Bedlam Blowout: Cowboys no match for Bookout, Gray

Oklahoma forward Taj Gray dunks all alone against Oklahoma State in the first half of the Sooners' 67-57 win over the Cowboys Monday in Norman. Gray and junior forward Kevin Bookout combined for 45 points and scored the Sooners' first 19 points in a 19-2 run to start the game. In all, the Sooners scored 50 of their 67 points in the paint. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

NORMAN, Okla. — Score round one of Bedlam to Oklahoma.

Kevin Bookout and Taj Gray combined for 45 points and 14 rebounds as No. 13 Oklahoma moved into sole possession of first place in the Big 12 and pushed their winning streak to 10 games with a 67-57 win over No. 9 Oklahoma State Monday night in Norman.

To put it mildy, Bookout and Gray looked like Godzilla making their way through Tokyo as the duo scored every point in the Sooners' 19-2 run to start the game and 21 of OU's 27 first-half points.

"We thought there were three keys to the game," said Oklahoma State head coach Eddie Sutton. "One was to not let Gray and Bookout catch the ball easily beneath the basket, but they hit us with 45 points in 29 shots."

"It was a great team effort," said Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson, who picked up his 250th win at Oklahoma. "We're a team that's a locomotive. One of the things that human beings do is put limitations on themselves. You're always challenging your kids. I thought our inside men really stepped up to the plate tonight."

Bookout, who finished with a game-high 23 points, scored the first basket of the game to give OU an early 2-0 lead. The Cowboys responded with an Ivan McFarlin bucket to tie the game at 2-2 with 17:27 to go, but from that point it was all Oklahoma.

After the 2-2 tie, Bookout and Gray took over by themselves scoring every point in a 17-0 run that broke the game open. Gray, who finished with 22 points, put on a show during the run with three dunks, the last on a reverse two-handed stuff off of an alley-oop pass from Drew Lavender.

"Everyone came out and played very well tonight in a big-game atmosphere," said Gray, who also recorded eight rebounds and a career-high five assists. "We were moving the ball well and everyone stepped up their game tonight. We knew that we needed to step up our game in all areas to beat a tough OSU ball club and we came out and met the challenge."

Oklahoma State would cut the lead to 29-20 at halftime and eventually get within six (33-27) on a McFarlin bucket with 17:22 to go, but the Sooners answered with a 20-4 run over the next six minutes that extended the lead to 51-31 at the 11:42 mark.

"I thought we played great tonight," said Bookout, who hit his first eight field goal attempts. "In spurts we played well, but overall we played extremely well. I thought the guards did a tremendous job of getting the ball inside and provided Taj and me with great looks all night."

Speaking of OU's guards, they certainly weren't outdone by Gray and Bookout. In all, the Sooners dished 21 assists on 29 baskets while only committing eight turnovers. The Sooners also scored 50 of their 67 poitns in the paint.

"Those kids are so unselfish," said Sampson on his guards. "We make each other better. That's the mark of a good team. We have very high character kids. It's not hard to share the ball when they're like that."

Lavender, who finished with eight points, dished out a game-high seven assists. Junior Terrell Everett nearly played a flawless game, with six points, five assists, four rebounds and only one turnover in 37 minutes of play.

Also not to be forgotten was the play of Oklahoma's defense. Sampson, whose staple is man-to-man defense, played a 2-3 zone pretty much from start to finish against the Cowboys, and it was effective.

The Sooners' 2-3 zone held the Cowboys to just 43 percent shooting from the field (25-57). OU's defense also held the Big 12's top two leading scorers — Joey Graham and John Lucas — below their season averages with just 15 and 10 points respectively. Lucas was 3-for-13 from the field.

"Oklahoma really played well," said Sutton. "Their defense was probably about as good as we've seen, I would say in the 15 years that my team has played them. Their defense was good, and our defense was sorry."

"They've come so far," Sutton continued. "I told Kelvin that he should be proud of his staff because I saw them play Tulsa, and they have improved so much since then."

With the win Oklahoma improves to 5-0 in Big 12 play and 16-2 overall. OU's 5-0 start is their first since the inception of the Big 12 and their best start in conference play since the 1988-89 season. Oklahoma State falls to 4-2 in conference play and 14-3 overall. OU now leads the all-time series against the Cowboys by a 119-86 mark.

"We're excited and going to enjoy this win tonight," Sampson said. "We're going to come back and work hard on Wednesday because we have to travel to Ames to play Iowa State on Saturday."

"This is a big win that we can't be satisfied with yet," said Gray. "It's a long season ahead and we have a lot of games still to play."

Tip-off for Saturday's game against Iowa State in Ames is set for 3 p.m.

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