OU Crushes Mount St. Mary's

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 29, 1999

Dec. 29, 1999

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - No. 22 Oklahoma got exactly what it needed against overmatched Mount St. Mary's.

Kelley Newton had 18 points, and Eduardo Najera added 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Sooners routed Mount St. Mary's 94-41 on Wednesday night in the first round of the All-College Tournament.

"Making shots is like insulin," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "You make shots and it just boosts you."

The Sooners (10-1), playing for the first since a 72-57 loss to Cincinnati on Dec. 22, scored the game's first 11 points, and had a 10-0 run en route to a 42-17 lead at the half.

"St. Mary's was playing us at the wrong time," Sampson said. "Sometimes after a loss, your antennas go up a little higher. That game allowed us to get their attention.

"For 40 minutes tonight, our kids' effort, possession to possession, was outstanding. That was our focus. For our guys to do that, coming off a game like Cincinnati, that's a credit to them."

Gregory Harris had 12 points for the Mountaineers (1-6), who shot just 27 percent from the field and finished with their lowest point total since 1952. The total also was the lowest in Jim Phelan's 46 years as head coach and the second-worst defeat in school history, behind a 131-76 loss to Old Dominion in 1968.

Oklahoma, the defending tournament champion and winner of 13 of the last 16 All-College titles, advanced to Thursday's championship game against Arkansas State, a 64-56 winner over Valparaiso.

Victor Avila had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Sooners, and Nolan Johnson and Renzi Stone each added 10 points.

Najera had 10 of his points and six rebounds at the half, yet played just 13 minutes, with Oklahoma rotating eight players.

After being held to a season-low 30 percent shooting against Cincinnati, the Sooners hit 47.2 percent of their shots in the first half and finished at 48.6 percent.

And while the Sooners picked up their play on offense, they held St. Mary to 27 percent shooting - 16.7 in the opening half - and forced 22 turnovers with 13 steals and seven blocked shots.

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