OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A couple of freshman helped make sure
Oklahoma senior Hollis Price gets to keep playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Kevin Bookout scored a career-high 22 points and De'Angelo
Alexander had 15 as the top-seeded Sooners reached the East
Regional semifinals with a 74-65 victory over eighth-seeded
California on Saturday.
Price, the Big 12 player of the year, is bothered by a left
groin injury that limits his quickness. After playing 11 minutes in
the first round against South Carolina State, he logged 30 minutes
against Cal but scored just three points.
"We have a lot of good players on this team,'' Oklahoma coach
Kelvin Sampson said. "The mark of a good team is that other
players step up when given an opportunity.
"De'Angelo and Bookout, those guys came through.''
Oklahoma, which reached the Final Four a year ago, will play
either Louisville or Butler in the regional semifinals next week in
Bookout played only nine minutes in Thursday's game because of
strep throat, and he failed to score. He felt much better Saturday.
The 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward had 11 points in the first half,
then scored three baskets in a 9-0 run at the start of the second
half that gave Oklahoma (26-6) control for good.
He had a putback, then got down the floor for a fastbreak layup
on a pass from Price, and finally capped the run with a shot in the
lane to make the score 42-24.
"I think Kevin just came out with a lot of confidence today,''
Sooners point guard Quannas White said. "He played like a
sophomore or junior today, not like a freshman. That's what we need
from him this late in the season for us to continue to be good.''
Sampson said the Sooners emphasized getting the ball inside
against Cal's zone in the second half after not doing so in the
first half. Bookout was 5-of-7 from the field in the final 20
"I get to go to the Sweet 16 as a freshman. I couldn't ask for
too much more,'' Bookout said. "We didn't want this to be his
(Price's) last game. He's done so much for us. We had to pick him
up a little bit because he's so hurt.''
The Bears (22-9) trailed 62-51 after seven straight points from
Brian Wethers, who tied his career high with 27 points. But a
jumper by Alexander, a three-point play by Bookout and an alley-oop
dunk by Johnnie Gilbert made it 69-51 with 3:58 left.
A 10-0 run by Cal cut the margin to eight with 1:32 to go, but
the Bears got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
"Oklahoma plays consistently, and they play tough,'' Cal coach
Ben Braun said. "You've got to be consistent. You can't have
The Bears started out with a lull, and Alexander started
They got their first three baskets off loose balls: a dunk by
Bookout, a three-point play by Alexander as the shot clock wound
down and a 3-pointer by Alexander after Price got the ball
following a Cal turnover.
"That's what our program is about -- outhustling the other team,
and that's what we did today,'' Price said.
Alexander's second 3-pointer made the score 15-4, and Oklahoma
eventually pushed the lead to 29-14 on a shot inside by Bookout off
a feed from White with 6:21 to go.
But Cal, which was 6-of-16 from the field at that point, went
4-of-7 the rest of the way and held Oklahoma to four points to pull
to 33-24 at halftime. It would have been closer if the Golden Bears
had hit their free throws; they missed four of five, including the
front of a one-and-one.
Before leaving the court after the game, Sampson and his players
applauded the overwhelmingly pro-Sooner crowd, which responded with
a huge ovation.
"The fans are great. We couldn't ask for anything else,'' Price
said. "We really appreciate what they did for us these past two