Norman — The 24th-ranked Sooner men have won two straight Big 12 Conference games and look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Waco, Texas to take on the Bears tonight (preview below Q&A).
In their win over Texas Tech on Saturday, the Sooners received improved guard play from senior Terrell Everett, junior Michael Neal and freshman Austin Johnson. With Johnson in the line-up, Everett is playing the wing once again and his excellent all-around game of a year ago is beginning to return.
Before a recent practice, Everett came off the court long enough to give us the low down on the Sooners for the OUInsider.com Two Minute Drill.
JH: How much does it mean to you that Austin can play the point and that Michael is getting healthy and hitting some outside shots?
TE: "It is a relief that I don't have to have the ball in my hands all the time, and that I can play without the ball in my hands. I like to play without the ball in hands more at the off-guard — making plays for Kevin (Bookout) and Tay (Gray), helping them get into the game. Just by making shots from all of the guards helps our offense out a lot."
JH: When you line-up at off-guard is it harder for the defense to adjust to what you want to do or what you might do?
TE: "Yeah, it confuses them a lot. You know they have their scouting reports coming into the game on how to stop us, but if Austin and Michael step their game up and play better than they are expected to play then that really helps us and keep's the defense honest on me."
JH: The fact that Michael and Austin are getting healthier and playing better means that this team still has an upside doesn't it?
TE: "Yeah, I think everybody can still play better. We don't have anybody really playing their best ball right now, but hopefully we can get their soon or by March. We really need to get their now so that we can win the Big 12 Championship."
JH: Why have you played better the last two games?
TE: "I know I am making shots and playing with more energy, and our whole team seems to be playing with more energy. Everybody just kind of feeds off of that energy and we start playing better."
JH: Coach Sampson says you are a scorer and not a shooter. Do you agree with that?
TE: "I can get hot shooting the ball, but I don't know what it is. All I care about is the ball going into the basket. I don't care how it gets there."
JH: What are defenses doing against Bookout and Taj to make it so difficult to get a pass inside?
TE: "They want us (guards) to shoot the ball. They want us to take outside shots, so they sag inside. We are taking a lot of outside shots, but we need to stress to get the ball into them when we can. They are really trying to take it away and we need to start to make them pay."
JH: What are your thoughts on Baylor?
TE: "They are a pretty talented team. Hopefully we can go in there and tough it out."
Baylor (0-4, 0-4) at Oklahoma (11-4, 2-2) -- 7 p.m. (CST) -- The Ferrell Center (10,284)
The game will be televised by the Sooner Sports Network on (KWTV 9 or Cox 10 in Oklahoma City and Cox 78 in Tulsa). Bob Carpenter (play-by-play) and Charlie Spoonhour (analyst) will call the action. The game can also be heard on the radio on 107.7 FM KRXO in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma is currently ranked 22nd in the Coaches Poll, 24th in the AP Poll and 36th in the RPI. Baylor is 305th in the RPI.
Oklahoma comes into Wednesday night's matchup on a 22-game winning streak against the Bears. The Sooners, who hold a 27-5 lead in the all-time series, are 20-0 against Baylor under Kelvin Sampson.
About the Bears
Baylor, 0-4 overall and 0-4 in Big 12 play, will be playing just their fifth game of the season tonight after NCAA sanctions banned them from non-conference play.
The Bears have lost to Texas Tech in Lubbock (79-61), Oklahoma State in Waco (66-48), Colorado in Boulder (81-48) and Texas in Waco (66-47). But while they are losing by an average of 22 points per game, Baylor did cut a 21-point deficit against the Longhorns down to six points on Saturday.
The Sooners swept the Bears last season — 65-61 in Waco and 103-60 in Norman. Baylor's last win against OU came on Dec. 6, 1977 in Norman.
Sampson on Baylor
"They have a lot of guys who can make three's. Aaron Bruce has struggled a little bit thus far, but you know he is going to break out against somebody. I just hope it is not us.
"I would have much rather been the team that played them first or second (game) instead of now. Down the road, they are going to get better, better and better.
"Against Texas, they were down 21 in that game and cut it to six. They can be explosive, but we just have to go and be determined to play as hard as we can for forty minutes."
Oklahoma Projected Starters:
F -- 21 --Taj Gray -- 6-9, 238, Sr. -- 14.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg
*F -- 34 --Kevin Bookout -- 6-8, 270, Sr. -- 12.1 ppg, 7.7 rbg
G -- 15 --David Godbold -- 6-5, 217, So. -- 4.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg
G -- 3 -- Terrell Everett -- 6-4, 188, Sr. -- 10.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.3 apg
G -- 20 -- Austin Johnson -- 6-3, 168, Fr. -- 4.3 ppg, 2.3, rpg, 1.6 apg
* Bookout's status for tonight is uncertain after suffering an injury to his left wrist against Texas Tech. As of late Thursday night, he had not been ruled out of tonight's game.
Off the Bench
F -- 24 --Nate Carter -- 6-6, 220, Jr. -- 7.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg
G -- 2 --Michael Neal -- 6-3, 191, Jr. -- 10.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
F -- 32 --Taylor Griffin -- 6-7, 232, Fr. -- 2.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg
C -- 30 --Longar Longar -- 6-7, 232, Fr. -- 1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
More on the Sooners
Roster | 2005 Stats | 2005 Schedule/Results
Baylor Projected Starters:
F -- 20 -- Tim Bush -- 6-6, 235, Fr. -- 4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
F -- 32 --Tommy Swanson -- 6-10, 225, Jr. -- 1.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg
C -- 15 --Mamadou Diene -- 7-0, 240, Fr. -- 5.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg
G --0 -- Curtis Jerrells -- 6-1, 200, Fr. -- 7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg
G -- 14 --Aaron Bruce -- 6-3, 195, So. -- 10.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
Off the Bench
G -- 21 --Patrick Fields -- 6-6, 205, Jr. -- 6.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg
G -- 20 --Henry Dugat -- 6-0, 170, Fr. -- 8.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
F -- 33 --Kevin Rogers -- 6-8, 235, Fr. -- 6.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
More on the Bears
Roster | 2005 Stats | 2005 Schedule/Results
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