Men's Hoops Squad Squares Off Against Colorado Wednesday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 17, 2000

Jan. 17, 2000

PDF Formatted Notes

Game Information
Ranked 17th in the AP poll and 16th in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (14-2 overall, 2-1 Big 12) plays its second striaght league road game when it faces Colorado (9-6, 0-3) Wednesday at 8 p.m. CST at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. The game will air on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry, Sr., (play-by-play) and Mark Mathew (analyst) calling the action. The contest will not be televised.

Oklahoma Update
The Sooners saw their five-game winning streak snapped Saturday night at Texas, 79-66. The loss, Oklahoma's second of the year and first of the Big 12 campaign, was just the fourth in the last 20 games against the Longhorns. The Sooners shot .382 from the field while Texas recorded a .571 figure, including a .762 mark after halftime. OU has shot below .400 from the field just twice this year and lost both times (.300 versus Cincinnati).

John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera scored 28 points Saturday, one shy of his career high. The senior forward, who attempted 12 free throws against Texas and is averaging 6.7 charity tries per game to rank third in the league, is averaging 19.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per contest on the year. All are team bests except for the assists mark. He ranks 15th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,331 points and 12th on the all-time rebounding chart with 725 boards.

Oklahoma has done a tremendous job of taking care of the ball this season, as evidenced by the fact it has committed more turnovers than its opponent just one time (vs. George Washington in its second game). OU, which committed just one second-half turnover against Texas, leads the Big 12 by averaging just 12.6 turnovers per game. Its foes, however, average 17.1 miscues per outing.

Season Averages

F21Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)
C33Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)
G5Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)
G10Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)
G11J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)

F5Jamahl Mosley (6-8, 225, Jr.)
F10Will Smith (6-6, 205, Sr.)
C50Richard Fox (6-10, 250, Fr.)
G3Jose Winston (6-0, 180, So.)
G4Jaquay Walls (6-3, 180, Sr.)

About Colorado
The victim of a tough league schedule thus far, Colorado enters Wednesday's contest riding a three-game losing streak. The Buffaloes opened the Big 12 season with an 84-69 home loss to Kansas and then fell in road games at Missouri (100-86) and Iowa State (86-72). Colorado enters the week 49th in the College RPI Report and 57th in the Sagarin Ratings Index.

Leading the Buffs in scoring and assists is senior guard Jaquay Walls. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is averaging 14.7 points and 3.9 assists per outing, and also averages 1.6 steals. Junior forward Jamahl Mosley, who is averaging 17.5 points over the last four games, ranks second on the squad in scoring (11.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). Freshman center Richard Fox is averaging a team-high 7.6 boards per game while sophomore guard Jose Winston leads the Big 12 with 2.9 steals per contest and, like Walls, averages 3.9 assists per game.

Head Coach Ricardo Patton has compiled a 66-54 (.550) record in four-plus years of coaching, all at Colorado.

Series with Colorado
The Sooners have dominated the series with Colorado, winning the last 11 meetings and 37 of the last 39. The Buffs own a 27-25 advantage in games played in Boulder, though OU has won 14 of the last 16 there. OU is 41-12 against CU in Norman and 13-5 in neutral site contests.

OU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson is a perfect 9-0 against Colorado. The average score in those contests has been 86 to 71. Last year the Sooners defeated the Buffs, 89-75, in Norman as Eric Martin's 23 points tied a then-career high. Martin hit 6-of-10 three-point attempts while Ryan Humphrey added 20 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots for the Sooners. CU's Jaquay Walls tallied a team-high 20 points. The OU win was its 18th straight against Colorado in Norman.

Oklahoma/Colorado Statistical Comparison

14-2Overall Record9-6
76.1Points Average74.7
60.2Opponent Points Average67.9
36.7Rebounds Average41.7
31.1Opponent Rebounding Average35.3
.462Field Goal Percentage.432
.416Opponent Field Goal Percentage.412
.4083-Pt. Percentage.333
.350Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage.312
.713Free Throw Percentage.661
17.8Personal Fouls Average17.4
14.9Assists Average14.8
12.6Turnovers Average14.3
2.6Blocked Shots Average3.5
7.9Steals Average8.6

Recapping the Texas Contest
Eduardo Najera played all 40 minutes and scored 28 points, but it wasn't enough as 16th-ranked Oklahoma fell to 15th-ranked Texas Saturday in Austin, 79-66. Najera, who canned 9-of-19 field goal attempts, was extremely effective in limiting the production of Texas center and All-America candidate Chris Mihm (15 points and six rebounds), however, Longhorn forward Gabe Muoneke picked up any kind of slack by scoring a career-high-tying 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting. The Sooners, who led 9-6 early but then fell behind 26-15, went to the locker room trailing 33-26. OU cut the Texas lead to three points on three occasions early in the second half, but drew no closer. The Longhorns shot an astounding .762 after the break (16-for-21) and recorded a .571 figure for the game, the best by an OU opponent this season. Oklahoma, meanwhile, converted .382 of its field goal tries. J.R. Raymond contributed 13 points and three assists for the Sooners while William Clay scored 12 points for Texas. OU's loss was just the third in 10 games against Texas under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson.

Coming Up
After its game with Colorado, Oklahoma returns home for a 3 p.m. CST affair Saturday against Iowa State. The contest, Kelvin Sampson's 500th as a collegiate head coach, will be televised by ESPN Regional. OU then travels to Texas Tech and the brand new United Spirit Center for a 3 p.m. ESPN Regional game Saturday, Jan. 29. Oklahoma closes out the month with a rematch versus Texas on ESPN's Big Monday Jan. 31. The game will tip off at 8 p.m.

OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 33-18 (.648) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 44-7 (.863) mark. OU finished 9-7 (fifth place) in 1996-97 and 11-5 (tied for second) in each of the last two years. Kelvin Sampson's Big 12 squads have posted a 19-7 league record at home and a 14-11 mark on the road.

Sooners Top League in Scoring Defense
Oklahoma is surrendering a Big 12-low 60.2 points per game. Prior to Saturday's contest against Texas, OU had held its previous five opponents to 50.2 points per outing. None of the Sooners' 16 opponents have reached the 80-point mark this year.

Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU averages a Big 12-low 12.6 turnovers per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.5) and has committed an average of just 12.0 in its last nine games. The Sooners own the second-best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.2).

A Merry Band of Thieves
In its first 10 games, Oklahoma averaged 5.8 steals per contest. The Sooners have stepped up the defensive pressure in the last six games, though, and are averaging 11.3 steals per outing during the span. Eduardo Najera has a whopping 18 steals in the last five games. Five of OU's last six foes have committed at least 20 turnovers.

Feast or Famine
Kelley Newton has scored at least 18 points in three of the team's last eight games (18 versus Georgia Southern and Mount St. Mary's and 19 versus Texas A&M). In OU's other five games during the stretch, however, Newton has totaled two points.

Najera on The Sporting News' List
Preseason All-American Eduardo Najera appears in the eighth spot on The Sporting News' national player-of-the-year watch list. The 10-player list includes (in order), Quentin Richardson (DePaul), Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati), A.J. Guyton (Indiana), Terence Morris (Maryland), Khalid El-Amin (Connecticut), Chris Mihm (Texas), Morris Peterson (Michigan State), Najera, Shane Battier (Duke) and Ed Cota (North Carolina).

Climbing OU's Charts
John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera has already collected a number of in-season honors with his fast start. The senior forward is averaging 19.4 points (ranks second in Big 12), 8.1 rebounds (ranks seventh) and 1.8 steals (ranks eighth) per game and was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP. Najera was also named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team and earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14. Najera, who shot .415 from the field and .642 from the free throw line last year, has posted .461 and .701 marks so far this season.

The Chihuahua, Mexico, native entered the season ranked 29th in OU career scoring and 15th in rebounding, but now ranks 15th (1,331 points) and 12th (725 boards). Najera needs eight points to move into 14th place on the all-time scoring list ahead of Mookie Blaylock and 14 points to move into the 13th slot ahead of David Johnson. In 15 games this season, he has already passed Cary Carrabine, Scott Martin, Joe King, Damon Patterson, Terry Stotts, Willie Rogers, Brent Price, Lester Lane, Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry and Al Beal in career scoring.

Sooner Guards Shooting .440 From Beyond Arc
Historically an excellent three-point shooting team under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma has done nothing to jeopardize that label so far this season. Through 16 games, the Sooners have made 130-of-319 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .408 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .440 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:

J.R. Raymond45104.4332.8
Tim Heskett41100.4102.6
Kelley Newton2545.5561.6
Hollis Price1026.3850.6

Raymond One of Big 12's Top Newcomers
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks second on the team and 11th in the Big 12 in scoring (15.8 ppg). He also averages 2.8 three-pointers per game (ranks second in league), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and is tied for second in steals (1.6 spg). Raymond has made a team-high 45 three-pointers on 104 attempts (.433).

In his collegiate debut versus Montana State Nov. 19 in Fairbanks, Alaska, Raymond made 9-of-16 field goal attempts, including 5-of-9 three-point tries, and finished with a game-high 29 points. He also contributed six rebounds and five assists in the 91-76 victory and went on to earn Top of the World Classic All-Tournament Team honors. Raymond's 29-point outburst is believed to be the second-highest scoring total by a Sooner in his collegiate debut. In 1972, center Alvan Adams scored 38 points and collected a school-record 28 rebounds against Indiana State in his first-ever game.

Raymond has also been named this year's Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to the All-College Tournament all-tourney squad.

Newton Atop Division I Three-point Shooting Chart
Junior guard Kelley Newton, who sat out last year while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, ranked first in three-point percentage in the Jan. 11 NCAA Division I statistics report with a .610 mark (25-of-41). Newton owns the Big 12's top two three-point performances this year with a 6-for-7 (.857) effort versus Georgia Southern and a 5-for-6 (.833) game against Texas A&M. Despite going a combined 0-for-4 from beyond the arc in the last two games, Newton is still shooting .556 on the year to lead the Big 12.

Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 24.6 minutes per game, has committed just 10 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 39 minutes. The junior guard leads the Big 12 in assist/turnover ratio (2.9) and ranks eighth in the league with 2.6 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 8.8 points per game to rank third on the squad.

Big 12 Posts Impressive Non-Conference Mark
Heading into the week, Big 12 schools have registered a 106-39 (.731) cumulative non-league record. Three squads captured neutral-court tournament crowns: Oklahoma won the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City, Kansas won the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska, and Texas won the Puerto Rico Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Iowa State finished second at the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii, losing only to Cincinnati in the title game.

The Big 12 owns a .500 or better record against every league except the Missouri Valley Conference (2-3).

OU Miscellany

  • Despite the fact that Eduardo Najera has attempted 107 free throws (third most in the Big 12), OU ranks last in the league in free throw attempts per game (19.8).

  • Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 16 games.

  • Three Sooners (Victor Avila, Kelley Newton and Nolan Johnson) are shooting better than .800 from the free throw line.

  • Eduardo Najera has produced career highs in steals in two of the last four games (five versus Lamar and six against Baylor). Eighteen of his 29 steals have come in the last five outings (3.6 average).

  • J.R. Raymond recorded seven steals versus Arkansas-Little Rock, the second most by a Big 12 player this year, but is averaging 1.2 steals in the team's other 15 contests.

  • After posting three consecutive double-digit scoring efforts in early December, Hollis Price had averaged just 2.3 points over the next six games. But against Baylor last Tuesday, the freshman tied a career high with 15 points.

  • Oklahoma shot .500 or better from the field in five of its first nine games but hasn't in seven games since.

  • In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 67-8 (.893)when scoring 80 or more points and are 53-2 (.964) when scoring at least 80 points at home.

  • Oklahoma has been outrebounded just three times in its 16 games (vs. Mississippi, Cincinnati and Lamar).

  • OU has committed fewer turnovers than its opponents in all but one game (vs. George Washington). It is averaging a Big 12-low 12.6 turnovers per outing.

  • Forty-one of Tim Heskett's 44 field goal conversions (93 percent) have been three-pointers while 25 of Kelley Newton's 30 field goal makes (83 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.

  • Newton has produced the Big 12's top two three-point performances this year. He shot .857 (6-for-7) versus Georgia Southern and .833 (5-for-6) against Texas A&M.

  • The Sooners are shooting .462 from the field this season. Last year OU shot .421 from the floor.

  • The Sooners are averaging 8.1 three-point makes per game. Last season, OU set a school record with its 8.6 treys per outing.

    Model of Consistency
    Oklahoma has registered a winning record in 22 of its last 23 seasons. No other Big 12 team can boast as many winning campaigns since the 1975-76 season as the Sooners. Entering the year, OU had posted a 504-232 (.685) record over the span.

    OU Boasts Nation's Fourth-Longest Postseason Streak
    Oklahoma has made 18 consecutive postseason appearances (14 NCAA and four NIT), the fourth-longest streak among Division I programs. Only North Carolina, Georgetown and Indiana own longer postseason streaks (North Carolina and Indiana made last year's NCAA field while Georgetown competed in the NIT). The last time Oklahoma did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The four longest current postseason streaks are as follows:

    TeamStreakNCAANIT Started
    North Carolina332941966-67

    Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
    Now in his 17th year as a collegiate head coach, Kelvin Sampson is in his sixth year at the Oklahoma helm. He has averaged 20.6 wins per season at OU and is one of two Big 12 coaches Kansas' Roy Williams is the other to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament each of the last five seasons.

    Sampson began his head coaching career in 1980 at Montana Tech when he was hired as the program's interim head coach. He recorded a 73-45 mark in four seasons and was inducted into the school's sports hall of fame two years ago.

    In 1988, Sampson was named head coach at Washington State and compiled an even 103-103 record over seven years, including two 20-win campaigns.

    Hired by Oklahoma on April 25, 1994, he has guided the Sooners to a 117-57 (.672) record and a 70-14 (.833) home mark. In 1997-98, OU finished tied for second place in the Big 12 Conference and played in the league's postseason tournament championship game. Last year, he directed OU to another second-place league finish and an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.

    Sampson was named the 1995 national coach of the year by the Associated Press, the USBWA and Basketball Times.

    Sampson year by Year

    YearSchoolRecord (Pct.)
    1981-82Montana Tech7-20 (.259)
    1982-83Montana Tech22-9 (.710)
    1983-84Montana Tech22-7 (.759)
    1984-85Montana Tech22-9 (.710)
    1987-88Washington State13-16 (.448)
    1988-89Washington State10-19 (.345)
    1989-90Washington State7-22 (.241)
    1990-91Washington State16-12 (.571)
    1991-92Washington State22-11 (.667)
    1992-93Washington State15-12 (.556)
    1993-94Washington State20-11 (.645)
    1994-95Oklahoma23-9 (.719)
    1995-96Oklahoma17-13 (.567)
    1996-97Oklahoma19-11 (.633)
    1997-98Oklahoma22-11 (.667)
    1998-99Oklahoma22-11 (.667)
    1999-00Oklahoma14-2 (.875)
    Totals293-205 (.588)

    Coach Sampson on Television
    This season, Oklahoma basketball fans can catch Head Coach Kelvin Sampson on television twice a week with "Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson" and "Sooner Basketball 2000." The shows will give viewers an insider's look at the OU program and feature highlights, interviews and Coach Sampson's insights.

    Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson
    Hosted by veteran Oklahoma City television sports anchor Bill Teegins, "Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson" airs Fridays at 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. The half-hour show can be seen in Oklahoma City on KWTV Channel 9 Saturdays at 11 a.m. and in Tulsa on TCI Cablevision Channel 9 Fridays at 6 p.m.

    Sooner Basketball 2000
    "Sooner Basketball 2000" is hosted by Steve Neumann, director of broadcasting at OU. The one-hour show airs in Oklahoma City Sundays at 7 p.m. on NewsNow 53 and later that night at 1:45 a.m. on KWTV Channel 9.

    1999-00 Big 12 Standings
    (Through Sunday, Jan. 16)

    Big 12Overall
    Iowa State301.000152.882
    Okla. State201.000131.929
    Kan. State12.33386.571
    Texas A&M12.33359.357
    Texas Tech02.00094.692

    Player Profiles

    3MICHAEL CANO (6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)

  • A walk-on who has played in eight games this season.

  • Scored his first career points with a last-minute basket against Arkansas-Little Rock Dec. 11.

    5NOLAN JOHNSON (6-4, 215, JR., GUARD)

  • Has started in 14 games and is averaging 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting .528 from the field.

  • Earned second-team junior college All-America honors as a sophomore two years ago.

  • Played at Kilgore (Texas) Junior College but wrapped up academic requirements at Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

  • Named Brooklyn (N.Y.) Player of the Year as a high school senior.

    10HOLLIS PRICE (6-1, 165, FR., GUARD)

  • Averaging 5.6 points, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

  • Has made five starts, including the last game three games.

  • Regarded as one of the country's 50 best high school seniors last year at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans.

  • Earned first-team All-State and New Orleans Metro Player-of-the-Year honors as a senior when he averaged 25.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.

  • Hit game-winning shot in 1998 17-and-under AAU national championship game and was named tournament MVP.

    11J.R. RAYMOND (6-2, 175, SO., GUARD)

  • Poured in 29 points in first collegiate game Nov. 19.

  • Ranks first on team in minutes (34.2 mpg) and assists (3.8 apg), and second in scoring (15.8 ppg).

  • Earned Big 12 Rookie-of-the-Week honor Dec. 14.

  • Named Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to Top of the World Classic and All-College all-tourney teams.

  • Practiced with the team under "partial qualifier" label last year, but was not allowed to play in games.

    14TIM HESKETT (6-1, 185, JR., GUARD)

  • Shooting .410 from three-point range.

  • Averaging 2.6 three-point makes per game (ranks eighth in Big 12) and just 0.6 turnovers per outing.

  • Set single-season OU record with his .473 three-point mark last year and is the career leader in three-point percentage (.422).

  • Ranked second in the Big 12 in three-point percentage and in three-pointers per game (2.5) last year.

  • Made 7-of-9 three-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points versus Western Carolina in third game of last season.

    20KELLEY NEWTON(6-2, 190, JR., GUARD)

  • Has scored at least 18 points in three of the last eight games.

  • Made 5-of-6 three-pointers and finished with a career-high 19 points versus Texas A&M in league opener.

  • Leads Big 12 in three-point percentage (.556).

  • Twenty-five of his 30 baskets have been three-pointers.

  • Tore ACL and MCL in his left knee during Oct. 31, 1998, scrimmage and missed the entire season (had surgery Nov. 20).

    21EDUARDO NAJERA(6-8, 240, SR., FORWARD)

  • A preseason Playboy All-American who was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP and to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.

  • Averaging 19.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals.

  • Scored career-high 29 points and grabbed season-high 14 boards vs. Arkansas State in All-College Touney title game.

  • Ranks 15th on OU's all-time scoring list with 1,331 points.

  • Averaged team highs in points (15.5) and rebounds (8.3), and ranked second in assists (2.2) and steals (1.8) last year.

  • Averaged 18.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in first two NCAA Tournament rounds to lead OU to Sweet 16.

    22OLEG REZTSOV(7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)

  • Played a career-high 10 minutes versus Mount St. Mary's.

  • Has scored three points this season.

  • Is the tallest player in school history.

  • Maintains his own web site (

    30JARRETT HART(6-3, 210, FR., GUARD)

  • A first-team All-State selection at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., last year.

  • Averaged 17.4 points, 8.5 boards and 7.3 assists as a senior.

  • Helped Arkansas Hawks AAU team to national title over the summer.

    32VICTOR AVILA(6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)

  • Averaging 4.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

  • Has recorded two double-doubles this season.

  • Tied career highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds versusGeorgia Southern Dec. 18 and had career-high four assists.

  • A second-team junior college All-American who averaged 23.7 points, 15.3 boards and 2.8 blocks per contest in 1997-98.


  • Has started all 16 games and is averaging 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per outing.

  • A starter in 18 games a year ago who averaged 3.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest while shooting a team-high .531 from the field.

  • Grabbed at least four rebounds 17 times last year.

  • One of seven OU students nominated this past September for a Rhodes Scholarship.

  • Has missed just one game during his Sooner career.

    34JAMEEL HEYWOOD(6-6, 220, JR., FORWARD)

  • Shooting team-high .641 from field and averaging 4.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 15.0 minutes per contest.

  • Grabbed a career-high 12 boards vs. Texas A&M in 17 minutes.

  • Transferred from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

  • A second-team All-Jayhawk Conference selection as a freshman and sophomore (averaged 17.0 points both seasons).

  • Named the 1995 Bronx (N.Y.) Player of the Year as a junior at Evander Childs High School.

  • Voted 1996 New England Player of the Year at Salisbury (Conn.) Prep School.

    AP Poll (Jan. 17)
    (First-place votes in parentheses)

    1.Cincinnati (61)16-11,738
    2.Arizona (4)15-21,657
    3.Stanford (1)14-11,584
    4.Auburn (3)15-11,543
    6.Syracuse (1)14-01,422
    10.Michigan State12-41,137
    12.Oklahoma State13-1949
    13.Ohio State11-3822
    19.St. John's12-2455
    21.North Carolina11-6272

    ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (Jan. 16)
    (First-place votes in parentheses)

    1.Cincinnati (30)16-1773
    2.Arizona (1)15-2733
    10.Michigan State12-4492
    12.Oklahoma State13-1425
    15.Ohio State11-3328
    21.North Carolina11-6130
    23.St. John's12-2109


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