Bookout's career day helps OU rout Buffs

Kevin Bookout's career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds helped Oklahoma to their fifth-straight victory and a 85-55 win over Colorado Saturday in Norman. With the win, OU improved to 11-2 overall and 1-0 in Big 12 play. Next up for the Sooners is a showdown with defending national champion UConn Monday in Norman. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

NORMAN — Injuries have held Kevin Bookout down too long.

Despite missing the last half of last season with a bum shoulder and two games this year with an injured ulnar nerve in his right elbow, the 6-foot-8 junior from Stroud, Okla. managed to have a career day against Colorado Saturday in Norman.

Bookout scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Sooners (11-2, 1-0) kicked off conference play with a 85-55 win over Colorado (8-4, 0-1).

"I thought he had the right mindset," said OU head caoch Kelvin Sampson on Bookout, who was also 13-for-14 from the field. "We've been waiting for him to come out of his little slump. Sometimes I get on Kevin about being so nice. It's OK to be nice, but I have to get on Kevin about having a little mud in his blood sometimes.

"Sometimes when you walk around wondering what's wrong with me, that's when something usually is. Sometimes you have to go out and compete and play hard, and I thought he did that."

The game was never in question as the Sooners scored the first five points and rode junior forward Taj Gray to an early 15-2 lead.

Colorado would fight back to cut the lead to 17-8 at the 13:55 mark of the first half, but that would be as close as they would get.

The Sooners, who led 44-29 at halftime, got seven straight points from Bookout in an 11-0 over the first five minutes and 13 seconds of the second half that broke the game open for good.

Gray, who scored 10 of Okahoma's first 15 points, finished with his sixth double-double of the year (19 points and 11 rebounds). Combined, Gray and Bookout totaled 46 points and 22 rebounds, but Sampson says part of the credit for their performance belongs to OU's guards.

"Taj and Kevin will be the first to tell you one of the reasons why they were so effective in this game is because our guards did a great job getting the ball inside," said Sampson. "I think Drew (Lavender) had seven assists and one turnover. That's what I'm interested in.

"His shot's completely off because he's got a wood stick between his two fingers that's tied around with pieces of tape. He can't release the ball right, but he ran the team. He got the ball inside. Those guys finished, we rebounded the ball. It was a good way to win, but we still think we can get better."

In all, the Sooners shot 47 percent from the field while holding the Buffaloes to just 38 percent, which pleased Sampson.

"Our defense at times was really good," Sampson said. "We held that team to 38 percent shooting and out-rebounded them by 13. Those are the stats that will tell you whether or not you win or lose."

Joining Gray and Bookout in double figures was Lawrence McKenize with 14 and Terrell Everett with 13. Everett has now reached double figures in but one game as a Sooner.

With the win, the Sooners push their winning streak to five games and improve to 11-2 overall.

"We're getting better," said Sampson, who is now 14-2 against the Buffaloes. "If you look at the Tulsa game and Southwest Missouri game, we're still finding our ways. You have to remember we're still a young team. We've got a lot of new guys.

"It's not like we're a veteran team. It's not like we're going to be great in November and December. We've had a history around here of playing our best basketball in February and March, and I think this team will too."

Oklahoma will return to the Lloyd Noble Center Monday night for a showdown against defending national champion and ninth-ranked UConn. Tip-off for the game is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

OU-Colorado Box Score

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