Oklahoma 69, Arkansas 54

Saturday, December 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ A year ago, Oklahoma closed with a rush to beat Arkansas. Friday night, the Sooners coasted home.

Ebi Ere made 10 of his first 13 shots and Hollis Price canned a momentum-stopping 3 as Oklahoma beat Arkansas 69-54.

Ere, who finished with 29 points, had six points and Price had four during a 14-0 run that decided the outcome. ``Every time they needed something to happen, Ere came up huge,'' said Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson.

Despite good defense by Arkansas (3-2), Price made a 3 that put the Sooners (3-1) in front 39-37 only seconds after the Razorbacks had rallied from an 11-point deficit to take its first lead since the opening minute.

Uncontested, Ere put back a teammate's miss for 43-39 and started the five-minute spurt. An air ball led to a putback by Daryan Selvy and then Price swiped the ball from Larry Satchell and went in for a layuyp.

After another Satchell turnover, Ere made a short jumper for 49-39. Jannero Pargo missed and Jason Detrick was good on a tough baseline jumper. Price, who finished with 15 points, hit a jumper and Ere followed suit for a 55-39 lead with 5:50 remaining.

The Sooners were never threatened the rest of the way.

Oklahoma led 30-24 at the half after taking 13 more shots than the Razorbacks. At that point, Oklahoma had a 26-9 rebounding advantage, including 14 offensive rebounds and 14 second-chance points.

``We shot 44 percent from the field and that is very misleading,'' said Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson. ``We had so many offensive rebounds, so one possession we might have gone 1-for-3 or 1-for-4. We would get it and shoot it, get it and shoot it until it finally dropped.''

``Our big guys treated the ball like meat and they were piranhas,'' Price said.

``They were much more physical, and the more physical team usually wins,'' Richardson said. ``You can't ask a team to play any better or harder than they did, especially on the road. We only had one offensive rebound in the first half, you've got to have the boards.''

Oklahoma's Aaron McGhee backed into the lane on Alonzo Lane and made a short left-handed jump hook to break an early tie and the Sooners led for the next 21-plus minutes. Quannas White followed with a 3.

After a nice pass, McGhee waited for two Arkansas defenders to leave their feet and then made a layup for 11-4. At that point, Arkansas was 1-of-5 from the field and Oklahoma was 5-of-10.

Oklahoma kept beating Arkansas to loose balls and when Ere made his fifth shot in six attempts, the Sooners led 24-16. Price's 3 upped the lead to 11.

Early in the second half, Arkansas increased defensive pressure and it paid dividends. After a steal, Brandon Dean waited for Pargo to make it two-on-one and then finished the break to cut the lead to 32-30. Satchell got the bounce on a jumper and Dionisio Gomez's outlet pass to Pargo produced a layup and 34-34.

Leaning, White threw up a one-hander that bounced in to put the Sooners back in front. Satchell tied it from underneath and gave the Razorbacks their first lead since 4-2 with a free throw. Immediately, Price responded with his 3.