Jan 18, 2003

By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer

AMES, Iowa - Hollis Price bounced back from his worst game of the season with one of his best.

Price, who shot 2-for-14 and scored a season-low six points in a loss at Oklahoma State on Monday night, made nine 3-pointers and scored 31 to lead No. 5 Oklahoma past Iowa State 70-60 Saturday.

Oklahoma (11-3, 2-1 Big 12) lost to the Cowboys 48-46 on a disputed shot, but Price and the Sooners made sure they weren't put in that situation again.

"Hollis Price - I've run out of great things to say about him. He's special," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "When Hollis is feeling it like that, I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I figured out: Get him the ball."

Price went 9-for-16 from 3-point range to match the Hilton Coliseum record set by Iowa State's Dedric Willoughby against Kansas on Feb. 9, 1997. He fell two points shy of the career-high 33 he scored against Connecticut on Jan. 7.

"I really don't even think about it. I just kept hitting shots," Price said. "The feeling comes from my teammates. They just all tell me to keep shooting. I just kept shooting, and it kept falling."

Price made three 3-pointers in the first half to help Oklahoma build a 12-point lead, then he made two key shots from beyond the arc to blunt a second-half comeback attempt by Iowa State (11-4, 0-3).

With Cyclones trailing 54-39, Sullivan scored five points and Haluska got free for two 3-pointers in a 14-4 run that cut the lead to 58-53 with 6:49 left.

But Price ended the rally with a 3 from the left corner, pumping his fist as the ball dropped through the net, and the Sooners pulled away. Kevin Bookout scored inside and Quannas White followed with a jumper in the lane.

When Price hit his ninth 3, from the right wing, the Sooners led 68-54 and were out of danger.

"We just kept answering," Sampson said. "That's where having senior guards is so important. Our guards just don't get rattled."

Bookout, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound freshman, added 16 points and White had 11 for the Sooners, who lost to Oklahoma State when Victor Williams made a short bank shot with 3.6 seconds left, although replays showed the shot clock had expired.

"I think we did a great job coming back and showing how tough a team we are," White said.

Price also played outstanding defense on Sullivan, Iowa State's top scorer at 18.6 per game. Sullivan finished with 13 points but managed only two shots in the first half and didn't score until making a 3-pointer with 15:33 left in the game.

Haluska also scored 13, but guard Tim Barnes had only three on 1-for-8 shooting.

"This is just a bunch of new guys finding their way," Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy said. "This team will get tougher, we'll play harder and if the chips fall right, we'll win some games. It's a great lesson for this team."

Price frustrated Sullivan on the offensive end, too, getting many of his baskets when the Iowa State junior was guarding him. Sullivan bent over in frustration after Price hit a 3-pointer over him for a 51-37 lead. A little more than a minute later, Price connected on another 3 over Sullivan to make it 54-39.

"You've got to be feeling it if you shoot 16 3s in a game," Sullivan said. "He just really got in a zone. If we had Michael Jordan out there, he might have still hit those shots."

Iowa State trailed just 17-16 after 7-foot-1 Chris Alexander hit a jump hook midway through the first half. That's when Oklahoma's defense took hold.

Forced into tough shots or turnovers, Iowa State made only two baskets the rest of the half, and the Sooners began building their lead. Price, White and Ebi Ere each made a 3 in a 17-6 run that stretched the lead to 34-22. It was 34-24 at the half.

Iowa State got within five early in the second half, but Price - who else? - hit two 3s and his only 2-point basket of the day to lead a 12-3 run that took the lead to 48-34.

"He's a professional," Eustachy said. "He's gone from a skinny little kid from New Orleans to a first-round draft choice."