NORMAN, Okla. No. Hollis Price. No Quannas White. No problem. The changing of the guards continued in Norman on Saturday night and OU's young guns were up to the task.
Oklahoma's freshmen backcourt of Drew Lavender and Lawrence McKenzie combined for 36 points and sophomore De'Angelo Alexander scored 17 points as No. 14 Oklahoma knocked off Oral Roberts, 84-68, to improve to 2-0 and win the 2003 Sooner Invitational championship.
"It was another step for us," said Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "We're a long, long way from where we're going to be eventually. Both teams tonight had young guys that are growing up in front of us."
One player who grew up quickly from Friday night's season opener to tonight was true freshman Lawrence McKenzie. The Minneapolis, Minn. native scored hit four threes and scored a game-high 19 points in just his second career start.
"I played pretty well overall," said McKenzie, who was named to the All-Tournament team. "I was trying to do all I could to get my teammates involved, and I got into the groove. There are plenty of things I still need to learn and improve on but it is starting to come together for me."
Joining McKenzie on the All-Tournament Team was Alexander and Lavender. Alexander, who led the Sooners with 18 points in their win over Eastern Washington on Friday, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Lavender, a true freshmen from Columbus, Ohio, scored a career-high 16 points while dishing out six assists and only one turnover.
"I played pretty well," said Alexander. "I could have performed a lot better on defense. I had a couple of breakdowns that need to be corrected. I did not shoot the ball very well, but I tried to do whatever I could to build up my teammates' confidence."
Led by 12 first half points from Alexander, the Sooners jumped out to a 44-27 halftime lead. Oral Roberts would cut the lead to eight with 12:20 to go in the game, but the Sooners stormed back and pushed the lead to as many as 21 points and never looked back.
"We performed pretty well this weekend," Alexander said. "There are plenty of things we still need to improve on overall. We had some breakdowns on defense tonight that need to be corrected as the season progresses. I'd say our overall performance for the weekend was a B-plus."
"Drew Lavender and Lawrence McKenzie were on the All-Tournament Team and De'Angelo Alexander was the tournament MVP," said Sampson. "That's two freshmen and one sophomore on the all-tournament team. This team has a lot of potential. We're real excited about the opportunities that we still have."
Next up for the Sooners is a date Tulsa on Tuesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
OU-Oral Roberts Box Score
HOOPS: Young guns lead Sooners past Oral Roberts
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