Jan. 30, 2000
Ranked 18th in the AP poll and 17th in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (16-3 overall, 4-2 Big 12) hosts Texas (14-5, 6-1, ranked 17th/14th) Monday at 8 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 be televised nationally on ESPN. Ron Franklin (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) will announce.
Oklahoma returns home after beating Texas Tech in Lubbock Saturday, 78-61. It was the team's second straight win (OU beat Iowa State 80-75 in double-overtime Jan. 22) and 15th Big 12 road victory in 27 such contests.
John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera registered his ninth double-double of the season and seventh in the last 10 outings with game highs in points (20) and rebounds (13) versus the Red Raiders, despite sustaining a severely sprained left hand in practice Friday night. The senior forward ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring (19.6 ppg), fourth in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and 11th in steals (1.7 spg). He also leads OU in blocked shots (0.9 bpg) and is third in assists (2.2 apg). Over OU's last five games, Najera is averaging 21.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.0 blocks. He ranks 11th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,393 points and 10th on the all-time rebounding chart with 766 boards.
OU has been terrific from three-point territory, shooting a Big 12-leading .407 on the season and .419 (57-for-136) in six league games. Four Sooners are shooting .400 or better from beyond the arc this year. Kelley Newton leads the Big 12 with his .517 mark and is followed by Tim Heskett (.429), J.R. Raymond (.418) and Hollis Price (.400).
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||19.6||8.9||2.2|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.8||4.2||1.4|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||7.4||4.3||1.5|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||5.7||1.7||2.6|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||15.5||3.5||3.9|
TEXAS PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||3||Gabe Muoneke (6-7, 250, Sr.)||14.1||6.5||2.2|
|C||4||Chris Mihm (7-0, 262, Jr.)||18.0||10.2||0.6|
|G||5||Ivan Wagner (6-1, 195, Sr.)||8.5||3.1||4.5|
|G||22||Lawrence Williams (6-1, 190, Jr.)||5.4||1.8||1.1|
|G||23||William Clay (6-2, 190, Jr.)||8.9||3.6||1.4|
Texas has won its last three games and five of its last six. Its most recent victory was a 75-65 decision at home against Colorado on Saturday. Center Chris Mihm scored 28 points and hauled in 17 rebounds to lead the Longhorns past the Buffaloes while guard Ivan Wagner and forward Gabe Muoneke added 15 and 14 points, respectively. UT is 9-1 at home, 2-4 on the road and 3-0 at neutral sites. The team's lone Big 12 defeat came at Oklahoma State Jan. 19, 73-65.
All-America candidate Chris Mihm paces the team in scoring (18.0 ppg), rebounding (10.2 rpg) and blocked shots (2.8 bpg). The junior is shooting a team-best .544 from the field on the season and .573 in conference play. Senior Muoneke ranks second in scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg) and is shooting .503 on the year and .550 in league action. Wagner is averaging a team-high 4.5 assists per outing.
In his second year at Texas, Rick Barnes is 33-18 (.647) as the Longhorns' head coach. He coached the 1987-88 season at George Mason (20-10), the next six at Providence (108-76) and the following four at Clemson (74-48). Barnes owns a 235-152 (.607) career record.
Series with Texas
Oklahoma owns a commanding 34-16 series lead over Texas and has won 16 of the last 20 matchups. The Sooners are 16-5 versus the Longhorns in Norman, 13-9 in Austin and 5-2 at neutral sites. Under Kelvin Sampson, OU owns a 7-3 advantage and is 3-1 in Norman. Last year's 64-60 Texas win snapped a seven-game Oklahoma winning streak versus the Horns at Lloyd Noble Center.
Two weeks ago, Texas shot .571 from the field (.762 after halftime) and handed the Sooners a 79-66 loss in Austin. Gabe Muoneke scored 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting for the Horns while Eduardo Najera scored an OU-high 28 points. Texas' .571 field goal mark stands as the best by a Sooner opponent this year.
Oklahoma/Texas Statistical Comparison
|62.5||Opponent Points Average||64.5|
|31.6||Opponent Rebounding Average||35.3|
|.464||Field Goal Percentage||.474|
|.424||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.390|
|.343||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.326|
|.703||Free Throw Percentage||.629|
|18.6||Personal Fouls Average||18.7|
|2.5||Blocked Shots Average||5.1|
Recapping the Texas Tech Contest
Oklahoma topped the .500 mark from the field (.525) for the first time in 10 games and disposed of Texas Tech in Lubbock Saturday, 78-61. Eduardo Najera, who sustained a severe sprain in his left hand during practice Friday night, recorded his third consecutive double-double and seventh in the last 10 games with game highs in points (20) and rebounds (13). Najera also added four assists in 39 minutes. Kelley Newton came off the bench to score 18 points, one shy of his career high, while point guard J.R. Raymond added 14 points and a team-high six assists. Renzi Stone's 11 points marked his second-highest scoring output of the season. OU, which took a 39-31 lead to the locker room following a Raymond 40-foot buzzer-beating bank shot, extended its lead to 11, 54-43, with 12:17 left in the game only to see the Red Raiders trim the margin to four, 56-52, with 8:56 remaining. But the Sooners pushed their advantage back to 12 less than two minutes later thanks to a Stone basket and a pair of Najera three-point plays. The win was OU's fourth straight in Lubbock. Oklahoma's average winning margin in the last three games there is 21.7 points.
Oklahoma begins February with a road game against Baylor Saturday at 12:45 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN Regional. Then the Sooners host Kansas State Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. (Sooner Sports Network) and Oklahoma State Saturday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. (ESPN Regional).
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 35-19 (.648) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 46-9 (.836) 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 a 20-7 league record at home and a 15-12 mark on the road.
Najera On a Roll
Senior forward Eduardo Najera has recorded double-doubles in three straight games and in seven of the last 10 contests. During the 10-game stretch, Najera is averaging 20.8 points and 10.1 boards. Najera, who is featured in the Jan. 24 issue of Sports Illustrated (pages 60-63) and in the current (Feb. 7) issue of ESPN The Magazine (pages 94-97), is the only Sooner to score in double figures in every game this year. He has led the team in both scoring and rebounding eight times this season, including the last three games.
Najera Climbing OU's Charts
John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera has already collected a number of in-season honors with his solid play. The senior forward was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP, and was also named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team. Additionally, he 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 .459 and .711 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 11th (1,393 points) and 10th (766 boards). Najera needs 70 points to move into 10th place on the all-time scoring list ahead of Chucky Barnett. In 19 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, Al Beal, Mookie Blaylock, David Johnson, Terry Evans and Harvey Grant in career scoring.
Najera also ranks seventh in career steals at OU (167) and is tied for sixth with Mike Bell in career blocks (81). He will likely become just the second Sooner to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks. Ryan Minor (1993-96) ranks sixth in scoring, ninth in rebounding, fourth in steals and ninth in blocks.
Junior Tim Heskett, OU's career leader in three-point percentage (.424), is shooting .429 from beyond the arc this season and, despite an 0-for-5 performance at Texas Tech Saturday, has drained 13 of his last 23 attempts over the team's last four games. Dave Sieger (.405) is the only other Sooner to ever post a career three-point mark above .400. Heskett, who set the single-season school record with a .473 three-point mark last year, ranks fifth on the OU career charts in three-point makes (159) and attempts (375). The Lexington, S.C., native needs just 12 treys to move into second place on the career list. Terry Evans owns the school record with 259 career conversions.
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 (15.5 ppg). He also averages 2.9 three-pointers per game (ranks second in league), leads the team in assists (3.9 apg) and is third in steals (1.5 spg). Raymond has made a team-high 56 three-pointers on 134 attempts (.418) and has scored in double digits in all but two games (scored nine both times).
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 has also been named this year's Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to the All-College Tournament all-tourney squad.
Raymond Cools After Torrid Start
Sophomore newcomer J.R. Raymond began the season afire, shooting .505 from the field and .534 from three-point range in OU's first nine games. The point guard has recorded just .343 (47-for-137) and .329 (25-for-76) respective marks since, however. He has shot .500 from the field just once in the last 10 games. Raymond averaged 18.0 points over OU's first nine games but is averaging 13.3 per outing since.
Still one of the squad's most productive players, the Gastonia, N.C., native has led the Sooners in assists in each of the last eight contests. He is averaging 5.0 assists per game during the span. In the team's first 11 games, Raymond averaged 3.2 assists.
Feast or Famine
Junior guard Kelley Newton has scored 18 or more points four times in his last 10 games. In the other six games during the span, however, he has totaled eight points. Newton is coming off an 18-point effort against Texas Tech in which he made a career-high seven field goals. He made four two-point baskets versus the Red Raiders despite owning just five two-pointers for the season heading into the contest.
This Price is Right
Freshman guard Hollis Price, who has started all six league games for OU, is developing into a steady player on both ends of the floor. Price has scored a career-high-tying 15 points in two of the last five contests (versus Baylor and Colorado). The New Orleans, La., product owns a healthy 1.8 assist/turnover ratio this season and has recorded three or more assists eight times. His shooting percentages are also more than adequate for a guard (.456 from the field, .400 from three-point land and .758 from the foul line). Lightning quick, Price has 10 multiple-steals games to his credit.
Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU averages a Big 12-low 12.7 turnovers per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.4) while forcing five of its last nine opponents into 20 or more turnovers. The Sooners also own the second best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.2).
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).
Sooner Guards Shooting .437 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 19 games, the Sooners have made 160-of-393 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .407 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .437 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:
Newton Third on Division I Three-point Shooting Chart
Junior guard Kelley Newton, who sat out last year while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, ranked third in three-point percentage in the Jan. 24 NCAA Division I statistics report with a .540 mark (27-of-50). He trailed only Montana State's Pete Conway (.558) and Bowling Green's Keith McLeod (.544). Newton, now shooting .517 (30-for-58) on the year from downtown, owns the Big 12's top two three-point performances this year with a 6-for-7 (.857) effort versus Georgia Southern and a 5-for-6 (.833) game against Texas A&M.
Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 24.4 minutes per game, has committed just 12 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 39 minutes. The junior guard leads the team with a 2.8 assist/turnover ratio and ranks fifth in the league with 2.7 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 9.1 points per game to rank third on the squad.
Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 19 games.
Eduardo Najera leads the Sooners in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocked shots. He also ranks third in assists.
Renzi Stone, who has shot better than .500 from the field each of the past two seasons, sports a .547 mark this year. The senior has missed just one game during his career.
J.R. Raymond recorded seven steals versus Arkansas-Little Rock, the second most by a Big 12 player this year, but is averaging 1.2 steals in the team's other 18 contests.
In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 68-9 (.883)when scoring 80 or more points and are 54-2 (.964) when scoring at least 80 points at home.
Oklahoma has been outrebounded just four times in its 19 games.
OU has committed fewer turnovers than its opponents in all but two games (George Washington and Colorado). It is averaging a Big 12-low 12.7 turnovers per outing.
Fifty-one of Tim Heskett's 54 field goal conversions (94 percent) have been three-pointers while 30 of Kelley Newton's 39 field goal makes (77 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.
The Sooners are averaging 8.4 three-point makes per game. Last season, OU set a school record with its 8.6 treys per outing.
Oklahoma ranks 11th in the Big 12 in free throw attempts per game (19.2).
J.R. Raymond has led OU in assists in each of the last eight games.
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:
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. Entering the year, OU had posted a 504-232 (.685) record over the span.
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 119-58 (.672) record and a 71-14 (.835) 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 Saturday, Jan. 29)
3MICHAEL CANO (6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)
A walk-on who has played in eight games this season.
Scored his first career points with a last-minute basket against Arkansas-Little Rock Dec. 11.
5NOLAN JOHNSON (6-4, 215, JR., GUARD)
Has started in 17 of 19 games and is averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting .539 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.
10HOLLIS PRICE (6-1, 165, FR., GUARD)
Averaging 5.7 points, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Has scored 15 points in two of the last five 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.
11J.R. RAYMOND (6-2, 175, SO., GUARD)
Poured in 29 points in first collegiate game Nov. 19.
Ranks first on team in minutes (35.2 mpg) and assists (3.9 apg), and second in scoring (15.5 ppg).
Ranks second in Big 12 with 2.9 three-pointers per game and is shooting .418 from beyond the arc.
Earned Big 12 Rookie-of-the-Week honor Dec. 14.
Named Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to Top of the World Classic and All-College all-tourney teams.
Practiced with the team under "partial qualifier" label last year, but was not allowed to play in games.
14TIM HESKETT (6-1, 185, JR., GUARD)
Shooting .429 from three-point range and has made at least two treys in 15 of 19 games.
Averaging 2.7 three-point makes per game (ranks fifth inBig 12) and just 0.6 turnovers per outing.
Set single-season OU record with his .473 three-point mark last year and is the career leader in three-point percentage (.430).
Ranked second in the Big 12 in three-point percentage and in three-pointers per game (2.5) last year.
20KELLEY NEWTON (6-2, 190, JR., GUARD)
Leads Big 12 in three-point percentage (.517).
Has scored at least 18 points four times this year.
Made 5-of-6 three-pointers and finished with a career-high 19 points versus Texas A&M in league opener.
Thirty of his 39 baskets have been three-pointers.
Tore ACL and MCL in his left knee during Oct. 31, 1998, scrimmage and missed the entire season (had surgery Nov. 20).
21EDUARDO NAJERA (6-8, 240, SR., FORWARD)
Averaging 19.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals.
Leads Big 12 (league games) in scoring and ranks third in rebounding with 20.3 and 9.8 respective averages.
Has played 166 out of 170 minutes in last four games.
A preseason Playboy All-American who was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP and to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.
Has nine double-doubles and seven in the last 10 games.
Ranks 11th on OU's all-time scoring list with 1,393 points and 10th on the career rebounding chart with 766 boards.
Averaged 18.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in first two NCAA Tournament rounds to lead OU to Sweet 16.
22OLEG REZTSOV (7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)
Played a career-high 10 minutes versus Mount St. Mary's.
Has scored three points this season.
Is the tallest player in school history.
Maintains his own web site (http://i.am/sooner).
30JARRETT HART (6-3, 210, FR., GUARD)
A first-team All-State selection at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., last year.
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.
32VICTOR AVILA (6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)
Averaging 4.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Has recorded two double-doubles this season.
Tied career highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds versusGeorgia Southern Dec. 18 and had career-high four assists.
A second-team junior college All-American who averaged 23.7 points, 15.3 boards and 2.8 blocks per contest in 1997-98.
33RENZI STONE (6-10, 250, SR., FORWARD/CENTER)
Has started all 19 games and is averaging 4.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per outing.
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.
34JAMEEL HEYWOOD (6-6, 220, JR., FORWARD)
Shooting team-high .619 from field and averaging 3.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per contest.
Grabbed a career-high 12 boards vs. Texas A&M in 17 minutes.
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.