Feb. 18, 2003
Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
Ranked fifth in this week's AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, Oklahoma (17-4 overall, 8-2 Big 12) will host No. 16/16 Oklahoma State (19-4, 8-2) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CST inside Lloyd Noble Center. The second of two regular season matchups between the teams will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KRXO 107.7 FM in Oklahoma City, KFAQ 1170 AM in Tulsa) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action. The game will be televised regionally by ESPN Plus with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Paul Splittorff (analyst) announcing.
AVERAGES OKLAHOMA STATE PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 23 Ivan McFarlin (6-7, 221, Jr.) 10.9 7.2 F 40 Andre Williams (6-8, 216, Sr.) 4.2 5.7 G 5 Victor Williams (5-10, 192, Sr.) 15.4 2.2 G 24 Tony Allen (6-4, 205, Jr.) 15.3 5.2 G 34 Melvin Sanders (6-5, 198, Sr.) 13.6 4.8
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 32 Johnnie Gilbert (6-8, 230, So.) 3.8 5.1 F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 9.7 5.7 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 8.4 3.8 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 19.2 2.7 G 15 D. Alexander (6-4, 215, Fr.) 6.0 3.0
STATISTICAL COMPARISON Category Oklahoma OSU Overall Record 17-4 19-4 Big 12 Record 8-2 8-2 Points Per Game 73.1 71.8 Opponent Points Per Game 60.1 61.3 Rebounds Per Game 37.3 36.3 Opponent Rebounds Per Game 32.0 34.6 Field Goal Pct. .454 .468 Opponent Field Goal Pct. .409 .388 3-Point Pct. .382 .377 Opponent 3-Point Pct. .340 .340 Free Throw Pct. .722 .665 Personal Fouls Per Game 18.3 20.1 Assists Per Game 14.5 13.0 Turnovers Per Game 11.5 14.8 Blocked Shots Per Game 3.5 5.3 Steals Per Game 7.8 9.3
The Sooners split a pair of road games last week, losing at No. 6 Texas (67-61) and downing Texas Tech (63-58) behind a career-best performance by point guard Quannas White. The senior scored a career-high 23 points, grabbed a career-best eight rebounds and had six assists and one turnover against the Red Raiders. He was also 9-for-12 from the field and hit a career-high five treys on seven attempts. At 8-2, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are in a tie for third place in the Big 12, a game behind first-place Kansas and a half game behind second-place Texas. Wednesday's contest versus OSU is the third in an extremely tough stretch of six that will also see the Sooners host KU before playing at Missouri and Texas A&M. OU will finish its conference slate with home games against Nebraska and Texas. On Wednesday, the Sooners will be trying to extend their nation's best 34-game home court winning streak.
Hollis Price, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, ranks second in the league with his 19.2 points per game, first in free throw percentage (.941) and fourth in three-pointers per game (2.8). In league games, he ranks second in scoring (20.0 ppg), first in free throw percentage (.973), first in treys per game (3.4) and third in three-point percentage (.466). He stands in ninth place on OU's career scoring list (1,612 points) and currently ranks as the school's career leader in free throw percentage (.857). In addition to his 19.2 points per contest, he also averages 2.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals. Price has made 55 of his last 56 free throw attempts and ranks second nationally with his .941 season mark.
Ebi Ere ranks second on the team with his 14.9 points per outing, but Wednesday's seven-point effort in his first non-start of the year marked the sixth time in the last nine games he failed to reach double digits. He is averaging 10.2 points on .288 shooting over those nine games. White is averaging 8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and a team-high 3.9 assists. He has been sensational over the last four games, averaging 16.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting .688 from the field (22-for-32) and .706 from three-point range (12-for-17). He leads the Big 12 with a stellar 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages just 1.1 turnover per game (23 turnovers in 21 games). In Big 12 games, White leads the conference with his .536 (15-for-28) three-point shooting.
In the frontcourt, Kevin Bookout has emerged as one of the conference's better big men. The freshman forward averages 9.7 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting .576 from the field. In league games, he's averaging 11.2 points and 6.1 boards while shooting a conference-best .588. Junior center Jabahri Brown, who has started in 16 of his 19 games, came off the bench Saturday at Texas Tech. On the season, he averages 6.2 points, 5.5 boards and 1.3 rejections per outing.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE
Oklahoma State began the season with a 17-1 record but has dropped three of its last five contests and is coming off a surprising 74-72 home loss to Baylor. The loss ended OSU's 17-game home court winning streak and marked just the 19th defeat in 182 home games under head coach Eddie Sutton. The Cowboys, who gave up 14 three-pointers in the loss, rank first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense (.388), second in scoring defense (61.3 ppg), third in field goal percentage (.468), third in blocked shots (5.7 bpg) and third in steals (9.3 spg). In conference games, OSU is shooting .399 from three-point range, good for the second-best mark in the Big 12.
Point guard Victor Williams, who ranks 21st on OSU's all-time scoring list with 1,118 points, leads the team in scoring (15.4 ppg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (2.3 spg). He has been one of the Big 12's better guards in league games, averaging 18.8 points per conference contest. Junior guard Tony Allen averages 15.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 steals while shooting .446 from three-point range. Senior guard Melvin Sanders, a defensive standout, still averages 13.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per outing. Sanders scored a career-high 30 points versus Baylor on Saturday on 12-for-16 field goal and 6-for-8 three-point shooting. Junior forward Ivan McFarlin did not score against the Bears, but averages 10.9 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game. He also shoots .571 from the field on the year.
In his 13th season at Oklahoma State, Sutton is 291-118 (.711). He is in his 33rd year as a Division I head coach and owns a 721-282 (.719) record. He ranks 13th all-time in Division I wins.
OKLAHOMA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Oklahoma State, 117-84, and is 71-25 in games in Norman. Kelvin Sampson is 8-11 against the Cowboys as OU's head coach and is 6-2 at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners have won three of the last four against OSU in Norman and the teams have split the last 10 overall meetings. Earlier this season in Stillwater, the Cowboys pulled out a 48-46 win in a controversial finish. Victor Williams' pull-up jumper with 3.6 seconds left was the game-winner, but, according to television replays and photos, the ball still appeared to be in his hands when the shot clock expired. The basket counted and marked the game's final points. Kevin Bookout recorded his lone career double-double with 14 points and a career-high-tying 11 rebounds while Quannas White had 10 points, seven boards and three assists. OU's top two scorers entering the game, Hollis Price and Ebi Ere scored six points each on a combined 4-for-24 shooting. The game marked the first since a 1983 defeat at Missouri that OU lost when holding an opponent to less than 50 points. Williams led OSU with 16 points while Tony Allen and Ivan McFarlin scored 11 each.
TEXAS TECH LEFTOVERS
The Sooners have eclipsed the .500 mark from the field seven times this year, but three of those performances have come over the last six games. OU shot .526 at Baylor Jan. 25, .544 at Kansas State Feb. 1 and a season-best .581 versus Baylor Feb. 8. Oklahoma is shooting a combined .493 from the floor over the past six outings.
Oklahoma has shot .500 or better from three-point territory each of the last four games, and has knocked down 38 of 70 attempts for a .543 figure during the span. No other OU team has ever recorded a .500-or-better mark from three-point range in four straight games. In its first 17 games, OU shot .348 from beyond the arc. The team's season three-point mark now stands at .382, third-best in the Big 12. In conference games, OU leads the league with a .425 figure (Oklahoma State is second at .399). Quannas White has gone 12-for-17 (.706) from long range over the last four games and Hollis Price has drained 17-of-34 (.500) attempts over the past five outings.
BIG 12 DOMINANCE
With its 63-58 win at Texas Tech on Saturday, Oklahoma has now won 17 of its last 19 games against Big 12 opponents. The Sooners won their final five regular season games last season, earned three victories at the Big 12 Tournament, knocked off Missouri to go to the Final Four, and have started 8-2 in league play this year. OU's only two losses in the last 19 outings versus league competition were a 48-46 decision at Oklahoma State on Jan. 13 and a 67-61 defeat at Texas on Feb. 10.
OU owns winning streaks of two or more games against eight of the Big 12's other 11 teams. The Sooners have won 18 straight against Baylor, nine versus Missouri, seven over Texas A&M, five against Kansas State, three versus Nebraska, three versus Colorado, two against Iowa State and two against Texas Tech. OU has also won eight of its last nine versus Texas and two of its last three versus Kansas. The Sooners have split their last four games with Oklahoma State.
100 AND COUNTING FOR PRICE
Senior guard Hollis Price picked up his 100th win in an OU uniform at Texas Tech on Saturday. Since he became a Sooner, OU owns a 101-23 (.815) record. Price missed last year's Texas Southern game, an Oklahoma win, so Oklahoma is 100-23 in games in which he's played. Darryl "Choo" Kennedy (1984-87) holds the school record for most victories by an individual player with 107. Tim McCalister (also 1984-87) won 106 games as a Sooner.
LATE SEASON SUCCESS
Since Kelvin Sampson became OU's head coach prior to the 1994-95 season, the Sooners are 54-20 (.730) in February and March regular season games. Oklahoma is 31-8 (.795) in those two months over the last four-plus seasons (3-1 this year). Last season, OU posted an 8-1 regular season mark in February and March with its only loss coming in overtime at Oklahoma State.
HOME IS WHERE THE "W" IS
Lloyd Noble Center has always been extremely kind to the Sooners. Oklahoma, which posted a perfect 16-0 mark at home last year and is 12-0 this season, is 353-59 (.857) inside the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign. The Sooners are 116-16 (.879) at home under ninth-year head coach Kelvin Sampson and have won 34 straight. The 34-game home winning streak is OU's longest since winning 51 in a row in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is the nation's longest current streak.
Oklahoma has had its share of success on the road under Kelvin Sampson with a 36-21 (.632) record in its last 57 true away contests. In Big 12 play, OU is 32-16 (.667) in its last 48 road contests. The Sooners have finished 5-3 in four of the last five seasons in conference road play and went 6-2 in 1998-99. Kansas (40-13), Oklahoma (33-21) and Texas (30-23) are the only schools with a winning road record since the Big 12 was formed.
Oklahoma has played 21 games this season and, remarkably, only three opponents have registered more assists than turnovers. Princeton (13 assists, 10 turnovers), Texas Tech (12 assists, 9 turnovers in first meeting) and Kansas State (16 assists, 10 turnovers) all did it. OU foes have recorded 84 more turnovers than assists this season (difference of 4.0 per game).
Oklahoma limited Baylor to 42 points Feb. 8, the fewest by an OU opponent since the Sooners beat Mount St. Mary's 94-41 in 1999-2000 (span of 111 games). Oklahoma has held three opponents to point totals in the 40s, five in the 50s and 11 in the 60s. The Sooners held their first 17 opponents to 68 points or less. The last time OU held 17 straight opponents to 68 or fewer points in a single season was the 1950-51 campaign (first 22 games of the year). On the season, OU is holding opponents to 60.1 points per game, fewest in the Big 12. The last time OU held opponents to 60.1 points per game over the course of an entire season was 1977-78 (58.2 under head coach Dave Bliss). The lowest opponent scoring average by Kelvin Sampson's Sooners was 61.9 in 1998-99, a year in which OU went to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Senior Hollis Price attempted 99 free throws last year (2.8 per game). This year, however, Price has already attempted 102 foul shots (4.9 per game). He has made 55 of his last 56 free throw tries. Price had a streak of 27 consecutive makes snapped at Oklahoma State Jan. 13 (Ryan Minor holds the school record with 30 consecutive makes during the 1995-96 season) but is in the midst of another streak that now stands at 28. Price leads the Big 12 and ranks second nationally with his .941 season free throw mark and ranks first on the OU career free throw percentage chart with an .857 figure (Bo Overton shot .852 from 1980 to 1983). John Ontjes holds the OU single-season record (.867 in 1993-94).
A TOP-10 HIT
Oklahoma is ranked fifth in this week's AP poll. That makes it 26 consecutive weeks that OU has appeared in the poll's top 10 (dating back to Jan. 5 last year). The Sooners were ranked No. 3 in last season's final edition and debuted in the same spot this year.
OU's starting guard trio of Ebi Ere, Hollis Price and Quannas White undoubtedly forms one of the nation's top backcourts. The senior threesome has accounted for 58 percent of the team's points, 65 percent of its assists and 48 percent of its steals. The three guards have also made 76 percent of OU's three-pointers on the year and 68 percent of its free throws.
HEAVY IN THE BACK(COURT)
Sooner backcourt members have scored 1,079 of the team's 1,536 points this year. That means 70 percent of OU's scoring has come from its guards. The guards have also registered 248 of the team's 305 assists (81 percent).
Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson has long stressed protecting the ball and his OU squads have heeded his words over the years. The Sooners ranked second in the Big 12 last year by averaging just 11.9 turnovers per game. OU led the league in 2000-01 and 1999-00 by averaging just 12.7 and 12.8 miscues per outing, respectively. The Sooners, who only had six turnovers Jan. 13 against Oklahoma State (their fewest since committing five vs. Arizona in last year's Sweet 16) and just seven Feb. 8 versus Baylor, rank first in the Big 12 this season with only 11.5 turnovers per game. Also, OU has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its foes in 16 of 21 games this year and in 28 of the last 34 games dating back to last season.
One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 19.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season. He has already passed 13 players (Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry, Al Beal, Mookie Blaylock, David Johnson, Terry Evans, Harvey Grant, Chucky Barnett, John McCullough and Don Sidle) on the school's all-time scoring chart this season. Price now stands ninth on the career list with 1,612 points and needs 34 points to tie Eduardo Najera for eighth. If he duplicates last year's 577-point performance this season, Price will wind up seventh on the career scoring list. The New Orleans native also ranks first in career free throw percentage (.857), second in three-point field goal attempts (541), third in three-point field goals (206), fourth in minutes played (3,842), fourth in steals (199), seventh in assists (432), 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.381) and 10th in steals per game (1.6).
Price was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year by league coaches and media and is also a candidate for the Wooden and Naismith Awards. Additionally, he picked up preseason All-America honors from Playboy. Price averaged 16.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game last year to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors, as well as third-team All-America recognition from The Sporting News. He concluded the season by earning Big 12 Tournament and NCAA West Regional MVP honors.
EBI'S ROLLERCOASTER RIDE
Guard Ebi Ere had a stellar first 12 games of his senior season but has been up and down since. The 6-5, 215-pounder led the Sooners in scoring in eight of the first 12 outings and boasted an 18.4 scoring average after those 12 contests. Ere has failed to reach double figures in six of the last nine games, however, and is averaging 10.2 points on .288 (30-for-104) field goal and .229 (8-for-35) three-point shooting during the nine-game stretch. He broke a three-game single-digit scoring skid by netting 18 against Texas A&M, 25 at Kansas State and 11 versus Baylor prior to his six- and seven-point outings last week at Texas and Texas Tech. Ere now averages 14.9 points (11.2 in Big 12 play), 5.3 boards, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per outing.
THE BOOK ON BOOKOUT
True freshman Kevin Bookout was thrown to the wolves in the non-conference season, facing noted big men Erwin Dudley (Alabama), Mario Austin (Mississippi State), Aloysius Anagonye (Michigan State) and Emeka Okafor (Connecticut). The experience has seemed to pay off for the 6-8, 260-pound forward as he is averaging 11.2 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds while shooting .588 in OU's 10 conference games. He has started all 21 games and is averaging 9.7 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds on the season, and boasts a .576 mark from the field in 29.1 minutes per contest. A second-team Parade All-American last year, Bookout became just the second freshman under ninth-year OU coach Kelvin Sampson to start the first game of a season (guard Prince Fowler was the other in 1994-95).
MORE ON BOOKOUT
Kevin Bookout's 9.7 points per game marks the highest scoring average by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster's 18.3 in 1990-91. His 5.7 rebounds per outing are the most by a frosh since Ryan Humphrey's 6.5 in 1997-98 and second most since David Johnson's 6.2 in 1983-84. Bookout's scoring and rebounding numbers compare favorably to freshman figures of some of OU's top players over the last decade. Ryan Minor averaged 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 1992-93, Eduardo Najera averaged 7.0 and 5.6 in 1996-97 and Hollis Price averaged 7.2 and 2.2 in 1999-2000.
A CHARITY CASE
Oklahoma has traditionally been a sound free throw shooting team under Kelvin Sampson as seven of his previous eight squads have finished first or second in the conference in the category. Last year, the Sooners, who finished seventh nationally in free throw shooting, led the Big 12 with a .767 season mark (they shot an amazing .798 in league games) and broke the school record of .755 set in 1985-86. OU is again off to a solid free throw shooting start this season. Through 21 games, the Sooners own a .722 free throw mark, second best in the Big 12.
SAMPSON'S SUCCESS VS. STATE OF TEXAS
Oklahoma owns an impressive 68-10 (.870) record against teams from the state of Texas under Kelvin Sampson. Against Big 12 foes Baylor (16-0), Texas (15-4), Texas A&M (13-1) and Texas Tech (10-5), OU is 54-10 (.844) under Sampson. The Sooners are 6-1 against Texas schools this year.
SAMPSON SIGNS STELLAR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS
Oklahoma signed four high-schoolers to national letters of intent Nov. 13. The class, which includes point guard Andrew Lavender, swingman Brandon Foust, combo guard Lawrence McKenzie and post Longar Longar, has been rated as one of the nation's 10 best.
Lavender is a 5-7, 155-pounder from Brookhaven (Ohio) High School who averaged 11.0 points and 10.8 assists per game last year in leading his team to a state title. He is generally regarded as one of the country's top two or three point guards and is a top-20 national recruit. Lavender's teammate, Brandon Foust, is a 6-6, 200-pounder who averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior. Foust is considered one of the nation's top 60 players. The duo led Brookhaven to a 27-1 record last year.
McKenzie, 6-1 and 165, has won three state titles at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, Minn. The former teammate of current Sooner Johnnie Gilbert averaged 15.0 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last year. He is regarded as a top-75 national recruit and appears on some analysts' top-50 lists.
Longar, a 6-10, 210-pounder originally from Sudan, averaged 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks last year at John Marshall High School in Rochester, Minn. He is considered a top-50 recruit by most analysts.
"I've never been into recruiting rankings," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson. "I look at how the players a team recruits fill the needs of that team. We will lose three starting guards after this season in Quannas White, Hollis Price and Ebi Ere. Lavender, Foust and McKenzie will not only form a great backcourt, but they're all freshmen. And Longar will be a freshman in the frontcourt. He's an investment who possesses two things you can't teach -- size and athleticism. These kids all come from great high school programs and learn from great coaches."
OU SECURES BEST PRESEASON AP RANKING
OU's No. 3 preseason AP ranking marked its highest ever to start a season. The Sooners' previous best AP ranking heading into a season was No. 5, in both 1984-85 and 1988-89. Oklahoma finished both of those seasons ranked No. 4 in the AP poll under head coach Billy Tubbs.
OU RANKED NO. 1 BY ESPN.COM
ESPN.com ranked the Sooners No. 1 in the nation in its preseason power poll Nov. 13. Oklahoma is in front of No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 5 Florida. Said ESPN.com's Jay Bilas, "The Sooners are the toughest and hardest nosed team in the nation. Kelvin Sampson has a durable and resilient group that is deep and athletic, and has embraced Sampson's style of playing smashmouth basketball on both ends of the floor. Oklahoma sends four athletes to the offensive glass, rebounds the ball with ferocity, gets into your chest and defends with an aggressive and physical demeanor, and has the mental make-up to win the national championship."
OU BOASTS NATION'S SECOND-LONGEST POSTSEASON STREAK
OU has participated in either the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament in each of the last 21 seasons. During that stretch the Sooners have made the NCAA field 17 times and have played in the NIT on four occasions. The 21-year streak is the second longest in the nation. OU trails only Indiana, which has made 25 straight postseason appearances.
EIGHT STRAIGHT...AND COUNTING
Oklahoma has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Kelvin Sampson's eight years in Norman. Only eight other schools have made the "Big Dance" each of the past eight seasons (Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Stanford and UCLA).
MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
Oklahoma has registered a winning record in 25 of its last 26 seasons. No other Big 12 team can boast as many winning campaigns since the 1975-76 season as the Sooners. OU has posted a 588-251 (.701) record over the past 26 years.
THE LAST THREE YEARS
Over the last three seasons, Oklahoma has amassed an 84-19 (.816) record, good for the nation's fourth best winning percentage and fourth most wins during the span:
By Winning Percentage
1. Duke (.880)
2. Cincinnati (.825)
3. Stanford (.821)
4. Oklahoma (.816)
1. Duke (95-13)
2. Cincinnati (85-18)
2. Tulsa (85-23)
4. Oklahoma (84-19)
UNDER KELVIN SAMPSON ENTERING 2002-03...