Dec 14, 2002

 

By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer

NORMAN, Okla. - Coppin State was able to slow Oklahoma down, although not nearly enough.

The Eagles' deliberate style helped hold No. 6 Oklahoma 10 points below its season average. Even so, the Sooners won 69-47 Saturday as Hollis Price scored 22 points.

"Coppin is one of those teams that is going to keep the game ugly, and that's OK," coach Kelvin Sampson said. "That's the way they coach. There's nothing wrong with that.

"They test your defensive patience, they test your concentration, and then on defense they're going to force you to play slow."

The Sooners (5-1) scored 92 in their previous game, one week ago against Hartford. They had only 35 at halftime Saturday, but that was 15 more than Coppin State (1-6), which continued to struggle with its shot.

The Eagles, who have four freshmen among their top eight players, came in averaging 43.5 percent from the floor. They shot just 36 percent (16-of-44) against Oklahoma.

"There's no question they kept their poise in situations where we tried to be patient," coach Fang Mitchell said. "Their defensive pressure was just tremendous and got to the point where it caused us a lot of problems after a while."

Point guard Quannas White, who had totaled eight points in the previous three games, scored 13 for Oklahoma and had seven assists. Ebi Ere added 10 points.

Jimmy Boykin scored 17 and Deke Thompson had 14 with seven assists for Coppin State.

Price scored all the points during a 7-2 run that gave Oklahoma a 20-14 lead with just over eight minutes left in the first half. The Eagles trailed 22-18 at the 6:39 mark, then Oklahoma outscored them 13-2 the rest of the way, capped by Price's 3-pointer. Coppin State committed six of its 16 turnovers during that stretch.

The Eagles scored the first three points of the second half to cut the deficit to 35-23. Oklahoma countered with baskets from five players during a 13-3 spurt that pushed the lead to 22 and settled any doubt about the outcome with 12 minutes to play.

"It's probably harder to show patience on defense than it is on offense, just because we're a team that's going to overplay and that's something we have to adjust to," Price said.

"We didn't do a great job of staying patient enough. We didn't jump off to the ball. A lot of times we got caught backdoor, and that's something we've got to get better at."

Coppin State, which always plays a tough nonconference schedule, had already lost on the road against Marquette, Ohio State and North Carolina State. Mitchell is 0-9 against Oklahoma and 0-6 against Sampson.

"His teams play so hard," Mitchell said. "I don't look at them as a team that gets their ego tripping. They recognize what they have to do and they come at us."

Sampson took the game for what it was - a solid performance against an overmatched opponent.

"Teams like us obviously play better up and down the floor and play better against man to man defense," he said. "But I think every team we play prepares us for something down the road."