Feb. 9, 2003
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Ranked seventh in last week's AP poll and fifth in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (16-3 overall, 7-1 Big 12) will travel to face No. 3/3 Texas (15-4, 6-2) on Monday at 8 p.m. CST inside the Frank Erwin Center. The first 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 matchup will be televised nationally by ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst) and Michele Tafoya (reporter) announcing.
AVERAGES TEXAS PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 22 Brad Buckman (6-8, 220, Fr.) 6.5 5.1 C 0 James Thomas (6-8, 235, Jr.) 10.8 11.1 G 3 Brandon Mouton (6-4, 205, Jr.) 12.9 4.2 G 11 T.J. Ford (5-10, 165, So.) 15.0 4.0 G 24 Royal Ivey (6-3, 191, Jr.) 8.4 3.1
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 9.9 5.9 C 21 Jabahri Brown (6-10, 210, Jr.) 6.6 5.6 G 2 Ebi Ere (6-5, 215, Sr.) 15.8 5.4 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 7.5 3.6 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 19.1 2.8
STATISTICAL COMPARISON Category Oklahoma Texas Overall Record 16-3 15-4 Big 12 Record 7-1 6-2 Points Per Game 74.3 80.2 Opponent Points Per Game 59.9 68.1 Rebounds Per Game 38.2 42.6 Opponent Rebounds Per Game 31.7 35.1 Field Goal Pct. .455 .450 Opponent Field Goal Pct. .406 .400 3-Point Pct. .369 .336 Opponent 3-Point Pct. .338 .339 Free Throw Pct. .724 .729 Personal Fouls Per Game 18.3 20.6 Assists Per Game 14.9 14.9 Turnovers Per Game 11.3 13.9 Blocked Shots Per Game 3.5 3.9 Steals Per Game 7.9 7.3
A winner of six straight and 10 of its last 11, Oklahoma begins a challenging stretch in which four of its next five games are against ranked opponents. The Sooners, tied for first in the Big 12, are coming off a dominating 91-42 home victory over Baylor on Saturday that extended their homecourt winning streak to 34 games, longest in the nation. Hollis Price scored 17 points to lead five Sooners in double figures. OU registered season highs in field goal percentage (.581), three-point percentage (.591), three-pointers (13), assists (26) and victory margin (49), and gave Baylor's Dave Bliss his worst loss in 28 years of coaching.
Price, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, ranks second in the league with his 19.1 points per game, first in free throw percentage (.939) and sixth in three-pointers per game (2.7). In league games, he ranks second in scoring (19.9 ppg), first in free throw percentage (.970) and first in treys per game (3.4). He stands in ninth place on OU's career scoring list (1,571 points) and currently ranks as the school's career leader in free throw percentage (.856). In addition to his 19.1 points per contest, he also averages 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals. Price has made 51 of his last 52 free throw attempts.
Prior to the last three games, Ebi Ere had averaged 6.3 points over OU's previous four contests and shot .188 (9-for-48) from the field during the four-game span. The senior has snapped out of the funk in a big way, averaging 18.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists over the last three games. Ere is now averaging 15.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per outing on the season. Point guard Quannas White is averaging 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and a team-high 3.8 assists. He leads the Big 12 with a stellar 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio and averages less than one turnover per game (18 turnovers in 19 games). He scored a season-high 19 points at Kansas State Feb. 1 and followed up with a 13-point, eight-assist effort against Baylor. Over the past two games, he is averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 assists and 0.5 turnovers while going 6-for-8 from deep.
In the frontcourt, Kevin Bookout has emerged as one of the conference's better big men. The forward averages 9.9 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting a Big 12-best .594 from the field. In league games, he's averaging 12.3 points and 6.8 boards while shooting a conference-best .629. Jabahri Brown returned to the starting lineup Saturday after missing two games and coming off the bench in another. He sustained a partial tear of the patellar tendon in his left knee during pregame warm-ups Jan. 25 at Baylor and missed the Jan. 28 Texas A&M game so he could fly home to attend the funeral of a friend. He came off the bench at Kansas State Feb. 1 but started against Baylor on Saturday. Brown averages 6.6 points, 5.6 boards and 1.4 rejections per outing on the season.
Coming off a hard-fought 95-87 triumph at Texas A&M Saturday night in which it received 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds from sophomore T.J. Ford, Texas is 15-4 overall and in fourth place in the Big 12 with a 6-2 mark. The Longhorns, who have won all 10 of their home games this season, are 4-0 at home in league play and 2-2 on the road. Their conference defeats came at Kansas (90-87) and Colorado (93-80). UT leads the Big 12 (league games only) by averaging 82.1 points per contest, ranks first in rebounding margin (+6.9) and second in field goal percentage (.467).
The Horns, who return all five starters from last year, are led by point guard Ford. Ford averages 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game on the year. In Big 12 play, he ranks fifth in scoring (18.1), second in assists (6.6), second in steals (2.4) and third in free throw percentage (.847). Junior guard Brandon Mouton averages 12.9 points and 4.2 boards per game while junior center James Thomas averages 10.8 points and a league-high 11.1 rebounds (nobody else averages 10.0 or more). Junior forward Brian Boddicker comes off the bench to average 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds, and is shooting .492 from three-point range (30-for-61) to rank second in the conference.
Head coach Rick Barnes is in his fifth season at Texas where he is 105-47 (.691). He has compiled a 307-181 (.629) record in 15-plus years as a head coach at George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas.
TEXAS SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Texas, 42-16, and is 15-9 in games in Austin. Kelvin Sampson is 15-3 against the Longhorns as OU's head coach and is 5-2 at the Erwin Center. The Sooners have won the last eight meetings and 24 of the last 28. The average score of the last eight meetings is 77-63. OU has gone 3-0 against Texas each of the past two seasons. Last year, the Sooners won 85-84 in overtime in Austin, 96-78 in Norman and 67-51 in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. In Austin, OU held a 17-point lead with 6:30 to go in the second half before Texas stormed back. Brandon Mouton's three-pointer at the buzzer forced overtime, but Hollis Price's shot in the lane with 20 seconds left in the extra session proved to be the game-winner. Price finished with 25 points while Ebi Ere, Aaron McGhee and Quannas White all added 16. Mouton netted a game-high 26 while James Thomas had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The Sooners have eclipsed the .500 mark from the field seven times this year, but three of those performances have come over the last four games. OU shot .526 at Baylor Jan. 25, .544 at Kansas State Feb. 1 and a season-best .581 versus Baylor on Saturday. Oklahoma is shooting a combined .515 from the floor over the past four outings.
BIG 12 DOMINANCE
With its 91-42 win over Baylor on Saturday, Oklahoma has now won 16 of its last 17 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 7-1 in league play this year. The only loss in the last 17 outings versus league competition was a controversial 48-46 decision at Oklahoma State on Jan. 13.
OU owns winning streaks of two or more games against eight of the Big 12's other 11 teams. The Sooners have won 18 straight against Baylor, nine versus Missouri, eight against Texas, seven over Texas A&M, five against Kansas State, three versus Nebraska, three versus Colorado and two against Iowa State. OU has also won 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 100-22 (.820) 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 53-19 (.736) in February and March regular season games. Oklahoma is 30-7 (.811) in those two months over the last four-plus seasons (2-0 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 67-9 (.882) record against teams from the state of Texas under Kelvin Sampson. Against Big 12 foes Baylor (16-0), Texas (15-3), Texas A&M (13-1) and Texas Tech (9-5), OU is 53-9 (.855) under Sampson. The Sooners are 5-0 against Texas schools this year.
Oklahoma has had its share of success on the road under Kelvin Sampson with a 35-20 (.636) record in its last 55 true away contests. In Big 12 play, OU is 31-15 (.674) in its last 46 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 (39-13), Oklahoma (32-20) 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 19 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 4.3 per game).
Oklahoma limited Baylor to 42 points on 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 10 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 59.9 points per game, fewest in the Big 12. The last time OU held opponents to 59.9 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 98 foul shots (5.2 per game). He has made 51 of his last 52 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 24. Price leads the Big 12 and ranks fifth nationally with his .939 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 sure to be ranked in the AP poll's top 10 when it is released Monday. That will make it 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 48 percent of its steals. The three guards have also made 74 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 979 of the team's 1,412 points this year. That means 69 percent of OU's scoring has come from its guards. The guards have also registered 233 of the team's 284 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 +7.8. 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 6.5 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 first in the Big 12 this season with only 11.3 turnovers per game. Also, OU has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its foes in 15 of 19 games this year and in 27 of the last 32 games dating back to last season.
One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 19.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 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 1,571 points and needs 75 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 (199), third in three-point field goal attempts (525), fourth in minutes played (3,767), fifth in steals (196), seventh in assists (429) 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.
ERE HOT, THEN COLD, NOW HOT AGAIN
Guard Ebi Ere had a stellar first 12 games of his senior season but cooled considerably the next four games. 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. Over the next four games, however, Ere averaged 6.3 points on a combined 9-for-48 (.188) field goal and 2-for-16 (.125) three-point shooting. He has since broken the single-digit scoring skid by netting 18 against Texas A&M, 25 at Kansas State and 11 versus Baylor the past three games. Ere now averages 15.8 points (12.4 in Big 12 play), 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 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 12.3 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds while shooting .629 in OU's eight conference games. Over the past seven games, Bookout has averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting a remarkable .663 (41-for-62). He has started all 19 games and is averaging 9.9 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds on the season, and boasts a .594 mark from the field in 29.3 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 9.9 points per game marks the highest scoring average by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster's 18.3 in 1990-91. His 5.9 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 19 games, the Sooners own a .724 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...