No. 14 Oklahoma 81, Tulsa 73

Tuesday, November 25th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Jaison Williams scored 16 points and Lawrence McKenzie added 13 to lead No. 14 Oklahoma to an 81-73 victory over Tulsa on Tuesday night.

The Sooners (3-0) outscored Tulsa 12-6 in the final 2:17 to seal the victory, helped by freshman point guard Drew Lavender's layup that started the run and Williams' quick putback after stealing an in-bounds pass.

Oklahoma has won 34 of its last 35 games at home.

These younger Sooners looked nothing like coach Kelvin's Sampson offensively challenged, yet defensively dominant teams that were led by All-American guard Hollis Price over the past four years.

Tulsa managed to shoot 59%, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range, but couldn't keep the quicker, more aggressive Sooners from controlling the pace of the game.

The Sooners, led by the lightning-quick 5-foot-7 Lavender, got plenty of open looks at the basket on the fast break and pulled down 17 offensive rebounds; Tulsa only had seven.

Oklahoma surpassed the 80-point mark just seven times in 34 games last season.

In the first half, Tulsa shot 60% from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, but couldn't extend an early 11-point lead because of Oklahoma's aggressive halfcourt defense.

Guard Jason Parker led Tulsa with 20 points and Jarius Glenn added 15.

Williams and Jason Detrick got Oklahoma's first-half rally started, with Detrick scoring on three straight possessions to break a tie and give the Sooners a 36-30 lead.

Oklahoma closed out the half on Lavender's dazzling backward bounce pass through his legs to a cutting Johnnie Gilbert, who was fouled as he scored on a layup.

The Sooners led 41-37 at the break and never trailed again.

Detrick had 11 points for the Sooners, Jabahri Brown had 10 and Kevin Bookout also scored 10 and had a game-high nine rebounds.

These in-state rivals, both regulars in the NCAA tournament in recent seasons, have played each other only three times in the past 20 years. Oklahoma and Tulsa last met in 1996, with the Golden Hurricane winning 78-75 in Oklahoma City.

This is the first of a three-game series between the schools.

From the looks of the crowd at the Lloyd Noble Center Tuesday night, however, it appears it may take some time for the rivalry to catch on again. There appeared to far less than the announced crowd of 10,000 in the stands.