Feb. 14, 2003
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Ranked fifth in this week's AP poll and fourth in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (16-4 overall, 7-2 Big 12) will travel to face unranked Texas Tech (14-6, 4-5) on Saturday at 3 p.m. CST inside the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. The second of two regular season matchups between the teams will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM 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 Fred White (play-by-play) and Reid Gettys (analyst) announcing.
AVERAGES TEXAS TECH PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 22 Kasib Powell (6-7, 218, Sr.) 15.8 5.4 C 45 Mickey Michalec (6-10, 255, Sr.) 1.8 1.5 G 10 Will Chavis (5-10, 190, Sr.) 8.0 2.9 G 14 Andre Emmett (6-5, 229, Jr.) 21.9 5.9 G 24 Ronald Ross (6-2, 195, So.) 4.8 1.7
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 10.1 6.0 C 21 Jabahri Brown (6-10, 210, Jr.) 6.3 5.5 G 2 Ebi Ere (6-5, 215, Sr.) 15.3 5.4 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 7.7 3.6 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 19.3 2.8
STATISTICAL COMPARISON Category Oklahoma Tech Overall Record 16-4 14-6 Big 12 Record 7-2 4-5 Points Per Game 74.3 76.8 Opponent Points Per Game 60.3 66.1 Rebounds Per Game 38.0 34.9 Opponent Rebounds Per Game 32.2 36.5 Field Goal Pct. .454 .480 Opponent Field Goal Pct. .405 .431 3-Point Pct. .374 .332 Opponent 3-Point Pct. .339 .334 Free Throw Pct. .722 .653 Personal Fouls Per Game 18.4 16.3 Assists Per Game 14.5 17.7 Turnovers Per Game 11.5 11.4 Blocked Shots Per Game 3.5 3.0 Steals Per Game 7.8 9.6
Following a 67-61 loss at No. 6 Texas on Monday that snapped its six-game winning streak and dropped its league record to 7-2, Oklahoma trails first-place Kansas and Oklahoma State (8-1) by a game in the Big 12 race. Saturday's game at Texas Tech is the second in an extremely tough stretch of six that will also see the Sooners host Oklahoma State and Kansas before playing at Missouri and Texas A&M. OU will finish its conference slate with home games against Nebraska and Texas.
Hollis Price, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, ranks second in the league with his 19.3 points per game, first in free throw percentage (.940) and fourth in three-pointers per game (2.9). In league games, he ranks second in scoring (20.2 ppg), first in free throw percentage (.971), first in treys per game (3.6) and third in three-point percentage (.471). He stands in ninth place on OU's career scoring list (1,594 points) and currently ranks as the school's career leader in free throw percentage (.856). In addition to his 19.3 points per contest, he also averages 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals. Price has made 53 of his last 54 free throw attempts and ranks second nationally with his .940 season mark.
Ebi Ere ranks second on the team with his 15.3 points per outing, but Monday's six-point effort marked the fifth time in the last eight games he failed to reach double digits. He is averaging 10.6 points on .287 shooting over those eight games. Ere also averages 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per outing on the season. Point guard Quannas White is averaging 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and a team-high 3.8 assists. He leads the Big 12 with a stellar 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages just 1.1 turnover per game (22 turnovers in 20 games). Over the past three games, he is averaging 14.0 points, 5.0 assists and 1.7 turnovers while shooting .650 (13-for-20) from the field and .700 (7-for-10) from three-point territory. In Big 12 games, White ranks second in the conference with his .476 (10-for-21) three-point shooting.
In the frontcourt, Kevin Bookout has emerged as one of the conference's better big men. The freshman forward averages 10.1 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting .577 from the field. In league games, he's averaging 12.2 points and 6.7 boards while shooting a conference-best .590. Junior center Jabahri Brown, who has started in 16 of his 18 games, is coming off his worst outing of the season. Brown did not score against Texas and had just three rebounds in 19 minutes of play. On the season, he averages 6.3 points, 5.5 boards and 1.3 rejections per outing.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech posted a 10-1 non-conference record but is 4-5 in league games. The Red Raiders have been stingy at home this season with a 9-1 mark (their only loss was to Oklahoma State, 79-70). Tech is coming off an impressive 88-73 win at Iowa State in which it shot .642 from the field and .643 from three-point land. The shooting figures stand as the best in Big 12 Conference play by any team this year. Andre Emmett scored 25 and was followed by Will Chavis' 22 and Kasib Powell's 19.
Emmett and Powell form the most lethal one-two punch in the league. Emmett leads the Big 12 with his 21.9 points per game and also averages a team-high 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting .532 from the field. In an 82-73 loss at Missouri Feb. 9, Emmett scored a career-high 34 points. One of the most complete players in the league, Powell averages 15.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists. Point guard Chavis averages 8.0 points and 2.2 assists and has made a team-high 26 treys. The Red Raiders rank first in the Big 12 with their +7.5 turnover margin and 1.55 assist-to-turnover ratio, and second with their .480 field goal percentage. Tech also averages a league-low 11.4 turnovers per game (has one less turnover than OU).
In his second year at Texas Tech, Knight owns an 801-304 career mark. He was 102-50 in six seasons at Army, 662-239 in 29 years at Indiana and is 37-15 at Texas Tech.
TEXAS TECH SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Texas Tech, 18-12, but is 5-8 in games in Lubbock. Kelvin Sampson is 9-5 against the Red Raiders as OU's head coach and is 4-2 in Lubbock. The Sooners have won three of the last four against Tech and eight of the last 10. Last year at Tech, the Red Raiders handed OU its worst loss of the season, a 92-79 decision. Earlier this season (Jan. 20), Oklahoma snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in a 69-64 overtime outcome. Hollis Price's length-of-the-court drive and 16-foot jumper at the end of regulation forced the extra period. Price then scored five points in overtime, one more than Tech scored, to help OU to the five-point win. Price finished with a game-high 23 points while Kevin Bookout had 15 points and eight boards. Quannas White recorded 10 points, five boards, three assists and two steals. Kasib Powell had a team-high 19 points for Texas Tech while Andre Emmett had 17 points and eight boards.
The Sooners have eclipsed the .500 mark from the field seven times this year, but three of those performances have come over the last five games. OU shot .526 at Baylor Jan. 25, .544 at Kansas State Feb. 1 and a season-best .581 versus Baylor last Saturday. Oklahoma is shooting a combined .498 from the floor over the past five outings.
In Oklahoma's four losses this season (to Alabama, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and Texas) ...
BIG 12 DOMINANCE
Despite its 67-61 loss at Texas on Monday, Oklahoma has won 16 of its last 18 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 7-2 in league play this year. Besides Monday's outcome, the only loss in the last 18 outings versus league competition was a 48-46 decision at Oklahoma State on Jan. 13.
OU owns winning streaks of two or more games against seven 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 and two against Iowa State. OU has also won eight of its last nine versus Texas, three of its last four against Texas Tech and two of its last three versus Kansas.
PRICE NEEDS ONE FOR 100
Oklahoma needs one more victory to give Hollis Price 100 for his career. Since the senior guard became a Sooner, OU owns a 100-23 (.813) record. Price missed last year's Texas Southern game, an Oklahoma win, so he has played in 99 Sooner victories. 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 53-20 (.726) in February and March regular season games. Oklahoma is 30-8 (.789) in those two months over the last four-plus seasons (2-1 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.
SAMPSON'S SUCCESS VS. STATE OF TEXAS
Oklahoma owns an impressive 67-10 (.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 (9-5), OU is 53-10 (.841) under Sampson. The Sooners are 5-1 against Texas schools this year.
Oklahoma has had its share of success on the road under Kelvin Sampson with a 35-21 (.625) record in its last 56 true away contests. In Big 12 play, OU is 31-16 (.660) in its last 47 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 (32-21) and Texas (29-23) are the only schools with a winning road record since the Big 12 was formed.
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 played 20 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) and Kansas State (16 assists, 10 turnovers) all did it. OU foes have recorded 81 more turnovers than assists this season (difference of 4.1 per game).
Oklahoma limited Baylor to 42 points last Saturday, 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 60.3 points per game, fewest in the Big 12. The last time OU held opponents to 60.3 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 100 foul shots (5.0 per game). He has made 53 of his last 54 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 26. Price leads the Big 12 and ranks second nationally with his .940 season free throw mark and ranks first on the OU career free throw percentage chart with an .856 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 25 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 57 percent of the team's points, 65 percent of its assists and 49 percent of its steals. The three guards have also made 75 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 1,022 of the team's 1,473 points this year. That means 69 percent of OU's scoring has come from its guards. The guards have also registered 238 of the team's 289 assists (82 percent).
OU BOARDING SCHOOL
Since being outrebounded by Alabama (38-32) and UC Irvine (31-29) in their first two games of the year, the Sooners have posted an average rebounding margin of +6.9. Oklahoma registered a season-high 52 boards against Colorado Jan. 11 and outboarded Baylor Jan. 25 by a 40-22 count. On the season, Oklahoma is outrebounding its opponents by a 5.8 margin per game.
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 Saturday versus Baylor, rank second 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 15 of 20 games this year and in 27 of the last 33 games dating back to last season.
One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 19.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 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 1,594 points and needs 52 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 (.856), third in three-point field goals (204), third in three-point field goal attempts (536), fourth in minutes played (3,803), fourth in steals (198), seventh in assists (429), 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 five of the last eight games, however, and is averaging 10.6 points on .287 (27-for-94) field goal and .219 (7-for-32) three-point shooting during the eight-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-point outing Monday at Texas. Ere now averages 15.3 points (11.7 in Big 12 play), 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 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 12.2 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds while shooting .590 in OU's nine conference games. Over the past eight games, Bookout has averaged 13.0 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting a remarkable .613 (46-for-75). He has started all 20 games and is averaging 10.1 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds on the season, and boasts a .577 mark from the field in 29.4 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 10.1 points per game marks the highest scoring average by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster's 18.3 in 1990-91. His 6.0 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 20 games, the Sooners own a .722 free throw mark, third best in the Big 12.
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...