Feb. 25, 2000
NORMAN, Okla. - Ranked 20th in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, Oklahoma (21-5 overall, 9-4 Big 12) hosts Missouri (16-9, 9-4) Saturday at 8 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 nationally by ESPN. Ron Franklin (play-by-play) and Quinn Buckner (analyst) will announce.
The Sooners rebounded nicely from their three-point loss at Kansas by handling Texas Tech Wednesday in Norman, 93-65. OU posted its second-best field goal mark of the season (.559) and committed just nine turnovers. Oklahoma has won seven of its last nine games and is tied for fourth place in the Big 12 with Missouri and Kansas.
All-America candidate Eduardo Najera scored 19 points Wednesday, one more than he scored in the previous two games combined. The senior ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring (18.6 ppg), second in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and eighth in steals (1.7 spg). In league games, he is averaging 17.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He is one of only two Sooners in school history (Ryan Minor is the other) to rank in the top 10 in career points (10th), rebounds (fifth), steals (fifth) and blocked shots (sixth).
Junior college transfer Nolan Johnson has scored in double figures in seven straight games and is averaging 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds during the stretch (he is averaging 8.8 points and 5.0 boards per game on the season). The guard, who has posted a .500-or-better field goal percentage in eight consecutive contests, is shooting .576 from the field on the year and ranks second in Big 12 games with a .646 mark.
True freshman Hollis Price has been seeing increased time at point guard recently and has responded positively. Price, who has 77 assists and 35 turnovers on the season (2.2 ratio), has led the team in assists in four of the last five games (5.0 average).
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||18.6||9.6||2.2|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.7||3.8||1.5|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||8.8||5.0||1.7|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||6.0||1.9||3.0|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||14.8||3.6||3.8|
MISSOURI PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||24||Jeff Hafer (6-5, 212, Sr.)||7.2||3.7||2.0|
|C||33||Tajudeen Soyoye (6-9, 236, Jr.)||9.7||6.3||0.8|
|G||4||Clarence Gilbert (6-2, 197, So.)||12.7||3.9||2.4|
|G||5||Keyon Dooling (6-3, 184, So.)||15.6||2.6||3.7|
|G||12||Brian Grawer (6-0, 165, Jr.)||7.8||3.0||3.0|
Missouri enters Saturday's game a loser of three of its last five contests. Each of the three defeats (to Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State) came at home. The Tigers are 4-3 in Big 12 home games and 5-1 on the road. In its most recent game, Missouri watched Oklahoma State shoot .569 from the field and .462 from three-point territory in an 84-72 Cowboy victory Monday.
Sophomore guard Keyon Dooling leads the team and ranks 10th in the league with his 15.6 scoring average. Dooling, who is shooting .387 from three-point range, also averages a team-high 3.7 assists per outing. Sophomore backcourt mate Clarence Gilbert averages 12.7 points and 2.7 three-pointers per game. Probably the hottest player on the team is freshman Kareem Rush. The forward is averaging 18.0 points per contest since returning from an NCAA-mandated nine-game suspension eight games ago.
Missouri leads the Big 12 with a whopping 9.6 three-point conversions per game and ranks second to Oklahoma in turnovers (just 13.4 per outing).
Head Coach Quin Snyder is in his first year at Missouri. Snyder won two Atlantic Coast Conference championships and participated in three NCAA Tournament Final Fours as a player at Duke from 1986-89.
Series with Missouri
The Oklahoma/Missouri series has been one of the most competitive in the history of Sooner basketball. OU leads the series, 102-88 (60-19 in Norman), but the teams have split the last 70 meetings. The Sooners and Tigers have also posted 10 victories each in the last 20 head-to-head outings. Additionally, in 28 neutral site contests, both teams own 14 wins. Kelvin Sampson is 5-5 versus Missouri as OU's head coach and is 3-0 against the Tigers at Lloyd Noble Center.
Last year in Columbia, Sampson earned his 100th win at Oklahoma as the Sooners scored 22 of the game's last 25 points in a 69-57 decision. Eduardo Najera produced 20 points and 15 rebounds, both game highs, in leading OU to its sixth straight win. Seniors Michael Johnson and Eric Martin scored 14 and 13 points for OU, respectively. Martin also added 10 rebounds for his only career double-double. Monte Hardge scored 15 points and was the only Tiger to reach double figures. Oklahoma outboarded Missouri by an impressive 46-28 count.
Senior Ceremony Will Follow Missouri Game
Unlike in past seasons when Oklahoma seniors playing in their final home game were honored prior to tipoff, this year's crop will take part in a ceremony immediately following Saturday's game. Playing for the last time at Lloyd Noble Center will be seniors Victor Avila, Eduardo Najera, Oleg Reztsov and Renzi Stone.
Oklahoma/Missouri Statistical Comparison
|62.1||Opponent Points Average||68.6|
|32.9||Opponent Rebounding Average||37.1|
|.460||Field Goal Percentage||.426|
|.412||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.453|
|.336||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.325|
|.703||Free Throw Percentage||.698|
|18.5||Personal Fouls Average||18.9|
|2.7||Blocked Shots Average||1.7|
Recapping the Texas Tech Contest
Oklahoma was never really threatened in its 93-65 home win versus Texas Tech Wednesday. OU recorded its second-highest shooting mark of the season (.559) and outrebounded the Red Raiders, 37-27. Hollis Price led four Sooners in double figures in points by scoring a career-high 20, thanks to 7-for-10 field goal and 3-for-4 three-point shooting. The true freshman also registered four assists, a steal and a block. Eduardo Najera contributed 19 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes, his least court time since Dec. 29 (22 minutes versus Mount St. Mary's). Nolan Johnson recorded his second-career double-double by registering 14 points (all in the first half) and 10 rebounds, while Victor Avila finished with 13 points and five boards. The Sooners, who led 46-26 at intermission, improved to 18-0 this year when ahead at halftime. Mario Layne scored a game-high 25 points and tied a team high with five rebounds for Texas Tech. Teammates James Ware and Rayford Young contributed 13 and 12, respectively.
Oklahoma winds up its regular season at Texas A&M Wednesday at 7 p.m. (no television) and at Oklahoma State next Saturday at 8 p.m. (ESPN).
Sampson Earns No. 300
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson pocketed his 300th career victory Wednesday when OU beat Texas Tech. Sampson, who is in his 17th year as a collegiate head coach, owns a 300-208 (.591) career record and is 124-60 (.674) in his sixth campaign at Oklahoma.
Shooting Figures Down in Five Losses
Oklahoma is shooting .460 from the field this season (ranks fifth in Big 12), .393 from three-point land (first) and .703 from the free throw line (third). In its five defeats, however, the team owns .379 field goal, .281 three-point and .598 free throw marks.
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 40-21 (.656) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 50-11 (.820) 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 23-8 league record at home and a 17-13 mark on the road.
Eduardo Najera: The Big 12's Best?
Is Eduardo Najera the best player in the Big 12 Conference? He has certainly made a case for himself...
- Ranks third in Big 12 games in scoring (17.9 ppg), leads the league in rebounding (10.6 rpg) and ranks third in steals (2.0 spg).
- Boasts a league-best seven double-doubles in conference action.
- Has 12 double-doubles this year and has recorded six in the last 10 games.
- Ranks third in the Big 12 (all games) in scoring (18.6 ppg), second in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and eighth in steals (1.7 spg). He is the only player to rank in the top 10 in all three categories.
- Averaging 36.6 minutes over the last 11 games.
- Has scored in double figures in 25 of 26 games this year.
- Has led the team in scoring and rebounding in the same game nine times.
- Has recorded three or more assists nine times this season and three or more steals on seven occasions.
- Has started in 58 consecutive games.
- Ranks 10th in career scoring at OU (1,504 points), fifth in rebounding (845), fifth in steals (179) and sixth in blocked shots (85). Only he and Ryan Minor rank in the school's all-time top 10 in the four categories.
- Was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP this year and was named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.
- Earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14 and Feb. 7.
- Was featured in the Feb. 7 issue of ESPN The Magazine and the Jan. 24 issue of Sports Illustrated. He will also be featured on next Friday's 5 p.m. CST "SportsCenter" on ESPN.
- "Najera has solidified his position as a first-round pick. Scouts love his toughness and ability to get to the basket. He will be a pick and a favorite on any roster."
ESPN.com's Andy Katz.
Najera Third In CBS' Wooden Award Watch
Eduardo Najera currently rates as the third-leading candidate to win the 2000 John R. Wooden Award, given to the nation's most outstanding player, according to CBS SportsLine (www.cbssportsline.com). He is the Big 12's highest rated player on the list.
|1. Kenyon Martin||Cincinnati|
|2. Chris Carrawell||Duke|
|3. Eduardo Najera||Oklahoma|
|4. Marcus Fizer||Iowa State|
|5. Chris Mihm||Texas|
|6. Troy Murphy||Notre Dame|
|7. Mateen Cleaves||Michigan State|
|8. Khalid El-Amin||Connecticut|
|9. Desmond Mason||Oklahoma State|
|10. Loren Woods||Arizona|
Johnson's Production Increases with Minutes
Guard Nolan Johnson, a junior college transfer who didn't play basketball last season because he was wrapping up academic requirements, has appeared as comfortable on the court over the last several games as he has all year. He is averaging 12.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in OU's last seven contests and has upped his season averages to 8.8 and 5.0, respectively. During the seven-game span, Johnson is also averaging 32.1 minutes per outing. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he is shooting .783 from the free throw line this season and .576 from the field (.646 in Big 12 action).
Raymond Vies For Newcomer of the Year
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks 11th in the Big 12 in scoring (14.8 ppg). He also averages 3.0 three-pointers per game (ranks second), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and is second in steals (1.5 spg). Raymond has made 77 three-pointers on 185 attempts (.416) and has scored in double digits in all but five games (scored nine three times).
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.
Junior Tim Heskett, OU's career leader in three-point percentage (.423), is shooting .419 from beyond the arc this season. Dave Sieger (.405) is the only other Sooner to ever post a career three-point mark above .400. Heskett, who set the single-season school record with a .473 three-point mark last year, ranks second on the OU career charts in three-point makes (173) and ranks fifth in attempts (411). Terry Evans owns the school record with 259 career conversions.
This Price is Right
Freshman guard Hollis Price, who has started all 13 league games for OU, is developing into a steady player on both ends of the floor. Price scored a career-high 20 points versus Texas Tech Wednesday and has totaled 15 points twice in Big 12 play. The New Orleans, La., leads the Big 12 in league games with a 2.4 assist/turnover ratio and has recorded three or more assists 12 times on the year (he has led OU in the category in four of the last five games). Lightning quick, Price also has 11 multiple-steals games to his credit.
Sooner Guards Shooting .417 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 26 games, the Sooners have made 211-of-537 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .393 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .417 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:
Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU, which has committed fewer turnovers than its opponents in all but three games, averages a Big 12-low 12.5 miscues per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.4). The Sooners also own the second best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.2).
Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 22.0 minutes per game, has committed just 14 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 41 minutes. The junior guard leads the Big 12 with a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio and also ranks seventh with 2.5 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 8.5 points per game to rank fourth on the team.
Oklahoma, which shot .500 or better just three times all of last season, has made at least half of its field goal attempts nine times this year.
The Big 12 is one of two conferences that boast four teams (OU, Iowa State, Kansas and Oklahoma State) with 20 or more wins. The SEC also boasts four squads.
Nolan Johnson, who is shooting .576 on the season, ranks second in Big 12 games with a .646 mark (53-for-82). Renzi Stone is shooting .615 (24-for-39) in league play.
Eduardo Najera recorded a 0.7 assist/turnover ratio in non-conference play but sports a 1.3 ratio in Big 12 games.
Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 26 games. Hollis Price and Nolan Johnson have started all 13 Big 12 contests.
The Sooners are 18-0 when leading at halftime.
J.R. Raymond (77) and Tim Heskett (65) have combined to make a Big 12-leading 142 three-pointers on the year. The Missouri duo of Clarence Gilbert (67) and Keyon Dooling (55) ranks second in the Big 12 with 122 conversions.
Eduardo Najera leads the Sooners in scoring, rebounding and steals, and ranks second in blocked shots and third in assists.
Renzi Stone, who has shot better than .500 from the field each of the past two seasons, sports a .558 mark this year. The senior has missed just one game during his career.
In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 71-9 (.888)when scoring 80 or more points and are 57-2 (.966) when scoring at least 80 points at home.
Oklahoma has been outrebounded just six times in its 26 games.
Sixty-five of Tim Heskett's 69 field goal conversions (94 percent) have been three-pointers while 35 of Kelley Newton's 49 field goal makes (71 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.
The Sooners are averaging 8.1 three-point makes per game. Last season, OU set a school record with its 8.6 treys per outing.
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. The last time Oklahoma did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The four longest current postseason streaks are as follows:
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.
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 124-60 (.674) record and a 74-15 (.831) 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, Feb. 25)
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)