Jan. 24, 2003
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Ranked seventh in the current AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, Oklahoma (12-3 overall, 3-1 Big 12) will travel to Waco, Texas, to face unranked Baylor (9-6, 0-4) on Saturday at 5 p.m. CST inside the Ferrell Center. The game 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 in Oklahoma by the Sooner Sports Network (KSBI Ch. 52 in OKC, KWBT Ch. 19 in Tulsa) with Bob Carpenter (play-by-play) and Wayman Tisdale and Billy Tubbs (analysts) announcing.
AGGIES UP NEXT
Oklahoma will return home to host Texas A&M on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. The game, originally scheduled for 7 p.m., was moved up an hour to accomodate national television. The contest will be aired by ESPN2. A limited number of $20 upper-level tickets are still available and can be purchased at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (325-2424 or 800-456-4668).
AVERAGES BAYLOR PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 24 Terrance Thomas (6-6, 245, Jr.) 7.4 5.1 F 44 Lawrence Roberts (6-9, 230, So.) 15.2 9.5 G 34 R.T. Guinn (6-10,240, Jr.) 9.5 4.8 G 3 Kenny Taylor (6-3, 185, So.) 13.3 2.4 G 15 John Lucas (6-2, 195, So.) 14.1 2.4
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 9.5 6.0 C 21 Jabahri Brown (6-10, 210, Jr.) 6.7 5.8 G 2 Ebi Ere (6-5, 215, Sr.) 15.9 5.6 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 6.9 3.7 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 18.8 2.6
STATISTICAL COMPARISON Category Oklahoma Baylor Overall Record 12-3 9-6 Big 12 Record 3-1 0-4 Points Per Game 72.5 72.7 Opponent Points Per Game 59.0 64.9 Rebounds Per Game 38.4 36.8 Opponent Rebounds Per Game 32.7 38.3 Field Goal Pct. .440 .414 Opponent Field Goal Pct. .409 .420 3-Point Pct. .362 .261 Opponent 3-Point Pct. .360 .312 Free Throw Pct. .733 .745 Personal Fouls Per Game 18.2 16.2 Assists Per Game 14.6 15.3 Turnovers Per Game 11.6 13.6 Blocked Shots Per Game 3.5 3.5 Steals Per Game 8.8 9.7
In what will likely prove to be one of the more memorable games Lloyd Noble Center will see, Oklahoma's Hollis Price hit a buzzer-beating 16-footer to force overtime and then scored five points in the extra session to help the Sooners fend off Texas Tech, 69-64, on Monday. The win preserved OU's homecourt winning streak, which now stands at 32 (second only to BYU's 44-game streak). Price made all eight of his free throws on the night, including three with 22 seconds left to knot the score at 58, and finished with a game-high 23 points. Forward Kevin Bookout had 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds while point guard Quannas White had 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Guard Ebi Ere scored just seven points on 3-for-16 shooting, but also recorded a career-high seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Price, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, ranks third in the league with his 18.8 points per game, first in free throw percentage (.929) and fifth in three-pointers per game (2.7). In league games, he ranks fourth in scoring (19.8 ppg), fourth in free throw percentage (.950) and second in treys per game (4.0). Price stands in 11th place on OU's career scoring list (1,491 points) and is just 16 points away from moving into the top 10. In addition to his 18.8 points, he also averages 2.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per contest.
Following back-to-back-to-back single-digit scoring efforts (six, five and seven points), Ere's scoring average has dropped from 18.5 before the Oklahoma State game to 15.9 now. He is 6-for-36 (.167) from the field over the last three games. Ere shot .504 from the field over OU's first 10 games but is shooting .286 since. White, the team's third starting senior guard, is averaging 6.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He leads the Big 12 with a 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages just 1.1 turnovers per game. White has scored in double figures the past three games (he did it twice over the first 12 games) and is averaging 5.7 boards over the brief stretch.
In the frontcourt, Bookout averages 9.5 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds while shooting a team-best .582 from the field. In OU's two games last week, the freshman forward was 13-for-18 from the field and averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 boards to earn Big 12 Rookie-of-the-Week acclaim. In league games, Bookout is averaging 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting .622 from the field. Junior center Jabahri Brown averages 6.6 points and ranks second with 5.8 boards per game. He has blocked 20 shots over the last nine games (2.2 average).
After going 9-2 in non-conference play, Baylor has dropped all four of its Big 12 contests. The young Bears (they start no seniors) lost home games to Texas (82-71) and Oklahoma State (67-64 in overtime Tuesday), and road tilts to Missouri (77-69) and Texas Tech (80-64). BU leads the league in free throw percentage (.745) and ranks third in turnover margin (+3.9) and in steals (9.7), but ranks last in field goal percentage (.414) and 11th in rebounding margin (-1.5). In Big 12 games, Baylor is shooting .405 from the field and is being outrebounded by 4.8 per contest.
Sophomore forward Lawrence Roberts leads the team with 15.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. A freshman All-American last year by Basketball Times, Roberts ranked seventh in the league with his 16.6 points per outing. Fellow sophomore John Lucas is averaging 14.1 points and team-highs with 4.7 assists and 1.9 steals. He ranks second in the league (behind OU's Hollis Price) in free throw shooting with a .909 figure. Sophomore guard Kenny Taylor averages 13.3 points and leads the conference with his 54 three-point makes and 130 attempts. He averages 4.3 treys per Big 12 game and 17 of his 18 buckets in league play have come from beyond the arc.
In his fourth year at Baylor, former OU head coach Dave Bliss ranks 12th among active Division I coaches in victories with 521 (against 320 losses). He owns a 56-49 record with the Bears. Bliss, who began his head coaching career at OU in 1975, posted a 77-62 record in Norman and was the Big Eight Coach of the Year twice in his five years. He guided OU to the 1979 NCAA Tournament, its first since 1947.
BAYLOR SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Baylor, 21-5, and owns a 9-2 advantage in Waco. Kelvin Sampson is 14-0 against the Bears as OU's head coach and is 7-0 at the Ferrell Center. The Sooners have won the last 16 meetings, with Baylor's last win coming in the 1977-78 season in Norman, 75-67. Last year, OU posted a 70-57 win in Norman Feb. 6 as Aaron McGhee had game highs of 23 points and eight rebounds. Jason Detrick and Daryan Selvy scored 18 and 10 points off the bench, respectively. In the rematch two weeks later, McGhee, Hollis Price and Ebi Ere all scored 15 points in a 65-54 OU triumph. Baylor's 54 points, three three-pointers and .136 three-point figure (3-for-22) marked season lows. Matt Sayman led BU in the first meeting with 15 points while John Lucas scored a team-high 19 in the second.
TEXAS TECH LEFTOVERS
SAMPSON GOES FOR 200 AT OU
Kelvin Sampson will be going for his 200th win at Oklahoma when his Sooners play at Baylor on Saturday. In his ninth season at OU, Sampson is 199-77 (.721). Monday's game against Texas Tech marked the 600th for Sampson as a collegiate coach. In his 20th year overall, he sports a 375-225 (.625) record.
Oklahoma has played 15 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 on Monday. OU foes have recorded 76 more turnovers than assists this season (difference of 5.1 per game). Opponents sport a 0.66 assist-to-turnover ratio while the Sooners own a considerably-more lavish 1.26 figure.
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, four in the 50s and nine in the 60s. The last time OU held 15 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 11 games, Sooner foes are averaging a mere 56.9 points. On the season, OU is holding opponents to 59.0 points per game, fewest in the Big 12. The last time OU held opponents to 59.0 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, the year OU went to the NCAA Sweet 16.
In the last 11 games, Oklahoma has limited opponents to a collective .385 field goal mark (227-for-590), dropping the team's field goal percentage defense figure from .480 prior to the Hartford game to .409 now. Also, OU averaged just 1.0 blocked shot in its first four contests but is averaging 4.4 over its last 11 games.
Senior Hollis Price attempted 99 free throws last year (2.8 per game). This year, however, Price has already attempted 85 foul shots (5.7 per game). He has made 39-of-41 free throws over the last six games and 38 of his last 39 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). Price leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally with his .929 season free throw mark and ranks second on the OU career free throw percentage chart with an .850 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 is ranked seventh in this week's AP poll, making it 22 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 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 68 percent of its free throws.
HEAVY IN THE BACK(COURT)
Sooner backcourt members have scored 744 of the team's 1,088 points this year. That means 68 percent of OU's scoring has come from its guards. The guards have also registered 181 of the team's 219 assists (83 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 +7.3. Oklahoma registered a season-high 52 boards against Colorado Jan. 11. Against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 30, OU posted a 50-25 rebounding advantage (including a 27-1 margin in offensive rebounds). On the season, Oklahoma is outrebounding its opponents by a 5.7 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 11.6 turnovers per game. Also, OU has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its foes in 12 of 15 games.
One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 18.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season. He has already passed 11 players (Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry, Al Beal, Mookie Blaylock, David Johnson, Terry Evans, Harvey Grant and Chucky Barnett) on the school's all-time scoring chart this season. Price now stands 11th on the career list with 1,491 points and needs 16 points to tie John McCullough for 10th. 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 second in career free throw percentage (.850), third in three-point field goals (188), third in three-point field goal attempts (500), fifth in minutes played (3,634), fifth in steals (191), seventh in assists (415) 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 has cooled considerably the last three games. The 6-5, 215-pounder led the Sooners in scoring in eight of the first 12 games and boasted a 18.4 scoring average after those first 12 contests. Over the past three games, however, Ere has averaged 6.0 points on a combined 6-for-36 (.167) field goal shooting. He has also made 2-of-12 three-point tries over the past three games. He now averages 15.9 points (9.5 in Big 12 play), 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per outing. Last year, Ere also experienced a three-game single-digit scoring slump in which he averaged 6.7 points in early February.
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 12.8 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds while shooting .622 in OU's four conference games. Over the past three games, Bookout has averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting a remarkable .690 (20-for-29). He has started all 15 games and is averaging 9.5 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds on the season, and boasts a .582 mark from the field in 28.7 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 9.5 points per game marks the highest scoring average by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster's 18.3 in 1990-91. His 6.0 rebounds per outing are the most by a frosh since Ryan Humphrey's 6.5 in 1982-83 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 10-0 this season, is 351-59 (.856) inside the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign. The Sooners are 114-16 (.877) at home under ninth-year head coach Kelvin Sampson and have won 32 straight. The 32-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 second longest current streak (BYU has won 44 straight).
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 14 games, the Sooners own a .734 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...