Bookout leads the way in exhibition opener

Junior forward Kevin Bookout scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in OU's 91-56 win over Cameron.

NORMAN — It didn't take long for Kevin Bookout to show the 5,500 Sooner faithful at the Lloyd Noble Center Wednesday night that he is definitely back.

The 6-foot-8 junior from Stroud, Okla. returned to action after missing the final 19 games of last season with a shoulder injury to lead the Sooners with a double-double in their 91-56 win over Cameron.

"It was good to see him back," said Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "It's the first time we've seen him healthy since last year when he got hurt. He'll get more fluid with the game and improve even more. He's such a smart player and epitomizes what every college basketball player should be. He plays hard every possession and has such a high understanding. He's improved a lot on his step out and short jumper."

Bookout, who finished with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, established his dominance early scoring the first four points of the game and eight of the Sooners' first 10 points on a variety of dunks, tip-ins and low post moves.

The Sooners built a 49-27 halftime lead, but the Aggies stormed back in the second half and cut the lead to 55-44 with 14 minutes to go. The Sooners got hot from that point on and went on a 36-12 run to end the game.

In all, Oklahoma shot 48.5 percent from the field (33-68) and an impressive 8-for-20 from three-point range as four Sooners reached double figures.

Joining Bookout in double figures was point guard Drew Lavender (18), backup guard Jaison Williams (14) and juco transfer guard Terrell Everett (10). Everett led the Sooners with five assists, while Williams was 4-for-5 from three-point range. Lavender was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.

The much anticipated debut of junior college All-American Taj Gray was limited when the Wichita, Kan native picked up three first half fouls. Gray, however, still managed to finish with six points, eight rebounds and three blocks in his 16 minutes of action.

Bookout, Gray, Everett, Lavender and sophomore Lawrence McKenzie started for Oklahoma. Sophomore forward Brandon Foust did not play due to academic reasons.

Also, true freshman Longar Longar, who will not redshirt this season, was impressive in his 11 minutes of action with seven rebounds, four points and one block.

Overall, Sampson still sees plenty of room for improvement.

"It was a first game," said Sampson. "We need to get a lot better. We're going to be better this Saturday and the next Saturday and the next game after that. A game like this is hard to analyze.

"We will play better Saturday. It will be great to have Coach (Terry) Evans back. He was on our Final Four staff. I'm anxious to see how we respond in practice the next two days."

Tip-off for Saturday's second exhibition game against Central Oklahoma is set for 1 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center.

OU-Cameron Box Score

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