Sooners come from behind to beat Prairie View

Hollis Price's second half burst leads Sooners to 75-63 comeback win over Prairie View A&M

I can almost hear the theme song of the Twilight Zone playing right now. That really is the only way to describe some of the anomalies that glared from the stat sheet following OU's 75-63 victory over Prairie View A&M Saturday in Norman.

Here are a few of the curveballs that this game threw the fans:

· Total shots: OU - 77 PV - 45
· Shooting percentage: OU - 37.7% PV – 53.3%
· Total rebounds: OU – 50 PV – 25
· Offensive rebounds: OU – 27 PV – 1

These weren't the only odd figures and statistics from the night.

Hollis Price, the unquestioned leader of this team, played only 24 minutes because Kelvin Sampson said he didn't deserve to play any more than that. Quannas White, who Sampson described as not the most valuable, but most important player on the team, posted a goose egg tonight with no points on 0-10 shooting.

Still, in spite of all these shortcomings, OU made the plays down the stretch to secure a victory that moved them to 3-1 in this very young season.

Prairie View did their best to make it a very tough one.

"We try to stay away from moral victories," said Panther coach Jerome Francis, Jr. "We have a lot to build on. I'm really proud of our players and our administration."

Sampson agreed with Francis' assessment of Prairie View's play.

"If I were their coach I would tell them how happy I am with the way they played," Sampson said. "I thought the toughest team, the best-coached team, the team that played like the game was really important to them, was Prairie View."

During the first half, it seemed that the Panthers drained everything they put up while the Sooners couldn't hit water from the boat. Combined, OU's starting guards were 4-22 in the opening 20 minutes.

Trailing 29-24 with four minutes to play, OU went on a 14-2 run to close out the first half thanks to outstanding hustle by Matt Gipson and Blake Johnston, whose three-pointer at the buzzer gave OU its largest lead of the game to date at 38-31.

"The only two players that played with any effort for us tonight were Matt and Blake," Sampson said. "This was a very important game for them, and it showed in the amount of effort they put into it."

The second half was back and forth until Hollis Price returned to the game with redemption on his mind.

With Oklahoma leading 63-58, Price emerged from the bench and dropped in 13 of the Sooners' final 18 points. He finished with 16, tying teammate Ebi Ere for the Oklahoma high.

"I just wanted to help my team," Price said. "I knew I wasn't playing good. Coach made a decision to sit me down, and once I got back in I had something to prove."

Aside from Ere and Price, the only other Sooner in double figures was Kevin Bookout with 10 points. Three Panthers reached double digits in the points department with Malachi Thurston the high-man at 16. Jabahri Brown led all players with 13 rebounds.

Still, Sampson was far from pleased with the play of his Sooners.

"I didn't like our defense. I didn't like our guard play," Sampson said. "We've got to get better in every area. We've got to get a lot more focused on everything we're doing."

The next chance to see improvement for fans will be on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Hartford at the Lloyd Noble Center. Until then, knowing how coach Sampson conducts business, you can expect this team to be running till the cows come home.

BMart's Player of the Game:
Kevin Bookout: 10 points, eight rebounds, one assist and no turnovers in 33 minutes of action.

BMart's Play of the Game:
Blake Johnston's three-pointer from somewhere around Section RE-3, Row F, Seat 5 at the first half buzzer to give OU a 38-31 halftime lead.

BMart's Heartfelt Plea:
STUDENTS: Please start showing up to these games. Your lackadaisical attitude toward a team that went to the Final Four last year might ultimately cost us one of the best coaches in the nation in Kelvin Sampson.

OU-Praire View Box Score

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