Gray, Bookout lead OU in win over Coppin St.

Taj Gray (pictured above) combined with Kevin Bookout to score 37 points in OU's 57-47 win over Coppin State Saturday in Norman. The Sooners, who came into the game leading in the nation in rebounding margin (16.8), only outrebounded the Eagles 29-23. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Norman — Kevin Bookout and Taj Gray combined for 37 points as No. 8 Oklahoma improved to 5-1 with a sluggish 57-47 win over Coppin State (0-7) Saturday in Norman.

Bookout led the way with 19 points and a game-high seven rebounds, while Gray chipped in 18.

"Those two guys always come to play," said Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson. "Taj is incredible. I wouldn't trade him for the world. Kevin is so solid. He has incredible hand-eye coordination. This game is instinct for him now. Our big guys are really good inside."

The Sooners, whose 57 points were a season-low, trailed 6-5 early but held the Eagles without a bucket for the next 11 minutes while using a 14-0 run to break the game open and take a 28-9 halftime lead.

The second half, however, was a different story as the Eagles outscored Oklahoma 38-29. The Sooners actually led by as many as 24 points at 40-16 with 14:16 to go, but the Eagles fought back and actually cut the lead to single digits (55-47) with just under a minute to go.

On the bright side, Oklahoma's defensive effort in the first half of holding the Eagles to just nine points tied a school-record for points allowed in one half. The previous record was set against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2003. It was also the lowest-scoring half in Coppin State history.

Oklahoma shot 44.7 percent (21-47) from the field while holding the Eagles to just 35.6 percent (16-45). OU also held the Eagles to just 18.8 percent shooting (3-16) in the first half.

The Sooners, who came into the game leading in the nation in rebounding margin at 16.8 per game, only beat the undersized Eagles 32-29 on the boards.

"The key for tonight was to win," Sampson said. "During the first half, Coppin State only had nine points which I credit to our defense. Coppin State's guards did a great job in the second half and made some good baskets. They will play all of their opponents tough but the pace of the games will be slow."

Freshman guard Austin Johnson got his first start of the season and finished with five points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and five turnovers.

"We are having to force-feed Austin minutes right now," said Sampson on his freshman guard. "He did some really good things today, but he got worn down really easily. He cramped a couple of times during the game and his ankle still isn't good. Our main goal for him right now is to get healthy."

One other note of interest, senior guard Terrell Everett was held scoreless for the first time in his Sooner career.

Oklahoma will return to the court next Saturday for a 7 p.m. matchup against Southern at the Lloyd Noble Center.

OU-Coppin State Box Score


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