Price leads Sooners in exhibition opener

Senior guard scores 21 points in 76-51 exhibition win over Global Sports

It wasn't pretty, but exhibition games usually never are.

Hollis Price scored a game-high 21 points and Ebi Ere scored all of his 16 points in the second half as No. 3 Oklahoma tuned up for Thursday's season opener against Alabama with a 76-61 win over Global Sports Saturday night in Norman.

Global Sports jumped out to a quick 14-8 lead but the Sooners used a 13-0 run to regain the lead for good midway through the first half and the rout was on.

"You know you're not going to do very well your first time out," said Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "In an exhibition the kids have an opportunity to play. We've got a lot of kids that can play. We were playing so many combinations it was hard for our players to get in the groove."

"We knew coming in that Oklahoma was a top-five team," said Global Sports and former Nebraska guard Cary Cochran. "I've been playing these games for four years and knew what to expect. Coach Sampson played a lot of guys tonight and I think they're legit. They're not as good right now, but give them a month. They're the real deal."

One player who already looks like the real deal is senior guard Hollis Price. The All-American candidate from New Orleans scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half and connected on 8-of-14 field goal attempts and 3-of-6 from three point range.

"I played alright," said Price. "I think I did what I had to do to help the team out to get this victory."

"We have to remember that we're going to make a lot of mistakes early in the year. We just have to go back and practice and get better. I'm excited about what I saw but certainly there are things that we need to correct."

Kevin Bookout became the first true freshmen to start a game under Kelvin Sampson at OU since Prince Fowler in 1993, and he didn't disappoint.

Bookout, who is being counted upon to pick up some of the scoring slack left by Aaron McGhee, scored 15 points and grabbed 7 seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

"I was a little nervous," said Bookout hit seven of his nine shot attempts in his first collegiate start. "Coach told me not to be but it's hard not to be when you're going against this level of competition."

"The other guys around me made me so much better. They gave me great looks at the basket and easy baskets to make off their penetration."

Oklahoma outrebounded Global Sports 42-29 and shot 46 percent from the field.

The Sooners will now have to get out of the exhibition mode and get serious quickly for their date with fifth-ranked Alabama on Thursday at the Coaches Versus Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tip-off for Thursday's game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.

OU-Global Sports Stats:

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