On the Money

Oklahoma guard Hollis Price shoots over Texas Tech forward Kasib Powell at the buzzer of regulation time for two points to send the game into overtime of Oklahoma's 69-64 win over the Red Raiders Monday night in Norman. Price had 23 points in the Oklahoma 69-64 overtime victory. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

NORMAN -- In one of the most exciting basketball games in the history of the Lloyd Noble Center, Hollis Price once again stepped into the spotlight and showcased to the country why he is the heart and soul of this Sooner squad.

Price finished the game with 23 points, but none were bigger than the five that came in the last half-minute of regulation.

With Oklahoma trailing the Red Raiders 60-58 with 4.5 seconds to play, Price took the inbounds pass from Kevin Bookout and went the length of the floor to drain a jumper from above the elbow to send the game into overtime. It was a play that Sooner fans nationwide will be talking about for a very long time.

"Price just made a tremendous play," said legendary Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight. "We tried to contain him. During the time out we told our kids that four seconds was enough time to get a shot off. He is just so hard to contain."

Price was quick to deflect the praise to his teammates who also had a hand in the final play of regulation.

"Coach drew up a play on the sidelines and he wanted Kevin to take the ball out quickly and get it to me so I could use my speed," Price said. "That's what happened. Kevin made a great pass. I almost slipped and fell, but I kept my balance and hit the shot."

Amazingly, the jumper that sent the game to OT was not the first instance of Price Karma on this evening.

OU was trailing 58-55 with less than 30 seconds to play when Price brought the ball up court with thoughts of tying the game dancing in his head. As Price was going up for the potential game-tying shot he was fouled by Texas Tech's Ronald Ross. Hollis was sent to the line for three free throws that could tie the game. OU coach Kelvin Sampson had faith in his star senior.

"When he went to the line to shoot the three free throws the first thing that went through my mind was when he was a true freshman and we were playing Missouri in Kansas City," Sampson said. "He went to the line in that game to shoot a one and one. There is not a kid in this world that I would rather have shooting those free throws. He made them as a freshman and he made them as a senior."

After reading this far you'd probably suspect that everything was going right for Price. Well, it wasn't.

With 16:45 to go in the second half Hollis Price caught a flying mare from Tech's Nick "Sugar Ray" Valdez while going after a loose ball and suffered a nasty cut underneath his right eye. Valdez received the brunt of the crowd's boo force for the remainder of the game, but Price had to deal with fuzzy vision for a while. That's right, all of his heroics came with vision that only Mr. Magoo could relate to.

Since Price plays the part of grim death so well, I'll go ahead and mention that his three-pointer with three minutes to go in OT put OU up 67-62 and sent the decibel level at Lloyd Noble to heights not seen since the Skeeter Meter was in operation. That was the final nail in the coffin of the Red Raiders on this night.

Contrary to what my miserable attempts at writing would have you believe, tonight's victory was not a one-horse show for the crimson and cream. Kevin Bookout and De'Angelo Alexander both had excellent showings for the nation to see.

First off, what can you say about Kevin Bookout? The scapegoat for any and all things related to the Sooner offense during the opening stanzas of the 2003 season has become a force in the lane of late. Most scoffed at coach Sampson's remarks that Bookout could average 12 points a game in Big 12 Conference play, but those scoffers are loosening their neck collars now.

When tonight's 15 points and eight rebounds are added to the rest of Bookout's conference slate the stats show that the Stroud colossus is averaging nearly 13 points and eight rebounds in Big 12 play. Sampson equals Nostradamus? Who knew?

Scarier still is that Bookout went down in the first half with what looked to be a serious knee injury. As he was laying in the paint below the north goal everyone could see that he was in obvious pain. The crowd held their breath hoping for some bit of good fortune. It was delivered.

"I just got hit on my knee and luckily the Lord was with me," Bookout said. "It was pretty scary, but I was able to come back and do what I could to help our team."

The emergence of De'Angelo Alexander's shooting stroke tonight has been a long time coming. An OU basketball guru on the message boards circuit has been proclaiming DA's shot to be flat. Tonight, the Midwest City Bomber had a sweet arc to his long-range jumper and it was evident on the stat sheet following the game. Alexander finished with eight points while hitting both of his attempts from behind the arc. That's got to make coaches around the league groan with disapproval.

Texas Tech played a fine game, and they have nothing to be ashamed about. Sampson said that Tech's 1-2 punch of Andre Emmett and Kasib Powell is about as good a tandem as you will see. Their motion offense can send a defensive-minded coach to Griffin Memorial Hospital with the greatest of ease. Still, the Oklahoma defense held strong and kept two strings alive tonight. One, a 32 games and counting home court winning streak and two, 15 consecutive opponents under 60 points.

The latter streak will be put on the line this Friday as the Sooners travel to wacko Waco to take on the Baylor Bears of Dave Bliss. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. I'll be there, will you?

BMart's Player of the Game
Hollis Price: 23 points, five rebounds, and two assists on 6-of-11 shooting.

BMart's Play of the Game
Let's go with Price's coast to coast run and jumper to send the game into OT. Any objections? Didn't think so.

BMart's Heartfelt Plea
Sooner fans, when you say your prayers tonight, please keep Jabahri Brown in your thoughts. According to coach Sampson's post-game chat with Bob Barry, Brown suffered a tragic and sudden death within his family early this morning. Sampson said that Jabahri was in his office for a couple of hours today talking about life in general.

To have enough courage to come out and give it his all on national TV with this weighing heavily on his heart says a lot about Jabahri Brown. There's more to life than basketball, and, sadly, Jabahri is learning that the hard way right now. Let's have the prayers and thoughts of the Sooner community help him through this difficult time. God Bless You, Jabahri. Keep your head up. OU-Texas Tech Box Score

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