Dec. 9, 1999
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Unbeaten Oklahoma (7-0) hosts Arkansas-Little Rock (1-4) Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center. The game will be broadcast on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City). Bob Barry, Sr., (play-by-play) and Mark Mathew (analyst) will call the action. The contest will also be televised locally by the Sooner Sports Network (KWTV Channel 9 in Oklahoma City and KTUL Channel 8 in Tulsa). Dean Blevins (play-by-play) and Charlie Spoonhour (analyst) will announce.
Toys for Tots Collection
The United States Marine Corps will be collecting Toys for Tots at Saturday's game. Fans are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for underprivileged children to Lloyd Noble Center. Those who bring a toy will receive one coupon for a discounted ticket ($5 off) to the Jan. 3 Lamar game in Norman.
The Sooners are coming off their most impressive win of the season, a 66-52 victory at Arkansas on Tuesday night. Senior All-America candidate Eduardo Najera led the team in scoring (18 points), rebounds (10) and assists (5) while sophomore J.R. Raymond contributed 17 points and a team-high three steals. Junior Tim Heskett canned 5-of-8 three-point attempts, including four after halftime, and finished with 15 points. All three players average double digits in points (Najera 19.1, Raymond 18.3, Heskett 10.0). Najera also averages a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game while Raymond and Heskett have teamed up to make 44 three-pointers in 93 tries (.473).
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||8.3||4.0||1.9|
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||19.1||8.0||2.1|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.4||3.1||1.4|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||18.3||4.3||3.0|
|G||14||Tim Heskett (6-1, 185, Jr.)||10.0||2.1||1.7|
ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||25||Troy Moore (6-7, 210, Jr.)||8.4||7.8||0.4|
|F||32||Stan Blackmon (6-6, 215, Jr.)||19.6||7.0||1.4|
|G||3||Laverne Smith (6-3, 200, Jr.)||12.0||1.6||2.0|
|G||5||Alex Finger (6-0, 180, Fr.)||0.6||0.4||0.8|
|G||33||Alan Barksdale (6-4, 205, Sr.)||12.2||2.6||2.8|
True freshman Hollis Price has been stellar off the bench for OU over the last three games as he is averaging 24.3 minutes, 9.7 points, 4.0 assists and 2.7 steals during the span. Price is also shooting .625 from the field and .400 from beyond the arc in the last three games, and on the season is averaging just 1.0 turnover per contest.
The Sooners, who shot .500 or better from the field just three times in 32 games last year, have already shot at least .500 four times this season. Oklahoma owns .493 field goal, .434 three-point and .752 free throw marks so far, all significantly higher than last season's .421, .388 and .651 respective figures.
About Arkansas-Little Rock
Arkansas-Little Rock enters Saturday's matchup with a 1-4 record following its 63-49 home loss to Centenary Wednesday. The Trojans opened the season with a 93-64 home defeat to Oklahoma State and a 91-84 road loss to Bowling Green State before posting its lone win, a 75-68 victory at home versus Alcorn State. Little Rock also lost at Missouri-Kansas City, 86-60.
Junior forward Stan Blackmon leads the Trojans in scoring (19.6 ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (7.0 rpg). In the last four games, the Dallas native is averaging 22.3 points and 7.0 boards. Senior guard Alan Barksdale averages 12.2 points and 11.0 three-point attempts per game (shooting .290 from beyond the arc) while junior Troy Moore averages a team-high 7.8 rebounds per outing. Freshman guards Alex Finger (a starter the last three games) and Mark Green were teammates of OU freshman Jarrett Hart at Little Rock Central High School.
Arkansas-Little Rock is coached by first-year mentor Sidney Moncrief. The five-time NBA All-Star with the Milwaukee Bucks attended Arkansas and rates as the school's all-time leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. He shot .606 from the field during his four-year career and was an All-American as a senior. In 767 career games as a pro, Moncrief averaged 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest. He was a two-time NBA Defensive Player-of-the-Year award recipient.
Oklahoma/Arkansas-Little Rock Statistical Comparison
|63.1||Opponent Points Average||80.2|
|30.3||Opponent Rebounding Average||34.0|
|.493||Field Goal Percentage||.431|
|.427||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.522|
|.377||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.354|
|.752||Free Throw Percentage||.654|
|18.0||Personal Fouls Average||19.6|
|1.6||Blocked Shots Average||1.0|
Series with Arkansas-Little Rock
Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Arkansas-Little Rock, 4-0. The Sooners have posted wins in 1983-84 (87-62), 1984-85 (90-63), 1988-89 (115-96) and 1989-90 (134-81). The average victory margin of the four games, all played in Norman except for the first contest which was part of the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City, was 31.0 points. OU players have recorded noteworthy performances against the Trojans. In the Nov. 26, 1984, game, Wayman Tisdale registered 29 points and 22 rebounds. On Dec. 22, 1988, Stacey King scored 31 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. And on Jan. 9, 1990, Skeeter Henry made 10-of-13 field goals and all 11 of his free throws to finish with 35 points.
Recapping the Arkansas Contest
Oklahoma outscored Arkansas 34-20 in the second half and ran away with a 66-52 win in Fayetteville Tuesday. Arkansas' 52 points were its fewest at home since it lost to Texas Tech, 48-46, in 1984-85. The victory was OU's seventh to begin the season and gave Head Coach Kelvin Sampson his best start (also 7-0 in 1994-95 and 1996-97) as Sooner mentor. Oklahoma shot .489 from the field and .500 from three-point land (11-for-22) while limiting the Razorbacks to .368 field goal and .280 three-point marks. Outrebounded in the first half by a 20-13 count, the Sooners won the second-half board battle, 18-10. Oklahoma trailed by one early in the second stanza before going on an 8-0 run that was keyed by a pair of Tim Heskett treys, and took a 45-38 lead. An Arkansas bucket snapped a five-minute scoreless drought, but a 16-6 run expanded the Sooner lead to 15 (61-46) with 5:51 remaining and put the game out of reach. Eduardo Najera led OU with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five steals while J.R. Raymond scored 17 points and produced three steals. Tim Heskett nailed five three-pointers and scored 15 points while Hollis Price finished with 10 points. Arkansas entered the game 90-10 inside Bud Walton Arena (which opened in 1993) and was 49-3 in non-conference affairs there. OU's victory snapped the Razorbacks' 22-game non-conference home winning streak.
Following Saturday's contest, Oklahoma will host Georgia Southern Dec. 18 and No.1-ranked Cincinnati Dec. 22. The Cincinnati contest will be televised on ESPN.
The Sooners have been extremely impressive after halftime so far this season. Through seven contests, OU is averaging 41.7 points per second half compared to its opponents' 31.7 figure. By comparison, in the first half of its games, Oklahoma is averaging 34.6 points to its opponents' 31.4. The Sooners have been outscored in just two of 14 halves this year (39-32 in second half vs. San Diego and 36-32 in first half vs. UC Irvine).
Sooners Burying Threes
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 seven games, the Sooners have made 63-of-145 trey attempts for a .434 mark (the school record of .414 was set in 1986-87). Sooner guards are shooting .483 on the year. Here's a look at the marks of OU's five three-point shooters:
Bucking the Trend
Entering the season, Oklahoma's points-per-game average has decreased nearly every year since the 1987-88 campaign (OU averaged 102.9 points per contest in that Final Four season). Last year, the Sooners averaged 70.2 points per game, their lowest figure since 1977-78, but this year OU is averaging 76.3 points per contest.
Najera Climbing OU Charts
Preseason All-American and John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera is off to a solid start. The senior forward is averaging 19.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game to lead the team. He was named Top of the World Classic MVP in mid-November and was also named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team. Najera, who shot .415 from the field and .642 from the free throw line last year, has posted .467 and .784 marks so far this season.
The Chihuahua, Mexico, native entered the season ranked 29th in OU career scoring and 15th in career rebounding, but now ranks 23rd (1,155 points) and tied for 13th with Bryan Sallier (652 rebounds). Najera needs 19 points to move into 22nd place on the all-time scoring list (ahead of Brent Price) and 26 points to move into the 21st slot (ahead of Lester Lane). In seven games this season, he has already passed Cary Carrabine (1,034 points), Scott Martin (1,078), Joe King (1,085), Damon Patterson (1,099), Terry Stotts (1,104) and Willie Rogers (1,153) in career scoring.
Raymond Scores 29 in Collegiate Debut
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond made 9-of-16 field goal attempts, including 5-of-9 three-point tries, and finished with a game-high 29 points against Montana State in his collegiate debut Nov. 19 in Fairbanks, Alaska. 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, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks second on the team in scoring (18.3 ppg) and assists (3.0 apg), and has made a team-high 24 three-pointers on 47 attempts (.511). He is shooting .494 from the field and .833 from the charity stripe.
Freshman Price Makes Impact
True freshman Hollis Price has made big strides toward becoming one of the team's most productive players over the past three games. During the brief span, the guard from New Orleans is averaging 24.3 minutes, 9.7 points, 4.0 assists and 2.7 steals. Price is shooting .609 from the field this season, .462 from three-point land and .769 from the foul line. He is also the only member of the team with more steals (9) than turnovers (7).
Sampson Starts 7-0 for Third Time in Six Seasons
For the third time in six seasons as OU's head coach, Kelvin Sampson has started the year with seven straight victories. The Sooners' best starts were 7-0 performances in the 1994-95 and the 1996-97 seasons.
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 110-55 (.667) record and a 65-13 (.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
|1981-82||Montana Tech||7-20 (.259)|
|1982-83||Montana Tech||22-9 (.710)|
|1983-84||Montana Tech||22-7 (.759)|
|1984-85||Montana Tech||22-9 (.710)|
|1987-88||Washington State||13-16 (.448)|
|1988-89||Washington State||10-19 (.345)|
|1989-90||Washington State||7-22 (.241)|
|1990-91||Washington State||16-12 (.571)|
|1991-92||Washington State||22-11 (.667)|
|1992-93||Washington State||15-12 (.556)|
|1993-94||Washington State||20-11 (.645)|
Big 12 Begins Season in Fine Fashion
Heading into Thursday, Big 12 schools have posted a 57-19 (.750) cumulative record. Oklahoma (7-0) and Oklahoma State (6-0) are the lone remaining undefeated teams, though three others (Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech) have lost just once. Three squads have captured neutral-court tournament crowns: Oklahoma won the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska (beat Montana State, George Washington and California), Kansas won the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska (beat Georgia, Xavier and Georgia Tech), and Texas won the Puerto Rico Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico (beat Arizona State, DePaul and Michigan State). Iowa State finished second at the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii, losing only to top-ranked Cincinnati in the championship game.
The Sooners have been outscored in just two of 14 halves this year.
J.R. Raymond is averaging 3.4 three-point makes per game and is shooting .511 from beyond the arc. He has made multiple treys in all seven games and at least three three-pointers in five contests.
Twenty of Tim Heskett's 21 field goal conversions have been three-pointers while all eight of Kelley Newton's field goal makes have been treys.
Not including OU's .403 performance against San Diego, the Sooners are shooting .511 from the field this season.
Heskett has committed just four turnovers this season in 189 total minutes. That's an average of one every 47 minutes.
The Sooners are averaging 9.0 three-point makes per game. Last season, OU set a school record with its 8.6 treys per outing.
Entering this contest, OU has started the same five players in all seven games (Johnson, Najera, Stone, Raymond and Heskett).
In his last four games, Eduardo Najera is averaging 7.3 free throw attempts per outing.
A win Saturday versus Arkansas-Little Rock would give the Sooners eight straight victories and tie their longest winning streak under Coach Sampson. The 1997-98 team won eight consecutive games from mid-December to early January.
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. OU has posted a 504-232 record over the span for a .685 winning percentage.
OU Boasts Nation's Fourth-Longest Postseason Streak
Oklahoma has now 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:
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" will air Fridays at 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. The half-hour show will also 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" will be co-hosted by Steve Neumann, director of broadcasting at OU, and Greg Kerr, weekend sports anchor at Oklahoma City's KWTV Channel 9. The one-hour show will air in Oklahoma City Sundays at 7 p.m. on NewsNow 53 and later that night at 1:45 a.m. on KWTV Channel 9.
(6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)
A walk-on who played in eight games last season.
A unanimous first-team all-region selection at San Antonio's Tom C. Clark High School as a senior.
(6-4, 215, JR., GUARD)
Averaging 8.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game and shooting .541 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.
(6-1, 165, FR., GUARD)
Averaging 9.7 points, 4.0 assists and 2.7 steals over last 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.
(6-2, 175, SO., GUARD)
Poured in 29 points in first collegiate game Nov. 19.
Ranks first on team in assists (3.0 apg) and ranks second in scoring (18.3 ppg).
Leads team in minutes (36.0 mpg) and is shooting .511 from three-point land (24-for-47).
Named Sooner Holiday Classic MVP after averaging 18.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest.
Practiced with the team under "partial qualifier" label last year, but was not allowed to play in games.
(6-1, 185, JR., GUARD)
Has made 20-of-46 three-pointers this year (.435) and ranks third on team with 10.0 scoring average.
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).
Shot .529 (27-for-51) from three-point land over last 11 games.
Made 7-of-9 three-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points versus Western Carolina in third game of last season.
(6-2, 190, JR., GUARD)
Made first five three-point attempts of collegiate career at the Top of the World Classic and is shooting .615 on the season.
Tore ACL and MCL in his left knee during Oct. 31, 1998,scrimmage and missed the entire season (had surgery Nov. 20).
Averaged 17.7 points and shot .448 from beyond the arc as a sophomore in junior college.
(6-8, 240, SR., FORWARD)
A preseason Playboy All-American who was named Top of the World Classic MVP and to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.
Averaging 19.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks.
Ranks 23rd on OU's all-time scoring list with 1,155 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.
(7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)
Scored four points in five minutes of action in first exhibition game this year.
Played a total of 22 minutes in nine games last year.
Is the tallest player in school history.
Maintains his own web site (http://i.am/sooner).
(6-3, 210, FR., GUARD)
A first-team All-State selection at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., last year.
Led team to 6A state title and was named tournament MVP.
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.
(6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)
Averaging 1.6 points in 9.1 minutes per game.
Averaged 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game last year (15.0 points and 13.4 rebounds per 40 minutes).
Registered a career-high 12 boards versus Baylor last year.
Made 11-of-12 free throws and scored a career-high 17 points versus Texas A&M Feb. 13.
A second-team junior college All-American who averaged 23.7 points, 15.3 boards and 2.8 blocks per contest in 1997-98.
(6-10, 250, SR., FORWARD/CENTER)
Has started all seven games and is averaging 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds.
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.
(6-6, 220, JR., FORWARD)
Averaging 4.9 rebounds per game despite playing just 16.4 minutes per contest.
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.
1999-00 Big 12 Standings
(As of Thursday, Dec. 9)
(Dec. 6) (First-place votes in parentheses)
|4.||Michigan State (2)||6-1||1,454|
|7.||North Carolina (1)||5-1||1,333|
ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
(Dec. 5) (First-place votes in parentheses)