Dec. 19, 2002

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GAME INFORMATION
Ranked seventh in this week's AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, Oklahoma (5-1) hosts unranked Georgia State (3-4) on Saturday at 4 p.m. inside Lloyd Noble Center. The game will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action. The game will also be televised by the Sooner Sports Network (KWTV Channel 9/Cox Cable 10 in OKC). Chuck Cooperstein (play-by-play) and Wayman Tisdale (analyst) will announce. Tickets are available and cost $15, $20 or $25, depending on location.

2-FOR-1 SPECIAL
Fans attending OU's noon women's basketball game against SMU on Saturday who do not hold a ticket for the 4 p.m. men's game will be allowed to stay at Lloyd Noble Center for the men's contest. Such fans must sit in available upper level seats. Similarly, fans with tickets to the men's game only may attend the women's game with the understanding that they may not sit in a seat belonging to a women's ticket holder during the women's game.

                                      AVERAGES
GEORGIA STATE PROJECTED STARTERS      PPG  RPG
F 32 Nate Williams (6-11, 215, Jr.)  18.1  7.6
F 42 Trello Galloway (6-7, 191, Jr.)  4.2  4.0
C 21 Reo Logan (6-11, 220, Jr.)       4.9  4.0
G 2  Lamont McIntosh (6-3, 170, Jr.) 14.0  3.3
G 24 Leroy Davis (6-5, 200, Sr.)     11.0  3.3

OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 9.3 6.3 C 21 Jabahri Brown (6-10, 210, Jr.) 8.2 6.2 G 2 Ebi Ere (6-5, 215, Sr.) 20.7 5.8 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 5.8 3.0 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 16.7 2.5

STATISTICAL COMPARISON
Category                    Oklahoma   Ga. State
Overall Record                 5-1        3-4
Points Per Game               77.8       73.0
Opponent Points Per Game      59.7       75.6
Rebounds Per Game             38.2       34.4
Opponent Rebounds Per Game    29.2       37.0
Field Goal Pct.               .452       .452
Opponent Field Goal Pct.      .436       .462
3-Point Pct.                  .344       .370
Opponent 3-Point Pct.         .382       .310
Free Throw Pct.               .771       .597
Personal Fouls Per Game       17.8       16.3
Assists Per Game              16.0       14.3
Turnovers Per Game            11.2       17.1
Blocked Shots Per Game         2.0        4.6
Steals Per Game               10.2        7.1

OKLAHOMA UPDATE
Oklahoma, in the middle of a six-game stretch in which it plays on Saturdays only, is coming off a 69-47 win against Coppin State last weekend. Hollis Price paced the Sooners with a season-high 22 points to mark the first time this year that fellow senior guard Ebi Ere did not lead the squad in scoring (he netted 10). Senior point guard Quannas White tied a season high with 13 points and registered seven assists while freshman forward Kevin Bookout contributed seven points and a career-high 11 rebounds. OU limited the Eagles to .364 field goal shooting and has held its last two foes to a combined .337 mark. Coppin State's 47 points were the fewest by an Oklahoma opponent since Central Connecticut scored just 44 in last year's opener (a span of 41 games).

Ere ranks second in the Big 12 behind Texas Tech's Andre Emmett in scoring with his 20.7 points per game (Emmett averages 22.9 ppg). The Tulsa native is shooting .517 from the field, .375 from three-point range and .769 from the foul line while ranking third on the team in rebounding (5.8 rpg). Price upped his scoring average to 16.7 (ranks 10th in the league) with his effort against Coppin State. He is also shooting .375 from beyond the arc (he has made 11 of his last 16 attempts for .688 mark) and ranks fifth in the Big 12 with a .893 free throw figure. White averages a team-high 4.8 assists per game and leads the Big 12 with a 4.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. He also averages 5.8 points and 2.0 steals per contest. Bookout has made steady progress from the start of the season and averages 9.3 points (ranks third on team) and a squad-high 6.3 boards per game. His .585 field goal percentage leads the team and ranks sixth in the Big 12.

The Sooners have won 27 in a row on their home court to give them the third-longest current such streak in NCAA Division I (BYU has won 39 in a row and Tennessee Tech 32). OU's last home loss was a 69-61 defeat at the hands of Kansas two seasons ago.

ABOUT GEORGIA STATE
Georgia State will head to Norman with a 3-4 record after dropping a 78-54 contest at No. 16/17 Mississippi State on Wednesday. The Panthers shot .375 from the field against the Bulldogs and were outrebounded 52-21. Georgia State has won versus North Carolina A&T (76-44), versus St. Andrews (95-80) and versus Furman (70-64) and has lost at Auburn (100-71), versus Alabama State in overtime (82-77) and at South Alabama (81-68) in addition to Mississippi State.

Despite registering just nine points and three rebounds against Mississippi State, 6-11 junior forward/center Nate Williams leads Georgia State with his 18.1 points and 7.6 boards per game, and ranks second with his 3.0 assists per outing. Williams is shooting .549 from the field and leads the Panthers with nine blocks and 11 steals. He had scored at least 20 points in five straight games before Wednesday. Junior guard Lamont McIntosh averages 14.0 points and a team-high 3.1 assists per game. The Lindy's preseason Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year, McIntosh has made 16 treys and is shooting a team-high .432 from beyond the arc. Senior guard/forward Cedric Patton scored a team-high 21 points against Mississippi State and averages 11.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per outing. Senior guard/forward Leroy Davis averages 11.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game and, like McIntosh, has drained 16 three-pointers on the year.

The only coach in NCAA history with at least 100 wins at four schools, head coach "Lefty" Driesell sports a 785-392 (.667) career record and is 102-57 (.642) in his sixth year at Georgia State. He ranks fourth on the NCAA all-time victory list and has produced 22 20-win seasons (eighth most in NCAA history). This marks Driesell's 41st year as a collegiate coach and Saturday will be career game No. 1,178 for him. His last two Georgia State teams went 20-11 (last year) and 29-5.

GEORGIA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma leads the series with Georgia State 2-0 with both games played in the 1980s in Norman. The Sooners won the first matchup 94-66 on Dec. 8, 1983, as Wayman Tisdale (who is announcing this Saturday's game on the Sooner Sports Television Network) registered 23 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs. OU won the second game 124-81 on Dec. 19, 1987, the year the Sooners advanced to the national title game. Harvey Grant led six OU players in double digits in scoring with 34 points. He also grabbed 14 boards. Oklahoma forced 35 Georgia State turnovers (21 in the first half) and scored 73 second-half points.

COPPIN STATE LEFTOVERS

  • Sophomore forward Johnnie Gilbert returned to action following a three-game injury hiatus and contributed five points and six rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.
  • Oklahoma shot .556 in the first half but just .333 in the second half to finish with a .407 game mark.
  • Hollis Price's 22 points and five three-pointers both marked season highs.
  • Quannas White committed three turnovers, the same number in his first five games combined.
  • OU held an 11-0 advantage in both fast break points and points off turnovers.
  • The Sooners' five blocked shots marked a season high.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS
    The Sooners have won 18 straight games in the month of December dating back to a 60-55 loss at Mississippi on Dec. 2, 2000.

    A TOP-10 HIT
    The Sooners are ranked sixth in this week's AP top-25 poll, making it 17 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.

    ONE-TWO PUNCH
    Senior guards Ebi Ere (20.7) and Hollis Price (16.7) are averaging a combined 37.4 points per game, a figure that leads all Big 12 tandems. Missouri's Rickey Paulding (18.7) and Arthur Johnson (18.2) rank second at 36.9 combined points per outing while Kansas' Nick Collison (19.2) and Keith Langford (17.4) rank third at 36.6. Ere's and Price's 37.4 points per contest would rank them sixth on the Big 12's all-time tandem scoring list. Texas Tech's Cory Carr (23.1) and Tony Battie (18.8) averaged 41.9 per game in 1996-97 to set the league standard while OU's Nate Erdmann (20.5) and Corey Brewer (17.5) averaged 38.0 combined points per game the same season.

    TERRIFIC TRIO
    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 55 percent of the team's points, 63 percent of its assists and 51 percent of its steals. The three guards have also made 65 percent of OU's free throws on the year and have taken 60 percent of its foul shots.

    DEFENSE IMPROVES, BUT...
    Oklahoma limited Hartford to .313 field goal shooting two games ago and held Coppin State to a .364 mark last game, dropping the Sooners' field goal percentage defense figure from .480 to .436. Despite the rather large statistical improvement, OU still ranks last in the Big 12 in the category with Texas Tech ranking 11th at .426. Seven of the 12 conference teams are holding opponents to sub-.400 shooting.

    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 outboarded their last four opponents by 15.5 caroms per contest. Against Prairie View A&M, OU posted a 50-25 rebounding advantage (including a 27-1 margin in offensive rebounds).

    PREACHING PROTECTION
    Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson has long stressed protecting the basketball 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. Some things don't change -- the Sooners lead the Big 12 this season with only 11.2 turnovers per contest.

    ERE STELLAR AT START
    Guard Ebi Ere has started his senior season with a bang. The 6-5, 215-pounder led the Sooners in scoring in each of the first five games (24, 14, 27, 16 and 33 points) and ranks second in the Big 12 with his 20.7 points per outing. He also averages 5.8 rebounds to rank third on the team. Last year he shot .427 from the field but so far this year he sports a .517 figure. Ere also averages 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per outing. Against Princeton in the Sooner Invitational championship game, he registered 27 points (two shy of his then-career high), seven rebounds, a career-high six assists, a blocked shot and two steals. Against Hartford, he set a career high with 33 points and added eight boards, three assists and a steal in 28 minutes.

    PRICE-LESS
    One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 16.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. He has already passed six players (Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry and Al Beal) on the school's all-time scoring chart this season. Price now stands 16th on the career list with 1,309 points and needs 29 points to tie Mookie Blaylock for 15th. 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 third in career free throw percentage (.832), sixth in three-point field goal attempts (438), sixth in three-point field goals (162), sixth in steals (182), seventh in minutes played (3,336), eighth in assists (382) 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 considered a solid preseason 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."

    THE FUTURE IS NOW
    While preseason publications raved about OU's experienced veterans, fanfare about the team's newcomers paled in comparison. Four freshmen have seen significant minutes in the early going this year. Forward Kevin Bookout is averaging 9.3 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds while shooting a team-high .585 from the field in 29.2 minutes per game. He became just the second freshman under ninth-year OU coach Kelvin Sampson to start the first game of a season. Guard De'Angelo Alexander is averaging 5.8 points and 4.2 boards in 18.2 minutes per outing and registered a game-high 25 in the team's second exhibition contest. Center Larry Turner is averaging 1.3 points and 1.5 boards in 9.2 minutes per contest. Redshirt freshman forward Matt Gipson is averaging 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per outing. Collectively, the quartet has scored 117 points (19.5 per game) and grabbed 85 boards (14.2 per game).

    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 six games, the Sooners own a .771 free throw mark.

    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 5-0 this season, is 346-59 (.854) inside the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign. The Sooners are 109-16 (.872) at home under ninth-year head coach Kelvin Sampson and have won 27 straight. The 27-game home winning streak is OU's longest since winning 51 in a row in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    MISCELLANEOUS NOTES

  • Oklahoma led the Big 12 and set a school record last year with a .767 free throw mark. Through six games this season, OU is shooting .771 from the foul line.
  • OU is averaging 11.2 turnovers per game while its opponents are averaging 17.7. The Sooners have committed the same or fewer turnovers than its foes in all six games.
  • After starting the season just 4-for-24 from three-point range, Hollis Price has made 11 of his last 16 and now owns a .375 figure.
  • Ebi Ere shot .427 from the field last year but is off to a .517 start this season.
  • Ere has made 16 more field goals than the next closest Sooner (Hollis Price).
  • The Sooners own a 1.43 assist/turnover ratio through six games while their foes sport just a 0.65 figure.
  • Point guard Quannas White leads the Big 12 with a 4.8 assist-to-turnover ratio (29 assists and just six turnovers). He has 19 assists over the last three games (6.3 average). Backup point Blake Johnston owns a 5.0 ratio (15 assists and only three turnovers).
  • Four freshmen are playing in OU's current 10-man rotation.

    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)

    By Victories
    1. Duke (95-13)
    2. Cincinnati (85-18)
    2. Tulsa (85-23)
    4. Oklahoma (84-19)

    UNDER KELVIN SAMPSON...

  • Oklahoma has posted an 84-19 (.816) record over the last three years, good for an average of 28.0 wins per season during the span.
  • Oklahoma has recorded five consecutive 20-win seasons.
  • Oklahoma owns a 68-28 (.708) Big 12 Conference record.
  • Oklahoma has won the last two Big 12 Tournament championships.
  • Oklahoma has competed in each of the last eight NCAA Tournaments.
  • Oklahoma has won its last 22 home games (sixth-longest current streak in NCAA Division I).
  • Oklahoma has finished 12th (2000), 13th (2001) and third (2002) in the last three final AP polls.