Sooners Overcome Tiger Threat In Overtime Victory

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 10, 2000

March 10, 2000

AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- Hollis Price knows all about taking pressure free throws. If he misses in practice, his teammates have to stay in the gym.

This time, he extended the game long enough for Oklahoma teammate Kelly Newton to win it for the Sooners in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament Friday night.

Price made two free throws with one second left in regulation, and Newton hit a 3-pointer with 22.2 seconds remaining in overtime as No. 15 Oklahoma beat Missouri 84-80 to advance to the semifinals Saturday against Texas.

"It was like practice when we shoot 1-and-1," Price said. "Every day, I raise my hand and say, `Coach, let me shoot them and get practice over with."'

Sooners coach Kelvin Sampson agreed.

"Hollis was right," he said. "We put a lot of pressure on our free-throw shooters in practice. That kid is always the first to raise his hand."

Newton hit his 3-pointer, and the 3-point shot that deserted Missouri throughout failed again at the end. Clarence Gilbert, who on Thursday set the Missouri season record for 3-pointers, missed from the corner in the final seconds. Newton then tacked on two free throws for the final margin after he was fouled on the inbounds pass.

"I tried to ball fake to hit the open guy, I probably should have passed it" Newton said. "But it was an open shot. It was there after I thought about it for too long, so I shot it."

The two teams combined to shoot 79 free throws - Missouri making 28 of 32 and Oklahoma 37 of 47.

Missouri (18-12) gave Oklahoma (25-5) - which beat the Tigers 83-56 on Feb. 26 - everything the Sooners could handle even though the Tigers' primary weapon abandoned them. Missouri was just 4-of-25 on 3-point attempts.

"I'd rather look at our defense," Tigers coach Quin Snyder said of the poor shooting. "When you're spilling your guts out on the floor at every position on defense, it takes a lot of poise and concentration to hit shots on the other end. We tried to make them work for everything they got."

Nolan Johnson scored 21 points for the Sooners. Newton and Eduardo Najera had 13 each.

Gilbert, the Tigers' 3-point specialist, was just 2-of-11 on 3-point tries, but finished with 21 points. Keyon Dooling also had 21 for Missouri.

Price made the two free throws after he was fouled by Jeff Hafer. Dooling made a pair of free throws with 11.8 seconds remaining to give Missouri a 72-70 lead.

Oklahoma tied it 60-60 on two free throws by Johnson with 4:38 to play, and the game went down to the wire. An exchange of 3-pointers between J.R. Raymond and Gilbert left Missouri leading 70-68 before Johnson tipped back a missed shot for a 70-70 tie with 39 seconds left.

Seven players had four fouls as the game went under four minutes. Najera was the first to leave the game, getting his fifth with 2:32 to play by going over the back of Dooling for a rebound.

Hafer, Justin Gage and Kareem Rush all fouled out for Missouri.

The Tigers opened a 59-55 lead on a 3-pointer by Brian Grawer with 7:14 to play and two free throws by Grawer with 6:50 remaining.

Missouri tied it 41-41 with 15:34 left after Johnson was given a technical following a play in which Gilbert was whistled for an intentional foul for wrestling Najera to the floor.

Earlier, fouls were called on two Missouri players during an inbounds play for taking shots at Najera, a unanimous All-Big 12 player known for his toughness.

Najera then was called for fouls on the offensive end of the court on two successive trips down the court, picking up his third with 12:13 left to play.



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