Feb. 23, 2000

By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - No. 20 Oklahoma got a perfect tonic Wednesday night - an easy victory that allowed Eduardo Najera to get a some rest.

Najera, banged up and looking tired in recent games, scored 19 points in just 23 minutes and the Sooners rediscovered their shooting touch in a 93-65 victory over Texas Tech.

"I think it was a needed game," said coach Kelvin Sampson, who got his 300th victory. "You know, we've won seven of our last nine and our only two losses were by three points each. We thought we were pretty good and we still do."

Those two losses, to Oklahoma and Kansas, had come in the previous three games. The Sooners (21-5, 9-4 Big 12) had shot below 40 percent in three of their past four games, but hit 56 percent against Tech, their second-best game of the season.

"For us to come out and score 93 points and attack and play the way we did tells me a little bit about the character of this program," Sampson said.

Najera had scored eight and 10 points on 6-of-26 shooting in the past two games, but was 8-of-12 from the field. He made five of his six shots in the second half when he scored 13.

Sampson said Najera benefited from the play of guards Hollis Price and Nolan Johnson. Price, a freshman, scored a career-high 20 and Johnson had 14 points and 10 rebounds. All his points came in the first half when the Sooners took a 20-point lead.

"With these guys scoring and attacking, we don't have to throw the ball to him (Najera) and allow teams to go double him and triple him and make the game difficult for him," Sampson said. "Them being aggressive makes our team better."

The Red Raiders (11-13, 2-11) were coming off their first conference road victory of the season, but never threatened after the opening minutes and lost their fifth straight to Oklahoma.

"They whipped us bad," Tech coach James Dickey said. "I thought they were sharper, quicker. They got the loose balls a lot better than we did.

"I thought we were flat, lethargic, not ready to play. They were just the opposite."

Mario Layne scored 25 and James Ware had 13 for Tech, which shot 38 percent.

Tech led twice in the early going, the final time 8-6 after Rayford Young's 3-pointer. Oklahoma went on a 13-2 run in the next six minutes, when Tech made only one of six shots and committed five turnovers.

Another Sooner run, this one 13-1 during a four-minute stretch, widened the lead to 34-16. Oklahoma held the Red Raiders without a field goal in the final three minutes.

Tech was just 8-of-26 in the first half and finished 20-of-52.