Alabama 56

(6-5, 0-2 away)

(14) Oklahoma 68

(8-2, 7-1 home)

4:30 PM ET, December 31, 2005

Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma

1 2 T
ALA 31 2556
#14OKLA 32 3668

Top Performers

Alabama: C. Davis 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Oklahoma: K. Bookout 18 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast

Sooners turn Tide by dominating glass 

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- A rebounding rout resulted in Oklahoma's most impressive win of the season.

Led by the frontline duo of Kevin Bookout and Taj Gray, the Sooners (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) outrebounded Alabama 40-18 in a 68-56 victory on Saturday.

Senior guard Terrell Everett had a career-high 10 assists for the Sooners, who extended their home winning streak at Lloyd Noble Center against nonconference opponents to 46 games, the longest in NCAA Division I.

"You have to take what you're good at and work with it," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said.

For Oklahoma, that is rebounding.

The Sooners (8-2) entered the game third in the nation in rebounding margin at plus-12.6 per game. This season, Oklahoma has outrebounded Samford by 28 and Belmont by 22 and has only been beaten on the boards by one team, Oral Roberts.

But Alabama (6-5), the preseason favorite to win the Southeastern Conference's West Division, isn't Samford or Belmont or Binghamton or Southern, teams that have dotted Oklahoma's early season schedule. The Crimson Tide's three starting frontline players were 6-foot-10, 6-8 and 6-8, giving Alabama a slight size advantage over Oklahoma.

But it did little good for the Crimson Tide, who had one offensive rebound the entire game -- compared to 16 for the Sooners.

"Any time you get outrebounded by 20, that's embarrassing," said Alabama guard Ronald Steele, who scored 18 points.

The rebounding came from almost every position for the Sooners. Bookout had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Gray finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. The pair combined to go 11-of-11 from the free throw line. The Sooners missed only one of 18 free throws.

Everett, the point guard, also grabbed seven rebounds and had one more assist than the entire Alabama squad. Fellow guard Austin Johnson, a freshman who has been hobbled by an ankle injury for almost two months, contributed a career-high 14 points, five rebounds and three steals in 26 minutes.

"Tonight we took a step forward and you have to look at the positives," Sampson said. "I'm not the type to sit around and analyze what we don't have. I'd rather emphasize what we do have. I emphasize rebounds with our guards."

Neither team led by double digits until the final minute, when Alabama began fouling in an attempt to get back into the game. There were 15 lead changes.

Oklahoma took the lead for good at 46-44 with 13:23 left on a three-point play by Gray.

The Sooners eventually built the margin to 60-51 with 5:11 left and the Crimson Tide never seriously threatened after that. Alabama had only one field goal over the final 8:16, a 3-pointer by Steele that closed the gap to 62-56 with 59 seconds left.

But Bookout hit two free throws moments later and Johnson made four more free throws in the final 35 seconds for the Sooners.

Alabama's leading scorer, senior forward Chuck Davis, had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first half, but the Sooners limited him to four points after halftime.

"They fronted me in the post (in the second half) and they really weren't going to let me get the ball," Davis said.

The Crimson Tide, playing only its second road game of the season, shot 63.2 percent from the field in the first half but only 33.3 percent in the second half.

"I'm proud of how we played," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "We're not there yet. We're disappointed we lost, but we're coming. We're coming.

"We're sitting here at 6-5, but I like my team. I really like my team."

Alabama, which began the season ranked before losses to Memphis, Notre Dame, Temple and North Carolina State, jumped ahead 14-8 and Oklahoma didn't take its first lead until the 10:38 mark of the first half.

That was the first of nine lead changes before halftime, at which point Oklahoma led 32-31.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 56 68
FG Made-Attempted 20-43 (.465) 23-55 (.418)
3P Made-Attempted 5-13 (.385) 5-15 (.333)
FT Made-Attempted 11-13 (.846) 17-18 (.944)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 13 (0/0)
Largest Lead 6 12

2005-06 Season

» Dec 31, 2005 @OKLA 68, ALA 56Recap