Sampson pleased with play in key road win

Price scores 23 as Oklahoma continued their domination over Texas A&M, 69-64

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - There's just something about the Lone Star State that gets the Sooners ready to play.

Hollis Price scored 23 points as third-ranked Oklahoma continued their domination over Texas A&M and the state of Texas with a 69-64 win Saturday in College Station.

Price scored 15 points of his 23 points in the first half, including 3-for-4 from the three-point line, as the Sooners took a 28-20 halftime lead and never looked back. Oklahoma never trailed in the game.

It was the eight straight win for the Sooners over the Aggies and the seventh win in College Station over the last eight years. A&M's last win over Oklahoma was during the 1998-99 season. And under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, the Sooners are now 55-10 in games against Big 12 foes from the state of Texas.

"From the get go, I thought we made A&M react to us," said Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"We've always been a pretty good road team," Sampson continued. "But with so many young kids going 5-3 was significant. You win championships on the road. It takes a special team to win on the road. To go 5-3 in this league this year is a great accomplishment."

Oklahoma came out hitting on all cylinders in the second half and held a 59-42 lead with 3:13 to go, but the Aggies didn't go away.

Texas A&M guard Bernard King, the Big 12's all-time leading scorer, scored 12 of his 17 points in the final three minutes and cut OU's lead to 67-64 after hitting a three-pointer with just nine seconds to go. A&M then fouled Price, who calmly sank two free throws with seven seconds left to seal the win.

"There's nothing to really say about what happened at the end of the game," said Sampson. "It's easy to make shots when you're down and the game isn't on the line. But when it really got tough in the middle part of the second half we got a 17-point lead. "I didn't think the final score was indicative of how we played."

One player who continued to impress and improve is junior center Jabahri Brown. Brown, who followed up his brilliant nine minute performance against Kansas with an eight point, eight rebound effort against Missouri, was impressive again Saturday. Brown finished with eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.

"Jabahri was a man today," said Sampson. "I thought he was the second best player on the court. He's starting to play with more confidence."

Another player who showed signs of playing with confidence was Ebi Ere. Ere, who had been in a massive slump over the last half of the season, looked as if he was going to continue his downward spiral after getting shutout in the first half. But the senior from Tulsa rebounded in the second half to score 12 points, including hit five key free throws down the stretch.

The Sooners will now return home to the friendly confines of the Lloyd Noble center to finish out the regular season. Oklahoma will host Nebraska on Tuesday and end the season with Senior Day on Saturday against Texas.

"We've got to go home and take care of business," said Sampson, whose Sooners are just one game behind Kansas for first place in the Big 12. "If we do that we'll be okay."

Box Score
White 2-4 0-0 6, Price 8-13 3-4 23, Alexander 3-8 3-3 11, Brown 4-7 0-1 8, Bookout 3-8 1-2 7, Ere 3-6 5-6 12, Johnston 0-0 0-0 0, Gilbert 1-3 0-0 2, Szendrei 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-49 12-16 69.

Texas A&M (13-12)
Bean 0-1 2-3 2, Ress 5-9 0-0 11, Wright 5-14 0-1 10, Jackson 0-4 4-6 4, B.King 5-11 5-6 17, J.King 0-0 0-0 0, Garcia-Morales 0-1 0-0 0, Leal 1-2 0-0 3, Brookhart 0-0 0-0 0, Turner 3-7 2-2 11, Watkins 1-1 0-0 2, Slocum 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 22-54 13-18 64.

Halftime-Oklahoma 28-20. 3-Point goals-Oklahoma 9-17 (Price 4-5, White 2-3, Alexander 2-5, Ere 1-4), Texas A&M 7-21 (Turner 3-3, B.King 2-5, Ress 1-2, Leal 1-2, Garcia-Morales 0-1, Wright 0-4, Jackson 0-4). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Oklahoma 35 (Brown 9), Texas A&M 28 (Ress 6). Assists-Oklahoma 22 (White 6), Texas A&M 17 (B.King 8). Total fouls-Oklahoma 21, Texas A&M 18. A-9,148.

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