Price, White halfway home

Oklahoma's Quannas White (4) gets a hug from teammate Hollis Price at the end of their 74-65 win over California in the NCAA East Regional second round game, Saturday in Oklahoma City. With the win the Sooners advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. The senior duo are just two wins away from returning the Final Four in their hometown of New Orleans.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Leave it up to a pair youngsters to help senior guards Hollis Price and Quannas White get one step closer to home.

Led by the freshmen duo of De'Angelo Alexander and Kevin Bookout, top-seeded Oklahoma advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season with their 74-65 over California in an East Region second round game Saturday in Oklahoma City. With the win, the Sooners are just two wins away from advancing to the Final Four in Price and White's hometown of New Orleans.

Bookout scored a career-high 22 points and Alexander added 15.

"We didn't want this to be Hollis' (Price) last game," said Bookout. "We'll try to keep it going in Albany and keep the careers going for our seniors. This team has worked hard to get to this point, and we're ready to go to the Sweet 16."

Price, who is still only 75 percent recovered from his groin injury, took only three shots and scored five points in 30 minutes, but his presence on the court was what was important for the Sooners.

"The whole team had to step it up after Hollis was hurt," said Alexander, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half. "Just to get him (Hollis) back out there is a boost to the whole team. He's an inspiration, and when he plays, it helps our two freshmen to get into the flow of the game."

"I wasn't as aggressive as I was in the past few games, basically because of the movement," said Price. "I wasn't able to move all that well. I tried to do other things and tried to get the ball inside to Kevin. He did a good job on the boards, too. That helped us out a lot. He did a good job running the floor. We found him and I just wanted to do the little things."

OU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson also had high praise for Bookout.

"We were a little tentative against the zone tonight. What we can do is get the ball inside to Bookout," said Sampson. "The more teams play behind him, the more opportunities he has. He leads the league in field goal percentage. We talked about at the half getting him more touches."

"Kevin came out with a lot of confidence today," said Quannas White, who was the Sooners' third leading scorer with 12 points. "He played like he was a junior or sophomore. He didn't play like he was a freshman. That's what we need out of him, leading the team for us to be good."

Oklahoma stormed out of the gates with an 8-0 run to begin the game sparked by a Bookout slam and two Alexander three-pointers. The Sooners extended the lead to 42-24 with another 8-0 run to start the second half, , started by two straight buckets by Bookout, and never looked back. California used a 10-0 run to cut OU's lead to eight with 1:32 to go, but the Sooners hit their free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

"Our team hung in there without our best player," Sampson said. "It says a lot about our team. We have a lot of good players."

Oklahoma will now head to Albany, New York where they will play the winner of tomorrow's game between Louisville and Butler next Friday.

OU-California Box Score

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