California-Oklahoma Preview

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 21, 2003

March 21, 2003

GAME: No. 8 California (22-8) vs. No. 1 Oklahoma (24-6).
REGIONAL: East, second round.
TIME: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. EST.
SITE: Ford Center; Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma hopes its two ailing starters have done some healing as it gets set to play California in a second-round game.

The top-seeded Sooners (24-6) received a combined 20 minutes from guard Hollis Price and forward Kevin Bookout, but the two were not sorely missed in Thursday's 71-54 victory over 16th-seeded South Carolina State. Price, still nursing a strained groin suffered in the Big 12 tournament, made a 3-pointer in his only attempt from the field and spent most of the game with a hot compress on his leg.

"Hopefully I can be 80 percent by Saturday," Price said. "We are going to get a lot of treatment."

Bookout has been slowed recently by strep throat and logged just nine minutes Thursday. The freshman forward missed two close-range shots before coach Kelvin Sampson took him out of the game.

"As soon as I took him out of the game he started throwing up," Sampson said. "Of course, if he had missed another shot, I would have thrown up."

DeAngelo Alexander scored 16 points for the Sooners, who may need Bookout more than Price, the Big 12 player of the year, as they attempt to return to the Final Four for a second straight season.

Bookout and Johnnie Gilbert would be the primary defenders against California power forward Joe Shipp, who carried the Golden Bears into the second round for the second straight year.

Shipp finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists, including one on Richard Midgley's game-winning 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds to play in overtime of Cal's 76-74 victory over No. 9 North Carolina State on Thursday.

"I tried to create and go to the basket," Shipp said. "I looked up and Richard was wide open and made the play."

Bears coach Ben Braun noted the senior's instincts on the play, saying, "He'll get a lot of attention for all the points he scored but there's something about trusting your teammates. He certainly trusted the freshman."

Midgley, a native of England, finished with 11 points and hit three 3-pointers.

"If I'm wide open, I'm confident I'm going to hit my shot," said Midgley, who had a pair of layups blocked in the overtime. "I wasn't worried about what happened earlier in the game."

California has not advanced past the second round since 1997.

California - F Shipp, F Amit Tamir, C Gabriel Hughes, G Midgley, G Brian Wethers.
Oklahoma - F Gilbert, F Bookout, G Alexander, G Price, G Quannas White.

California - Shipp, 20.4 ppg; Tamir, 6.4 rpg; Tamir and Wethers, 3.1 apg.
Oklahoma - Price, 18.9 ppg; Bookout, 5.9 rpg; White, 4.1 apg.

California - At-large bid, Pac-10; beat No. 9 North Carolina State 76-74 in OT, first round.
Oklahoma - Automatic bid, Big 12 tournament champion; beat No. 16 South Carolina State 71-54, first round.

California - 18-12, 12 years.
Oklahoma - 28-21, 21 years.



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