Jan. 20, 2000
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Ranked 17th in the AP poll and 16th in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (14-3 overall, 2-2 Big 12) returns home following two road games to face Iowa State (16-2, 4-0) Saturday at 3 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 on ESPN Regional (KFOR Channel 4 in Oklahoma City and KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa). Fred White (play-by-play) and Chris Piper (analyst) will announce.
- Road defeats at Texas (79-66) last Saturday and Colorado (88-80) on Wednesday have left the Sooners with their first two-game losing streak since late last February. Oklahoma, which entered the Texas game surrendering just 58.9 points per game, have given up an average of 83.5 over the last two contests. The Longhorns and Buffaloes combined to shoot .558 from the field and attempted 74 free throws against OU. The Sooners shot a combined .426 from the floor, meanwhile, and got to the line for 52 foul shots.
- John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera, who is featured in the current issue of Sports Illustrated (pages 60-63), scored 28 points against Texas and registered 17 points and 14 rebounds versus Colorado. The senior forward is averaging 19.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 steals per contest on the year. All are team bests except for the assists mark. He ranks 13th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,348 points (he passed Mookie Blaylock and David Johnson with his performance against Colorado) and 12th on the all-time rebounding chart with 739 boards.
- The Sooners have not helped themselves from the free throw line recently, as they have posted a .625 mark over the last three games. Prior to those contests, OU had posted a .724 season free throw percentage. The season mark has fallen to .704, still second best in the Big 12.
About Iowa State
- One of the country's hottest teams, Iowa State enters Saturday's contest the winner of each of its last 13 games. The team's last loss came Nov. 28 to Cincinnati in the Big Island Invitational championship game, 75-60. The Cyclones' only other defeat was a 48-44 setback at Drake Nov. 19 in their second game of the season.
- Junior forward Marcus Fizer leads the Big 12 in scoring with his 20.8 points-per-game average. A first-team All-Big 12 selection last year, Fizer ranks third in the league in field goal percentage (.647) and averages a team-high 7.4 rebounds per outing. Senior guard Michael Nurse ranks second on the squad in scoring (11.1 ppg) and is shooting .447 from three-point range (42-for-94). Junior point guard Jamaal Tinsley is averaging 9.4 points per game and ranks second in the conference with 6.6 assists per contest. Fellow junior Kantrail Horton ranks second in the league with his .490 three-point mark.
- Head Coach Larry Eustachy is 31-17 (.646) in his second season at Iowa State. He is in his 10th year as a collegiate head coach and owns a 190-103 (.648) career record. Eustachy also compiled a 61-33 record in three years at Idaho State and a 98-53 mark in five seasons at Utah State.
Series with Iowa State
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Iowa State, 100-73, and owns a 54-21 advantage in Norman. OU has won 15 of the last 18 versus the Cyclones in Norman, though the teams have split the last four at Lloyd Noble Center.
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||19.2||8.4||2.0|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.6||4.4||1.5|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||7.5||4.5||1.5|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||6.2||1.7||2.5|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||15.4||3.4||3.8|
|F||5||Marcus Fizer (6-8, 265, Jr.)||20.8||7.4||1.0|
|F||23||Stevie Johnson (6-4, 225, Sr.)||7.9||4.9||1.3|
|G||4||Kantrail Horton (6-1, 225, Jr.)||8.9||4.1||2.4|
|G||11||Jamaal Tinsley (6-3, 175, Jr.)||9.4||4.8||6.6|
|G||53||Michael Nurse (6-1, 175, Sr.)||11.1||2.3||2.3|
OU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, who is 4-3 against Iowa State, watched his team overcome a 24-15 deficit last year in Ames to beat the Cyclones, 56-52, in the Big 12 opener for both teams. The Sooners shot .520 in the second half to offset its .176 first-half performance. Eduardo Najera scored a game-high 22 points while Ryan Humphrey grabbed a career-high-tying 13 rebounds. Iowa State's Michael Nurse scored a team-high 14 points and recorded four assists. OU held the Cyclones to .327 shooting for the game.
Oklahoma/Iowa State Statistical Comparison
|61.8||Opponent Points Average||62.3|
|31.5||Opponent Rebounding Average||30.2|
|.463||Field Goal Percentage||.509|
|.424||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.397|
|.352||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.322|
|.704||Free Throw Percentage||.662|
|18.5||Personal Fouls Average||15.8|
|2.7||Blocked Shots Average||3.6|
Recapping the Colorado Contest
Jaquay Walls made 13-of-15 free throw attempts and scored a game-high 28 points to lead Colorado to an 88-80 victory over Oklahoma Wednesday in Boulder. The CU win snapped its 11-game losing streak to the Sooners and was just its third victory against OU in the last 40 meetings. The Sooners' hot start from three-point land - they made their first five attempts from beyond the arc - resulted in a 27-18 lead with 11:37 left in the first half. But Colorado outscored OU by a 26-11 count the rest of the half to take a 44-38 lead. The Buffs extended their lead to 10 a minute into the second stanza before Oklahoma cut its deficit to two with 14:51 on the clock. However, a 10-2 CU run put OU down by 10 again, a margin it could not overcome. Tim Heskett's fourth three-pointer of the game with 4:48 remaining made the score 70-66, but Walls and his teammates iced the game from the foul line in the closing minutes. Eduardo Najera played 39 minutes and led OU with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks while Hollis Price tied a career high with 15 points. Heskett was 4-for-6 from long distance and finished with 14 points. Colorado shot .547 for the game compared to OU's .467 mark, and outrebounded the Sooners, 38-33. It was just the fourth time this year that Oklahoma was outboarded.
After its game with Iowa State, Oklahoma hits the road again when it travels to Texas Tech and the brand new United Spirit Center for a 3 p.m. ESPN Regional game next Saturday. Oklahoma closes out the month with a rematch versus Texas on ESPN's Big Monday Jan. 31. The game will start at 8 p.m.
Iowa State Game is Sampson's 500th
Saturday's OU game against Iowa State will mark Kelvin Sampson's 500th as a collegiate head coach. Sampson, who was the 1995 national coach of the year in his first season at Oklahoma, owns a 293-206 lifetime record in 17 seasons. He compiled a 73-45 (.619) record in four years at Montana Tech, a 103-103 (.500) record in seven seasons at Washington State and is 117-58 (.669) in his sixth season at OU. The only Big 12 mentors to coach in more career games are Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton (899), Baylor's Dave Bliss (751) and Nebraska's Danny Nee (605).
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 33-19 (.635) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 45-7 (.865) 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 19-7 league record at home and a 14-12 mark on the road.
Not Necessarily a Slump, But...
In its first nine games this year, Oklahoma shot .500 or better from the field five times and owned a .501 field goal percentage through those contests. In eight games since, however, the Sooners have failed to shoot .500, posting a .424 mark from the floor. OU still touts a .463 field goal percentage for the season, a mark that compares favorably to last year's .421 figure.
Okay, This is a Slump
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 .324 (35-for-108) and .288 (15-for-52) respective marks since, however. He has shot .500 from the field just once in the last eight games. Raymond averaged 18.0 points over OU's first nine games but is averaging only 12.4 per outing since.
Not all has been bad for Raymond lately, though, as the Gastonia, N.C., native has led the Sooners in assists in each of the last six contests. He is averaging 5.0 assists per game during the span. In the team's first 11 games, Raymond averaged 3.2 assists.
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 is averaging 19.4 points (ranks second in Big 12), 8.1 rebounds (ranks sixth) and 1.8 steals (ranks 10th) per game. He is the only Big 12 player to rank in the top 10 in all three categories. Najera 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 .456 and .699 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 13th (1,348 points) and 12th (739 boards). Najera needs 14 points to move into 12th place on the all-time scoring list ahead of Terry Evans and 44 points to move into the 11th slot ahead of Harvey Grant. In 17 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 and David Johnson in career scoring.
This Price is Right
Freshman guard Hollis Price, who has started all four 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 three contests (versus Baylor and Colorado). The New Orleans, La., product owns a healthy 1.9 assist/turnover ratio this season and has recorded three or more assists six times. His shooting percentages are also more than adequate for a guard (.466 from the field, .429 from three-point land and .758 from the foul line). Lightning quick, Price has nine multiple-steals games to his credit and ranks third among league freshmen with 1.6 steals per outing.
Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU averages a Big 12-low 12.8 turnovers per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.6) and has committed an average of just 12.3 in its last 10 games. The Sooners own the third-best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.17).
A Merry Band of Thieves
In its first 10 games, Oklahoma averaged 5.8 steals per contest. The Sooners have stepped up the defensive pressure in the last seven games, though, and are averaging 10.9 steals per outing during the span. Eduardo Najera has a whopping 20 steals in the last six games (3.3 average). Five of OU's last seven foes have committed at least 20 turnovers.
Feast or Famine
Kelley Newton has scored at least 18 points in three of the team's last nine games (18 versus Georgia Southern and Mount St. Mary's and 19 versus Texas A&M). In OU's other six games during the stretch, however, Newton has totaled eight points.
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 .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 17 games, the Sooners have made 140-of-342 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .409 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 (15.4 ppg). He also averages 2.7 three-pointers per game (ranks second in league), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and is tied for second in steals (1.6 spg). Raymond has made a team-high 46 three-pointers on 110 attempts (.418).
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.
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. 18 NCAA Division I statistics report with a .556 mark (25-of-45). Newton 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 24.2 minutes per game, has committed just 11 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 37 minutes. The junior guard leads the team with a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio and ranks seventh in the league with 2.6 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 9.1 points per game to rank third on the squad.
- Colorado was the first team to score 80 points against the Sooners this year (scored 88 Wednesday).
- Despite the fact that Eduardo Najera has attempted 113 free throws (third most in the Big 12), OU ranks 10th in the league in free throw attempts per game (20.0).
- Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 17 games.
- Four Sooners (Tim Heskett, Kelley Newton, Hollis Price and J.R. Raymond) are shooting better than .400 from three-point range.
- Twenty of Eduardo Najera's 31 steals have come in the last six outings (3.3 average).
- J.R. Raymond recorded seven steals versus Arkansas-Little Rock, the second most by a Big 12 player this year, but is averaging 1.3 steals in the team's other 16 contests.
- After posting three consecutive double-digit scoring efforts in early December, Hollis Price had averaged just 2.3 points over the next six games. But Price has scored 15 points in two of the last three games.
- Oklahoma shot .500 or better from the field in five of its first nine games but hasn't in eight games since.
- In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 67-9 (.881)when scoring 80 or more points and are 53-2 (.964) when scoring at least 80 points at home.
- Oklahoma has been outrebounded just four times in its 16 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 12.8 turnovers per outing.
- Forty-five of Tim Heskett's 48 field goal conversions (94 percent) have been three-pointers while 27 of Kelley Newton's 32 field goal makes (84 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.
- The Sooners are averaging 8.2 three-point makes per game. Last season, OU set a school record with its 8.6 treys per outing.
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.
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 117-58 (.669) record and a 70-14 (.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)|
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 Friday, Jan. 21)
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)