Sooners rout Samford, 68-41

Kevin Bookout (pictured), Michael Neal help push Sooners past Samford. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

It's official. The 2005-06 basketball season is underway.

Kevin Bookout recorded a double-double and Michael Neal hit five 3-pointers as No. 6 Oklahoma (1-0) won their season-opener over slow-moving Samford (1-2) 68-41 Saturday in Norman.

Neal, a transfer from Lon Morris junior college in Texas, led the Sooners with 15 points, while Bookout added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

"I shot it okay, but I feel like I can do it a lot better," said Neal, who was 5-for-10 from behind the arc. "Fifty percent is good, but we've worked on shooting a lot and I should be shooting a lot better."

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 13-8 lead on Oklahoma City native J. Robert Merritt's jumper at the 13-minute mark, but the Sooners responded with an 18-2 to close the half and take a 25-17 halftime lead.

Oklahoma then outscored the Bulldogs 20-4 in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and the rout was on.

The Sooners just shot 42.9 percent from the field (24-56), but the defense held Samford's slow-moving Princeton style offensive attack to just 15 field goals and 42.9 percent shooting from the field.

OU also held the Bulldogs 42-14 and held them without an offensive rebound.

"I thought we played a lot better than we did at Texas (Wednesday)," said Samford head coach Jimmy Tillette, whose Bulldogs lost to Texas 77-33 in Austin on Wednesday. "That's the best game we've played.

"It's difficult to keep them off the glass. They're an outstanding team. They're outstanding passing the ball. They're well coached and they play extremely hard."

"It was the first game so I didn't know what to expect," said Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson, who improved to 12-0 in home openers at the Lloyd Noble Center. "Our defense did really well tonight, but we can get better in a lot of other areas. It was a good start to the season and I'm looking forward to game number two."

Oklahoma's second regular season game will be on Wednesday against Binghampton at 7 p.m. in Norman.

OU-Samford Box Score

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