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Stanford, California Suffer Bay Area Blues

Freshmen Bookout and Alexander are the difference for top-seeded Oklahoma in 74-65 win over Bears.

March 23, 2003|From Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — A couple of freshmen helped make sure Oklahoma senior Hollis Price gets to keep playing in the NCAA tournament.

Kevin Bookout scored a career-high 22 points and De'Angelo Alexander had 15 as the top-seeded Sooners reached the East Regional semifinals with a 74-65 victory over eighth-seeded California on Saturday.

Price, the Big 12 Conference player of the year, is bothered by a left groin injury that limits his quickness. After playing 11 minutes in the first round against South Carolina State, he logged 30 against Cal but scored only five points.

"We have a lot of good players on this team," Oklahoma Coach Kelvin Sampson said. "The mark of a good team is that other players step up when given an opportunity.

"De'Angelo and Bookout, those guys came through."

Oklahoma (26-6) -- which reached the Final Four a year ago -- will play either Louisville or Butler in the next round Friday in Albany, N.Y.

Bookout played only nine minutes in the first round because of strep throat, and didn't score. He felt much better Saturday.

Cal (22-9) trailed 62-51 after seven consecutive points from Brian Wethers, who tied his career high with 27 points. But a jumper by Alexander, a three-point play by Bookout and an alley-oop dunk by Johnnie Gilbert made it 69-51 with 3:58 left.

A 10-0 run by Cal cut the margin to eight with 1:32 to go, but the Bears got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

"Oklahoma plays consistently, and they play tough," California Coach Ben Braun said. "You've got to be consistent. You can't have lulls."

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