Jan. 10, 2000
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NORMAN, Okla. - Ranked 16th in the AP poll and 17th in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (13-1 overall, 1-0 Big 12) hosts Baylor (9-3, 0-1) Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center. The game will air on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry, Sr., (play-by-play) and Mark Mathew (analyst) calling 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.
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||18.9||8.2||2.0|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.7||4.1||1.7|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||7.4||4.3||1.5|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||5.2||1.6||2.4|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||15.6||3.4||3.8|
BAYLOR PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Jamie Kendrick (6-8, 210, Sr.)||7.7||5.2||0.8|
|F||24||Terry Black (6-5, 215, Jr.)||16.3||10.7||4.0|
|C||54||Ben Echols (6-11, 240, Sr.)||9.3||8.3||0.5|
|G||3||Tevis Stukes (5-11, 185, Sr.)||18.7||2.3||2.7|
|G||23||DeMarcus Minor (6-4, 210, Jr.)||10.7||4.8||6.3|
The Sooners, off to their best 14-game start since the 1988-89 season when they also began 13-1, opened their Big 12 slate with a 78-53 home triumph against Texas A&M Saturday. Junior guard Kelley Newton nailed 5-of-6 three-pointers and finished with a career-high 19 points to lead OU to its sixth straight season-opening league win. Newton leads the Big 12 and ranks in the top five nationally with his .610 season three-point percentage.
Senior All-America candidate Eduardo Najera has registered double-doubles in three of the last five contests and is averaging 18.9 points, 8.2 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. All are team bests except for the assists mark. He ranks 15th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,285 points.
Oklahoma has done a tremendous job of taking care of the ball this season, as evidenced by the fact it has committed more turnovers than its opponent just one time (vs. George Washington in its second game). OU leads the Big 12 with its 12.5 turnovers per game. Its foes, however, average 17.1 miscues per outing.
With it's 9-3 season record, Baylor has already won three more games than last year when it finished 6-24. The Bears, who opened the season with seven home contests, won their first four games then lost a pair before recuperating for a five-game winning streak. In their Big 12 opener last Thursday in Austin, they fell 71-43 to defending league champ Texas. BU senior guard Tevis Stukes scored a team-high 14 points while junior Terry Black added 13.
Stukes leads the team and ranks third in the Big 12 with an 18.7 scoring average and also leads the league in three-pointers per game (3.4). Black ranks ninth in the conference in scoring with his 16.2 per-game average and second in rebounding with a 10.7 per-game mark. Black also leads the league in steals (2.9 per contest) and is shooting .641 from the field (ranks third in Big 12). Junior guard DeMarcus Minor averages a team-high 6.3 assists to rank third in the conference.
In his first year as Baylor head coach is former Sooner mentor Dave Bliss. Bliss, who began his head coaching career at Oklahoma in 1975, racked up a 77-62 record in Norman and was named Big Eight Coach of the Year in two of his five seasons (1976-77 and 1978-79). He guided the Sooners to the 1979 NCAA Tournament, their first appearance since 1947. Bliss, who also posted a 142-101 mark in eight seasons at SMU and a 246-108 record in 11 years at New Mexico, is 474-274 (.634) in his career.
Series with Baylor
Oklahoma owns a 15-5 series lead over Baylor and has won the last 10 games versus the Bears. The Sooners are 7-2 versus BU in Norman, 6-2 in Waco and 2-1 at neutral sites. In the teams' first matchup a year ago on Feb. 3, OU recorded a 59-58 victory in Waco. Senior guard Eric Martin's 15-foot baseline jumper with 23 seconds left was the game-winning basket. He scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down eight boards to improve OU's conference mark to 6-3. Baylor, which pulled ahead by one with 1:23 left in the game thanks to a 15-1 run, lost its ninth game to begin the league season.
The Sooners' regular season finale against the Bears proved less thrilling than the first matchup as OU cruised to an 87-63 victory. Eduardo Najera scored a then-career-high 27 points and grabbed eight boards to lead Oklahoma while senior point guard Michael Johnson registered 22 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals in his last appearance at Lloyd Noble Center. With the win, OU finished 11-5 and tied for second place in the Big 12. Baylor completed the conference campaign with a 0-16 record.
Oklahoma/Baylor Statistical Comparison
|60.1||Opponent Points Average||65.3|
|31.4||Opponent Rebounding Average||34.5|
|.471||Field Goal Percentage||.464|
|.413||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.412|
|.361||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.301|
|.725||Free Throw Percentage||.651|
|17.2||Personal Fouls Average||17.3|
|2.6||Blocked Shots Average||4.0|
Recapping the Texas A&M Contest
Oklahoma notched its sixth straight league opening win under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson by outscoring Texas A&M 78-53 Saturday in Norman. Kelley Newton canned 6-of-7 field goal attempts and was 5-of-6 from three-point range en route to a game and career-high 19-point performance. Newton also contributed two assists and a career-high four steals in 24 minutes. The Sooners held the Aggies scoreless for the first 4:36 of the game and opened a 7-0 lead. OU led 47-29 at the break and went up by as many as 31 (75-44) after halftime. Eduardo Najera contributed 14 points, three assists and three steals for the Sooners while J.R. Raymond scored 13 points and handed out a career-high eight assists. Junior Jameel Heywood scored eight points and pulled down a career-best 12 rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Oklahoma, which recorded a season-high 15 steals, shot .464 from the field, .417 from beyond the arc and .762 from the foul line. Texas A&M registered .370, .231 and .696 respective marks while falling to 4-8.
Oklahoma hits the road for 8 p.m. CST games against Texas Saturday (ESPN Regional) and versus Colorado next Wednesday (no television).
Approaching Uncharted Territory
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson has guided the Sooners to No. 16 and 17 national rankings in the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, respectively. OU's ranking in the AP poll ties for the highest achieved by a Sampson-coached team (his first OU squad ranked 16th in the Feb. 27 and March 6, 1995, editions). A Sampson-coached squad has never been ranked as high as 17 in the coaches' poll.
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 32-17 (.653) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 42-7 (.857) mark. OU finished 9-7 (fifth place) in 1996-97 and 11-5 (tied for second) in each of the last two years. Kelvin Sampson's Big 12 squads have posted an 18-7 league record at home and a 14-10 mark on the road.
Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU averages a Big 12-low 12.5 turnovers per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.2) and has committed an average of just 11.6 in its last seven games. The Sooners own the second-best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.21).
Najera on The Sporting News' List
Preseason All-American Eduardo Najera appears in the eighth spot on The Sporting News' national player-of-the-year watch list. The 10-player list includes (in order), Quentin Richardson (DePaul), Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati), A.J. Guyton (Indiana), Terence Morris (Maryland), Khalid El-Amin (Connecticut), Chris Mihm (Texas), Morris Peterson (Michigan State), Najera, Shane Battier (Duke) and Ed Cota (North Carolina).
Climbing OU's Charts
John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera has already collected a number of in-season honors with his fast start. The senior forward is averaging 18.9 points (ranks second in Big 12) and 8.2 rebounds (ranks ninth) per game and was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP. Najera was also named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team and earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14. Najera, who shot .415 from the field and .642 from the free throw line last year, has posted .467 and .713 marks so far this season.
The Chihuahua, Mexico, native entered the season ranked 29th in OU career scoring and 15th in rebounding, but now ranks 15th (1,285 points) and 12th (711 boards). Najera needs 54 points to move into 14th place on the all-time scoring list ahead of Mookie Blaylock. In 14 games this season, he has already passed Cary Carrabine, Scott Martin, Joe King, Damon Patterson, Terry Stotts, Willie Rogers, Brent Price, Lester Lane, Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry and Al Beal in career scoring.
Sooner Guards Shooting .442 From Beyond Arc
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 14 games, the Sooners have made 113-of-281 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .402 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .442 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:
Raymond One of Big 12's Top Newcomers
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks second on the team and 12th in the Big 12 in scoring (15.6 ppg). He also averages 2.7 three-pointers per game (ranks fourth in league), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and ranks third in steals (1.4 spg). Raymond has made a team-high 38 three-pointers on 91 attempts (.418). He also ranks eighth in the conference with his .786 free throw mark.
In his collegiate debut versus Montana State Nov. 19 in Fairbanks, Alaska, Raymond made 9-of-16 field goal attempts, including 5-of-9 three-point tries, and finished with a game-high 29 points. 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 was also named Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to the All-College Tournament all-tourney squad.
Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 24.9 minutes per game, has committed just nine turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 39 minutes. The junior guard ranks third on the team with an 8.9 points-per-game scoring average and ranks sixth in the Big 12 with 2.6 three-point makes per contest.
Big 12 Posts Impressive Non-Conference Mark
Heading into the week, Big 12 schools have registered a 105-38 (.734) cumulative non-league record. Three squads captured neutral-court tournament crowns: Oklahoma won the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City, Kansas won the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska, and Texas won the Puerto Rico Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Iowa State finished second at the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii, losing only to Cincinnati in the title game.
The Big 12 owns a .500 or better record against every league except the Missouri Valley Conference (2-3).
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 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:
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 116-56 (.674) record and a 69-14 (.831) 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)|
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" airs Fridays at 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. The half-hour show can 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" is hosted by Steve Neumann, director of broadcasting at OU. The one-hour show airs in Oklahoma City Sundays at 7 p.m. on NewsNow 53 and later that night at 1:45 a.m. on KWTV Channel 9.
1999-00 Big 12 Standings
(Through Sunday, Jan. 9)
3MICHAEL CANO (6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)
5NOLAN JOHNSON (6-4, 215, JR., GUARD)
10HOLLIS PRICE (6-1, 165, FR., GUARD)
11J.R. RAYMOND (6-2, 175, SO., GUARD)
14TIM HESKETT (6-1, 185, JR., GUARD)
20KELLEY NEWTON (6-2, 190, JR., GUARD)
21EDUARDO NAJERA (6-8, 240, SR., FORWARD)
22OLEG REZTSOV (7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)
30JARRETT HART (6-3, 210, FR., GUARD)
32VICTOR AVILA (6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)
33RENZI STONE (6-10, 250, SR., FORWARD/CENTER)
34JAMEEL HEYWOOD (6-6, 220, JR., FORWARD)
AP Poll (Jan. 10)
(First-place votes in parentheses)
ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll (Jan. 9)
(First-place votes in parentheses)