Nov. 6, 1999


Coach Sampson's Postgame Audio
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NORMAN, Okla. - The Oklahoma mens basketball team opened its 1999-2000 season with a 103-48 exhibition win over El Basquetbol Mexicano Saturday night front of a paid crowd of 9,238 at Lloyd Noble Center.

Preseason All-American Eduardo Najera led the Sooners in scoring with 18 points and added eight rebounds, three assists, four steals and a block in 26 minutes.

Six first-year Sooners played in the game and contributed a total of 58 points and 24 rebounds. Leading the way were junior guard Nolan Johnson and sophomore guard J.R. Raymond. Johnson approached a double-double with 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds while Raymond added 13 points and a game-high-tying five assists. Freshman guard Hollis Price contributed 12 points and also handed out five assists.

Ive been pleased with our progress in practice so far, said Sooner Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. The key word for us this season is improvement. I wasnt really as interested in this game as I was in seeing how J.R. (Raymond) and Kelley (Newton) would do after being off for a year. The freshmen will also be a key for us this year, so it was good to get several players in and get them some key minutes.

Rebounds and turnovers proved to be a major factor in the game as OU outboarded Mexico 52 to 24. The Sooners turned the ball over 14 times compared to Mexicos 22 miscues.

Playing the third and final game of its brief Oklahoma tour, El Basquetbol Mexicano was led by J.R. Tripletts 11 points. David Ayala paced the team in rebounds with eight and also contributed two assists.

The Sooners, who led 48-12 at halftime, shot a robust .545 for the game while limiting Mexico to a .286 figure. OU also shot .429 from three-point land and .733 at the charity stripe.

I think we did a good job executing, but I dont think we played hard enough on defense, said Najera. Weve got a long way to go there. We need to play defense hard for 40 minutes, not just for 20 minutes.

With its win tonight, Oklahoma ran its exhibition winning streak to 24 games. The last time the Sooners lost an exhibition contest was in 1986 when the USSR national team beat OU, 102-74.

Oklahoma plays its second and last exhibition game of the season next Saturday against Athletes First at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center.