Nov 22, 2002
By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer
NORMAN, Okla. - Seventh-ranked Oklahoma didn't need a big night from its best player to beat Cal-Irvine. Hollis Price got plenty of help.
While Price was just 4-of-12 from the field, Ebi Ere scored 14 points, Quannas White excelled at point guard and the Sooners used a 17-1 second-half run to win 87-65 in the first round of the Sooner Invitational on Friday night.
Price, Ere and White were among five Sooners in double figures. Oklahoma (1-1) forced 23 turnovers, had 15 steals and lost the ball just nine times in rebounding from a 68-62 loss last week to No. 4 Alabama.
"I think it all starts with practice," said White, who had five assists, five steals and no turnovers. "We had a great carryover today."
Price and White each scored 13, Kevin Bookout had 12, and Jabahri Brown scored nine of his 11 in the second half.
Adam Parada had 19 points for Cal-Irvine (0-1), including seven straight during a 4-minute stretch, in which the Anteaters held Oklahoma to one basket and cut the lead to 58-51 with 9:27 left.
Then the Sooners put together their big run, which started with a three-point play by Brown, a 3-pointer by Ere after a Brown steal, a dunk by Brown off a turnover and layup by Price on a pass from Ere.
"I think Jabahri gave us a great spark off the bench," Price said. "Coach got into him a little bit and Jabahri came off the bench with a great deal of energy. Everybody was just giving it up for each other, and it just carried over."
After Parada's free throw made it 68-52, the Sooners scored seven straight to push the lead to 23 with 4:52 left. The run started when Johnnie Gilbert converted a three-point play on a pass that Price made while sprawled on the floor.
"We came to compete, but obviously we weren't ready for the type of quickness and type of pressure they exerted," said Cal-Irvine coach Pat Douglass. "Any time they moved it up a notch in terms of intensity, we didn't pass with the authority we needed to run our offense."
Bookout had 10 points and six rebounds in the first half, when the Sooners forced 13 turnovers.
Oklahoma got consecutive 3-pointers from White, Ere and Blake Johnston in an 11-0 run that made the score 17-6 midway through the first half.
Mike Hood made back-to-back 3s later in the half to get the Anteaters to 24-19, but they got no closer. White made a 3, Ere scored on an alley-oop dunk and Johnston hit from long range to start a 15-4 spurt that pushed Oklahoma's lead to 39-23 just before halftime.
"I just thought this was another step for us," coach Kelvin Sampson said. "I saw a lot of progress tonight."
Oklahoma will play Princeton in the title game Saturday. Princeton beat Western Michigan 62-59.