Sunday, March 23, 2003

East: OU's Bookout covers for ailing Price

The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY - Hollis Price still wasn't well, but Kevin Bookout felt much better. As a result, Oklahoma is moving on in the East Regional.

Bookout, a freshman, scored a career-high 22 points as the top-seeded Sooners beat No. 8 California 74-65 Saturday.

Another freshman, De'Angelo Alexander, scored 15 for the Sooners (26-6), who will play either Louisville or Butler in the regional semifinals next week in Albany, N.Y.

Brian Wethers matched his career high with 27 points and Joe Shipp scored 20 for the Golden Bears (22-9), but they didn't get much help.

Price, the Big 12 Player of the Year, is bothered by a left groin injury that limited him to 11 minutes in a first-round victory over South Carolina State.

He had five points in 30 minutes Saturday.

Enter Bookout, who because of strep throat logged just nine minutes and didn't score in Thursday's game.

The 260-pound Bookout 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 control for good.

He had a putback, then got down the floor for a fast-break layup on a pass from Price, and finally capped the run with a shot in the lane to make the score 42-24.

Before leaving the court after the game, Oklahoma's players and coach Kelvin Sampson applauded the overwhelmingly pro-Sooner crowd, which responded with a huge ovation.

Alexander scored nine points in the first 5:14 to help the Sooners grab a quick lead.

They got their first three baskets off loose balls - a dunk by Bookout, a three-point play by Alexander and a 3-pointer by Alexander after Price got the ball following a Cal turnover.

CALIFORNIA (22-9)-Tamir 0-5 1-3 1, Shipp 9-17 2-2 20, Hughes 2-3 0-0 4, Midgley 0-2 0-0 0, Wethers 11-18 3-7 27, Benson 0-0 0-0 0, Diggs 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 2-4 0-0 5, Bond 0-0 0-0 0, Famulener 3-3 0-0 8, Paris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 6-12 65.

OKLAHOMA (26-6)-Gilbert 3-6 0-2 6, Bookout 9-11 4-5 22, White 4-9 2-2 12, Price 1-3 2-3 5, Alexander 4-11 5-8 15, Ere 1-5 0-0 3, Johnston 1-1 0-0 3, Brown 3-5 1-2 7, Szendrei 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 26-51 15-24 74.

Halftime-Oklahoma 33-24. 3-Point Goals-California 5-16 (Famulener 2-2, Wethers 2-5, Smith 1-2, Midgley 0-2, Tamir 0-2, Shipp 0-3), Oklahoma 7-13 (Alexander 2-3, White 2-5, Johnston 1-1, Ere 1-2, Price 1-2). Fouled out-Midgley. Rebounds-California 24 (Tamir 9), Oklahoma 36 (Alexander, Bookout 7). Assists-California 6 (Smith 3), Oklahoma 16 (Price, White 4). Total fouls-California 23, Oklahoma 15. A-18,462.

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