Sooners rout High Point in Alaska Shootout opener

Jaison Williams keeps a tight grip on the ball during the first half of the Sooners' 93-65 first round win over High Point at the Great Alaska Shootout late Thursday night. The Sooners will face No. 23 Washington at 11 p.m. Friday night in a semi-final matchup that will be televised by ESPN2. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)

Kelvin Sampson had a lot to be thankful for in his Sooners' 93-65 win over High Point in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout late Thursday night in Anchorage.

Junior forward and leading scorer Taj Gray left the game early with two quick fouls, but Oklahoma didn't miss a beat as five Sooners picked up the slack by scoring in double figures. Kevin Bookout led the way with 15 points.

However, despite pulling away after being tested early, Sampson saw plenty of room for improvement.

"We've just got to get better," said Sampson, whose Sooners committed 18 turnovers. "I don't get carried away with the score. We can play so much better than we're playing.

"This High Point team is probably a little bit better than we played tonight. We win by 28 against a team that's picked to win their league. You look back and say, 'How did you play?' I just didn't think we played that good."

Johnnie Gilbert didn't reach double figures, but the senior reserve came off the bench and filled Gray's shoes nicely to lead the Sooners with nine first half points and to a 41-27 halftime lead.

Oklahoma came out firing in the second half with a 7-0 run that led to a 52-point outburst in the final 20 minutes.

Joining Bookout in double figures was Drew Lavender (14), Jaison Williams (11), Lawrence McKenzie (11) and Terrell Everett (10). Bookout led the Sooners with eight rebounds, while Lavender dished out six assists. McKenzie was 3-for-4 from three-point range. And Gray, who scored 29 points in Oklahoma's season opener, finished with just six points.

"Drew's got to play better," Sampson said about his sophomore point guard. "His stats look good, but I didn't like the way he ran the team. Taj is going to find out you can't pick up fouls 40 feet from the basket. If you get two fouls you're going to sit the rest of the half. Taj will learn from that."

With the win Oklahoma improves to 2-0 and advances to a semi-final matchup with No. 23 Washington on Friday night. The Huskies advanced to the second round Thursday night with a 78-71 win over Utah.

"I watched them play tonight and I said how in the world are we going to play with them," said Sampson on the Huskies. "That's a really good Washington team. That's the good thing about this tournament. We're going to play good teams."

Tip-off for the Sooners and Huskies is set for 11 p.m. Friday night and will televised nationally by ESPN2.

OU-High Point Box Score

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