March 16, 2000
TIME: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. CST.
SITE: McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Oklahoma sails into the second round of the NCAA tournament, facing a Purdue team coming off a hard-fought win in its first-round matchup.
The third-seeded Sooners were 10-of-21 from 3-point range Thursday as they rolled to a 74-50 victory over Winthrop.
While star center Eduardo Najera managed just 10 points, Oklahoma's freshman backcourt of J.R. Raymond and Hollis Price scored 14 and 10 points, respectively. Nolan Johnson added 12 points for the Sooners.
But Oklahoma's defense really seemed to be the story. The Sooners held a normally strong-shooting Winthrop squad to just 26 percent (15-for-56) from the field, including 2-of-20 from 3-point range.
"Defense was the key to this game," Raymond said. "We came out and shot down their perimeter, and it helped us the entire game. We set the tone early on and didn't give them any breathing room."
The Boilermakers escaped with a 62-61 win over Dayton on Friday. Jaraan Cornell broke out of his season-long shooting slump to help Purdue advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the seventh straight year.
"With about eight minutes left I asked Jaraan, 'Could you please make a shot tonight,"' Purdue coach Gene Keady said. "He laughed and maybe he was able to relax a little after that."
Cornell didn't just make one shot. He hit three 3-pointers in the final nine minutes and finished with 13 points for the sixth-seeded Boilermakers (22-9).
"There was no way I was going out to Dayton," Cornell said.
Brian Cardinal led all scorers with 18 points as Purdue overcame an overall team shooting slump, hitting 10-of-23 from 3-point range.
Cornell and Carson Cunningham, Purdue's starting backcourt, were a combined 1-for-12 in the Big Ten tournament last week when the Boilermakers were knocked out in the first round by Wisconsin.
"That first one broke the ice," Cornell said. "I was sick of missing. Maybe I should have said that to myself about 10 games ago."
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Purdue - At-large bid, Big Ten Conference. Oklahoma - At-large bid, Big 12 Conference.
ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Purdue - 24-18, 18 years. Oklahoma - 23-18, 18 years.