Jan. 13, 2000
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NORMAN, Okla. - Ranked 16th in the AP poll and 17th in the ESPN/USA Today version, Oklahoma (14-1 overall, 2-0 Big 12) plays its first league road game when it faces Texas (10-4, 2-0 and ranked 15th in both polls) Saturday at 8 p.m. in Austin. 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 also be televised by ESPN Regional (KOCB Channel 34 in Oklahoma City and KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa). Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Chris Piper (analyst) will announce.
The Sooners, off to their best 15-game start since their 1987-88 Final Four season when they also began 14-1, routed Baylor Tuesday night in Norman, 76-43. Coupled with a 78-53 win against Texas A&M Saturday, the Sooners posted their first consecutive 25-or-more-point conference wins since the 1933-34 Big Six season. Eduardo Najera recorded his sixth double-double of the year with 18 points and 10 boards against the Bears and registered a career-high six steals.
Najera has registered double-doubles in four of the last six contests and is averaging 18.8 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game on the year. All are team bests except for the assists mark. He ranks 15th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,303 points and 11th on the all-time rebounding list with 721 boards.
Oklahoma has done a tremendous job of taking care of the ball this season, as evidenced by the fact it has committed more turnovers than its opponent just one time (vs. George Washington in its second game). OU leads the Big 12 by committing just 12.7 turnovers per game. Its foes, however, average 17.4 miscues per outing.
Another positive for the Sooners has been their defense. Oklahoma ranks first in the Big 12 and in the top 15 nationally by allowing just 58.9 points per game. In its last five games, OU has surrendered an average of 50.2 points per contest. Sooner opponents have shot a meager .359 from the field and .298 from three-point range during the span.
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||18.8||8.3||2.1|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.5||4.3||1.6|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||7.6||4.3||1.5|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||5.9||1.5||2.4|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||15.9||3.3||3.8|
TEXAS PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||3||Nnadubem Gabe Muoneke (6-7, 250, Sr.)||13.5||6.6||2.2|
|C||4||Chris Mihm (7-0, 262, Jr.)||17.6||10.7||0.6|
|G||5||Ivan Wagner (6-1, 195, Sr.)||8.6||2.9||4.0|
|G||22||Lawrence Williams (6-1, 190, Jr.)||4.9||2.3||1.4|
|G||23||William Clay (6-2, 190, Jr.)||9.2||3.6||1.6|
Texas rebounded from a 77-67 loss at fifth-ranked Connecticut Monday by thumping Texas A&M in College Station Wednesday, 78-51. The Longhorns, who have won their two league games by a combined 55 points (they beat Baylor 71-43 in their opener), shot .527 from the field against A&M while limiting the Aggies to a .291 mark. Texas is 6-1 at home, 1-3 on the road and 3-0 in neutral-site contests.
The Longhorns are led by 1999 first-team All-Big 12 selections Chris Mihm and Gabe Muoneke. Mihm averages 17.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest (all team highs) and leads the conference with nine double-doubles. He is shooting .530 from the field and .625 (5-for-8) from beyond the arc. Muoneke averages 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per outing. Point guard Ivan Wagner, who scored a team-high 16 points along with backcourt mate William Clay against Texas A&M, averages a team-best 4.0 assists per game.
In his second year at Texas, Rick Barnes is 29-17 as the Longhorns' head coach. Prior to arriving in Austin, he coached the 1987-88 season at George Mason (20-10), the next six years at Providence (108-76) and the following four years at Clemson (74-48). Barnes owns a 231-151 (.605) career record.
Series with Texas
Oklahoma owns a commanding 34-15 series lead over Texas and has won 16 of the last 19 matchups. The Sooners are 13-8 versus the Longhorns in Austin, 16-5 in Norman and 5-2 at neutral sites. Under Kelvin Sampson, OU owns a 7-2 advantage and is 3-1 in Austin.
The squads split their two meetings last year, with the road team posting narrow victories in both outings. In Norman on Jan. 25, Chris Mihm scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to propel the Horns to a 64-60 triumph. The Sooners trailed by nine late in the game but trimmed the deficit to three with 20 seconds left. With the ball following a timeout, OU committed a turnover before attempting a potential game-tying three-pointer. Gabe Muoneke scored 15 points for Texas while Ryan Humphrey led the Sooners with 16. Michael Johnson added 14 for OU and Eduardo Najera had 11 points, nine boards and six assists.
Oklahoma overcame a .343 shooting performance and a seven-point deficit with 2:47 remaining to capture a 64-63 decision Feb. 10 in Austin. Michael Johnson's 12-foot runner with 5.6 seconds left catapulted OU to the victory. Oklahoma trailed 40-29 but used a 25-8 run to take a 54-48 edge. Texas responded with a 15-2 run to go up 63-56 before OU scored the game's final eight points. Najera canned a career-high five treys and scored a game-high 23 points and was a big factor on the defensive end, helping limit Mihm to just four field goal attempts and six points. Also aiding the Sooners were 13 three-point makes on 28 attempts (.448).
Oklahoma/Texas Statistical Comparison
|58.9||Opponent Points Average||64.8|
|31.2||Opponent Rebounding Average||35.5|
|.468||Field Goal Percentage||.474|
|.408||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.388|
|.347||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.330|
|.720||Free Throw Percentage||.609|
|17.3||Personal Fouls Average||18.4|
|2.6||Blocked Shots Average||5.3|
Recapping the Baylor Contest
For the second straight game, Oklahoma led from start to finish as it posted a 76-43 victory over Baylor Tuesday night to improve to 14-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. J.R. Raymond scored a game-high 20 points on 6-for-9 three-point shooting and contributed a game-high four assists while Eduardo Najera notched his sixth double-double of the year with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Najera also registered a career-high six steals. OU, which didn't allow a Baylor field goal until the 13:34 mark of the first half, held the Bears to .318 field goal and .133 three-point shooting marks in Head Coach Dave Bliss' return to Norman. Bliss, OU's mentor from 1975-80, watched his squad commit 22 turnovers and produce just five assists. Baylor's 13 first-half turnovers matched its point total at the break as the Sooners went to the locker room with a 36-13 advantage. Also scoring in double figures for Oklahoma were freshman Hollis Price, who poured in a career-high-tying 15 points, and Nolan Johnson, who scored 10.
After its game with Texas, Oklahoma travels to Colorado for an 8 p.m. CST affair Wednesday. The contest will not be televised. OU then hosts Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. in a game televised by ESPN Regional. The game will mark Kelvin Sampson's 500th as a collegiate head coach.
Approaching Uncharted Territory
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson has guided the Sooners to No. 16 and 17 national rankings in the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, respectively. OU's ranking in the AP poll ties for the highest achieved by a Sampson-coached team (his first OU squad ranked 16th in the Feb. 27 and March 6, 1995, editions). A Sampson-coached squad had never been ranked as high as 17 in the coaches' poll.
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 33-17 (.660) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 43-7 (.860) 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 19-7 league record at home and a 14-10 mark on the road.
Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU averages a Big 12-low 12.7 turnovers per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.3) and has committed an average of just 12.1 in its last eight games. The Sooners own the second-best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.2).
A Merry Band of Thieves
In its first 10 games, Oklahoma averaged 5.8 steals per contest. The Sooners have stepped up the defensive pressure in the last five games, though, and are averaging 12.2 steals per outing during the span. Eduardo Najera has a whopping 17 steals in the last four games. Each of OU's last five foes have committed at least 20 turnovers.
Feast or Famine
Kelley Newton has scored at least 18 points in three of the team's last seven games (18 versus Georgia Southern and Mount St. Mary's and 19 versus Texas A&M). In OU's other four games during the stretch, however, Newton has totaled two points.
Najera on The Sporting News' List
Preseason All-American Eduardo Najera appears in the eighth spot on The Sporting News' national player-of-the-year watch list. The 10-player list includes (in order), Quentin Richardson (DePaul), Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati), A.J. Guyton (Indiana), Terence Morris (Maryland), Khalid El-Amin (Connecticut), Chris Mihm (Texas), Morris Peterson (Michigan State), Najera, Shane Battier (Duke) and Ed Cota (North Carolina).
Climbing OU's Charts
John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera has already collected a number of in-season honors with his fast start. The senior forward is averaging 18.8 points (ranks second in Big 12) and 8.3 rebounds (ranks sixth) per game and was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP. Najera was also named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team and earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14. Najera, who shot .415 from the field and .642 from the free throw line last year, has posted .460 and .705 marks so far this season.
The Chihuahua, Mexico, native entered the season ranked 29th in OU career scoring and 15th in rebounding, but now ranks 15th (1,303 points) and 12th (721 boards). Najera needs 36 points to move into 14th place on the all-time scoring list ahead of Mookie Blaylock. In 15 games this season, he has already passed Cary Carrabine, Scott Martin, Joe King, Damon Patterson, Terry Stotts, Willie Rogers, Brent Price, Lester Lane, Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry and Al Beal in career scoring.
Sooner Guards Shooting .440 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 15 games, the Sooners have made 124-of-307 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .404 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .440 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:
Raymond One of Big 12's Top Newcomers
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks second on the team and 11th in the Big 12 in scoring (15.9 ppg). He also averages 2.9 three-pointers per game (ranks second in league), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and is tied for second in steals (1.5 spg). Raymond has made a team-high 44 three-pointers on 100 attempts (.440). He also ranks eighth in the conference with his .786 free throw mark.
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.
Newton Atop Division I Three-Point Shooting Chart
Junior guard Kelley Newton, who sat out last year while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, ranked first in three-point percentage in the Jan. 11 NCAA Division I statistics report with a .610 mark (25-of-41). Newton owns the Big 12's top two three-point performances this year with a 6-for-7 (.857) effort versus Georgia Southern and a 5-for-6 (.833) game against Texas A&M. Despite his 0-for-4 three-point performance versus Baylor Tuesday, Newton is still shooting .556 on the year.
Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 24.8 minutes per game, has committed just nine turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 41 minutes. The junior guard leads the Big 12 in assist/turnover ratio (3.1) and ranks seventh in the league with 2.5 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 8.7 points per game to rank third on the squad.
Big 12 Posts Impressive Non-Conference Mark
Heading into the weekend, Big 12 schools have registered a 106-39 (.731) cumulative non-league record. Three squads captured neutral-court tournament crowns: Oklahoma won the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City, Kansas won the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska, and Texas won the Puerto Rico Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Iowa State finished second at the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii, losing only to Cincinnati in the title game.
The Big 12 owns a .500 or better record against every league except the Missouri Valley Conference (2-3).
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.
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 (North Carolina and Indiana made last year's NCAA field while Georgetown competed in the NIT). The last time Oklahoma did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The four longest current postseason streaks are as follows:
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 117-56 (.676) record and a 70-14 (.833) 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 Thursday, Jan. 13)
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)