontcourt, Bookout has emerged as one of the conference's better big men over the past few weeks. The forward averages 9.9 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting a team-best .580 from the field. In league games, however, Bookout is averaging 13.0 points and 7.8 boards while shooting a Big 12-best .603 from the field. Sophomore forward Johnnie Gilbert replaced junior center Jabahri Brown in the starting lineup the last two games and averaged 7.5 boards. Gilbert averages 3.9 points and 5.1 boards per game and, over the last six games is averaging 6.3 rebounds. Brown missed the Texas A&M game so he could fly home to the Virgin Islands to attend the funeral of a friend. He is expected to play on Saturday at Kansas State. Brown did not play last Saturday at Baylor after sustaining a partial tear of the patellar tendon in his left knee during warm-ups. He averages 6.7 points and 5.8 boards per outing on the season.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE
Kansas State is off to an 11-7 start overall and a 2-3 mark in Big 12 action. The Wildcats, who finished last season with 13-16 and 6-10 respective records, have performed well at home this year. K-State is 9-1 at Bramlage Coliseum and 2-0 in league games (beat Texas Tech 68-44, and Nebraska 77-53). The team's lone home loss came in its home opener to Northwestern (59-55) on Nov. 30. Kansas State ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring defense (63.1 ppg) and second in field goal percentage defense (.384). Oddly, the Wildcats pace the conference in three-point percentage (.398) but rank last in free throw percentage (.610).
Senior guard/forward Gilson DeJesus leads the team by scoring 12.8 points per game and is shooting .500 from three-point range (58-for-116) to rank second in the Big 12. DeJesus is also the team's second-leading rebounder with 5.9 boards per game. Senior forward Pervis Pasco averages 11.4 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per outing and is shooting .552 from the field (considerably better than his .466 free throw mark). Junior guard Tim Ellis averages 10.8 points per game and is shooting .451 from three-point range while fellow junior guard Frank Richards scores 9.8 per game and hands out 5.4 assists per contest. Jarrett Hart, a junior guard who transferred to junior college from Oklahoma after a redshirt freshman year in 1999-2000, averages 7.4 points and 3.4 assists per game.
In his third year at Kansas State, head coach Jim Wooldridge is 35-41 (.461). He is in his 16th year as a college head coach and owns a 264-188 (.584) career record.
KANSAS STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Kansas State, 96-89, but trails 53-32 in games in Manhattan. Kelvin Sampson is 7-4 against the Wildcats as OU's head coach and is 2-3 at Bramlage Coliseum. The Sooners have won the last four meetings, including two last year. In Norman last season, OU posted a 73-62 win on Feb. 16 as Aaron McGhee and Jason Detrick scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, for the Sooners. Oklahoma used a 23-5 run to break an early second-half tie. In the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals on March 8, Ebi Ere recorded his first career double-double with 20 points and a career-high 11 rebounds in a 63-52 OU victory. The Sooners shot just .323 from the field and .286 from three-point territory, but outboarded Kansas State, 54-30 (28 of OU's boards were offensive). The Wildcats shot just .308 from the field after halftime. Larry Reid led K-State with 14 points in the first meeting while Nick Williams scored a team-high 15 in the second.
TEXAS A&M LEFTOVERS
Oklahoma has had its share of success on the road under Kelvin Sampson with a 34-20 (.630) record in its last 54 true away contests. In Big 12 play, OU is 30-15 (.667) in its last 45 road contests. The Sooners have finished 5-3 in four of the last five seasons in conference road play and went 6-2 in 1998-99. Kansas (37-13), Oklahoma (31-20) and Texas (28-22) are the only schools with a winning road record since the Big 12 was formed.
Oklahoma has played 17 games this season and, remarkably, only two opponents have registered more assists than turnovers. Princeton (13 assists, 10 turnovers) did it in the third game of the season and Texas Tech (12 assists, 9 turnovers) did it Jan. 20. OU foes have recorded 79 more turnovers than assists this season (difference of 4.6 per game).
Alabama opened the season with 68 points against the Sooners, the highest figure surrendered by OU this year. Oklahoma has held two opponents to point totals in the 40s, five in the 50s and 10 in the 60s. The last time OU held 17 straight opponents to 68 points or less in a single season was the 1950-51 campaign (first 22 games of the year). In the last 13 games, Sooner foes are averaging a mere 57.5 points. On the season, OU is holding opponents to 59.2 points per game, fewest in the Big 12. The last time OU held opponents to 59.2 points per game over the course of an entire season was 1977-78 (58.2 under head coach Dave Bliss). The lowest opponent scoring average by Kelvin Sampson's Sooners was 61.9 in 1998-99, a year in which OU went to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Over the last 13 games, Oklahoma has limited opponents to a collective .381 field goal mark (263-for-690), dropping the team's field goal percentage defense figure from .480 prior to the Hartford game to .404 now. Also, OU averaged just 1.0 blocked shot in its first four contests but is averaging 3.7 over its last 13 games.
Senior Hollis Price attempted 99 free throws last year (2.8 per game). This year, however, Price has already attempted 91 foul shots (5.4 per game). He has made 45-of-47 free throws over the last eight games and 44 of his last 45 tries. Price had a streak of 27 consecutive makes snapped at Oklahoma State Jan. 13 (Ryan Minor holds the school record with 30 consecutive makes during the 1995-96 season) but has started another streak that now stands at 11. Price leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally with his .934 season free throw mark and ranks first on the OU career free throw percentage chart with an .853 figure (Bo Overton shot .852 from 1980 to 1983). John Ontjes holds the OU single-season record (.867 in 1993-94).
A TOP-10 HIT
Oklahoma moved up to No. 6 in this week's AP poll. That makes it 23 consecutive weeks that OU has appeared in the poll's top 10 (dating back to Jan. 5 last year). The Sooners were ranked No. 3 in last season's final edition and debuted in the same spot this year.
OU's starting guard trio of Ebi Ere, Hollis Price and Quannas White undoubtedly forms one of the nation's top backcourts. The senior threesome has accounted for 57 percent of the team's points, 65 percent of its assists and 48 percent of its steals. The three guards have also made 75 percent of OU's three-pointers on the year and 66 percent of its free throws.
HEAVY IN THE BACK(COURT)
Sooner backcourt members have scored 846 of the team's 1,230 points this year. That means 69 percent of OU's scoring has come from its guards. The guards have also registered 201 of the team's 244 assists (82 percent).
OU BOARDING SCHOOL
Since being outrebounded by Alabama (38-32) and UC Irvine (31-29) in their first two games of the year, the Sooners have posted an average rebounding margin of +7.9. Oklahoma registered a season-high 52 boards against Colorado Jan. 11 and outboarded Baylor last Saturday by a 40-22 count. On the season, Oklahoma is outrebounding its opponents by a 6.4 margin per game.
Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson has long stressed protecting the ball and his OU squads have heeded his words over the years. The Sooners ranked second in the Big 12 last year by averaging just 11.9 turnovers per game. OU led the league in 2000-01 and 1999-00 by averaging just 12.7 and 12.8 miscues per outing, respectively. The Sooners, who only had six turnovers Jan. 13 against Oklahoma State (its fewest since commiting five vs. Arizona in last year's Sweet 16) rank first in the Big 12 this season with only 11.5 turnovers per game. Also, OU has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its foes in 14 of 17 games this year and in 26 of the last 30 games dating back to last season.
One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 19.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season. He has already passed 12 players (Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry, Al Beal, Mookie Blaylock, David Johnson, Terry Evans, Harvey Grant, Chucky Barnett and John McCullough) on the school's all-time scoring chart this season. Price now stands 10th on the career list with 1,532 points and needs 16 points to tie Don Sidle for ninth. If he duplicates last year's 577-point performance this season, Price will wind up seventh on the career scoring list. The New Orleans native also ranks first in career free throw percentage (.853), third in three-point field goals (193), third in three-point field goal attempts (513), fourth in minutes played (3,706), fifth in steals (192), seventh in assists (423) and ninth in steals per game (1.7).
Price was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year by league coaches and media and is also a candidate for the Wooden and Naismith Awards. Additionally, he picked up preseason All-America honors from Playboy. Price averaged 16.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game last year to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors, as well as third-team All-America recognition from The Sporting News. He concluded the season by earning Big 12 Tournament and NCAA West Regional MVP honors.
Said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson, "To me, he's our heart and soul. Hollis embodies what we want in a Sooner basketball player. The way he practices, the way he carries himself off the court, the way he performs in the classroom, his effort and his pride are impressive. There are very few things in the future that I dread, but I can honestly tell you that I'm really, really dreading senior night. I'm going to really enjoy every minute I'm with Hollis this year because I don't know when I'll get another one like him."
ERE COOLS AFTER HOT START
Guard Ebi Ere had a stellar start to his senior season but cooled considerably the next four games. The 6-5, 215-pounder led the Sooners in scoring in eight of the first 12 games and boasted an 18.4 scoring average after those 12 contests. Over the next four games, however, Ere averaged 6.3 points on a combined 9-for-48 (.188) field goal and 2-for-16 (.125) three-point shooting. He broke the single-game scoring skid on Tuesday by netting 18 against Texas A&M. Ere now averages 15.5 points (10.5 in Big 12 play), 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals per outing.
THE BOOK ON BOOKOUT
Freshman Kevin Bookout was thrown to the wolves in the non-conference season, facing noted big men Erwin Dudley (Alabama), Mario Austin (Mississippi State), Aloysius Anagonye (Michigan State) and Emeka Okafor (Connecticut). The experience has seemed to pay off for the 6-8, 260-pound forward as he is averaging 13.0 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds while shooting .603 in OU's six conference games. Over the past five games, Bookout has averaged 14.4 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting a remarkable .640 (32-for-50). He has started all 17 games and is averaging 9.9 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds on the season, and boasts a .580 mark from the field in 29.3 minutes per contest. A second-team Parade All-American last year, Bookout became just the second freshman under ninth-year OU coach Kelvin Sampson to start the first game of a season (guard Prince Fowler was the other in 1994-95).
MORE ON BOOKOUT
Kevin Bookout's 9.9 points per game marks the highest scoring average by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster's 18.3 in 1990-91. His 6.2 rebounds per outing are the most by a frosh since Ryan Humphrey's 6.5 in 1997-98 and second most since David Johnson's 6.2 in 1983-84. Bookout's scoring and rebounding numbers compare favorably to freshman figures of some of OU's top players over the last decade. Ryan Minor averaged 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 1992-93, Eduardo Najera averaged 7.0 and 5.6 in 1996-97 and Hollis Price averaged 7.2 and 2.2 in 1999-2000.
HOME IS WHERE THE "W" IS
Lloyd Noble Center has always been extremely kind to the Sooners. Oklahoma, which posted a perfect 16-0 mark at home last year and is 11-0 this season, is 352-59 (.856) inside the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign. The Sooners are 115-16 (.878) at home under ninth-year head coach Kelvin Sampson and have won 32 straight. The 33-game home winning streak is OU's longest since winning 51 in a row in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is the nation's longest current streak.
A CHARITY CASE
Oklahoma has traditionally been a sound free throw shooting team under Kelvin Sampson as seven of his previous eight squads have finished first or second in the conference in the category. Last year, the Sooners, who finished seventh nationally in free throw shooting, led the Big 12 with a .767 season mark (they shot an amazing .798 in league games) and broke the school record of .755 set in 1985-86. OU is again off to a great free throw shooting start this season. Through 17 games, the Sooners own a .726 free throw mark, second best in the Big 12.
SAMPSON SIGNS STELLAR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS
Oklahoma signed four high-schoolers to national letters of intent Nov. 13. The class, which includes point guard Andrew Lavender, swingman Brandon Foust, combo guard Lawrence McKenzie and post Longar Longar, has been rated as one of the nation's 10 best.
Lavender is a 5-7, 155-pounder from Brookhaven (Ohio) High School who averaged 11.0 points and 10.8 assists per game last year in leading his team to a state title. He is generally regarded as one of the country's top two or three point guards and is a top-20 national recruit. Lavender's teammate, Brandon Foust, is a 6-6, 200-pounder who averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior. Foust is considered one of the nation's top 60 players. The duo led Brookhaven to a 27-1 record last year.
McKenzie, 6-1 and 165, has won three state titles at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, Minn. The former teammate of current Sooner Johnnie Gilbert averaged 15.0 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last year. He is regarded as a top-75 national recruit and appears on some analysts' top-50 lists.
Longar, a 6-10, 210-pounder originally from Sudan, averaged 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks last year at John Marshall High School in Rochester, Minn. He is considered a top-50 recruit by most analysts.
"I've never been into recruiting rankings," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson. "I look at how the players a team recruits fill the needs of that team. We will lose three starting guards after this season in Quannas White, Hollis Price and Ebi Ere. Lavender, Foust and McKenzie will not only form a great backcourt, but they're all freshmen. And Longar will be a freshman in the frontcourt. He's an investment who possesses two things you can't teach -- size and athleticism. These kids all come from great high school programs and learn from great coaches."
OU SECURES BEST PRESEASON AP RANKING
OU's No. 3 preseason AP ranking marked its highest ever to start a season. The Sooners' previous best AP ranking heading into a season was No. 5, in both 1984-85 and 1988-89. Oklahoma finished both of those seasons ranked No. 4 in the AP poll under head coach Billy Tubbs.
OU RANKED NO. 1 BY ESPN.COM
ESPN.com ranked the Sooners No. 1 in the nation in its preseason power poll Nov. 13. Oklahoma is in front of No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 5 Florida. Said ESPN.com's Jay Bilas, "The Sooners are the toughest and hardest nosed team in the nation. Kelvin Sampson has a durable and resilient group that is deep and athletic, and has embraced Sampson's style of playing smashmouth basketball on both ends of the floor. Oklahoma sends four athletes to the offensive glass, rebounds the ball with ferocity, gets into your chest and defends with an aggressive and physical demeanor, and has the mental make-up to win the national championship."
OU BOASTS NATION'S SECOND-LONGEST POSTSEASON STREAK
OU has participated in either the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament in each of the last 21 seasons. During that stretch the Sooners have made the NCAA field 17 times and have played in the NIT on four occasions. The 21-year streak is the second longest in the nation. OU trails only Indiana, which has made 25 straight postseason appearances.
EIGHT STRAIGHT...AND COUNTING
Oklahoma has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Kelvin Sampson's eight years in Norman. Only eight other schools have made the "Big Dance" each of the past eight seasons (Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Stanford and UCLA).
MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
Oklahoma has registered a winning record in 25 of its last 26 seasons. No other Big 12 team can boast as many winning campaigns since the 1975-76 season as the Sooners. OU has posted a 588-251 (.701) record over the past 26 years.
THE LAST THREE YEARS
Over the last three seasons, Oklahoma has amassed an 84-19 (.816) record, good for the nation's fourth best winning percentage and fourth most wins during the span:
By Winning Percentage
1. Duke (.880)
2. Cincinnati (.825)
3. Stanford (.821)
4. Oklahoma (.816)
1. Duke (95-13)
2. Cincinnati (85-18)
2. Tulsa (85-23)
4. Oklahoma (84-19)
UNDER KELVIN SAMPSON ENTERING 2002-03...