No. 18 Oklahoma 64, No. 15 Texas 60

Saturday, January 22nd 2005, 7:32 pm
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Kevin Bookout had never beaten Texas in his career at Oklahoma, so he did everything he could to make sure the Sooners didn't lose again.

Bookout had 18 points _ including a wild three-point play in the final 2 minutes _ and pulled down 13 rebounds as No. 18 Oklahoma beat 15th-ranked Texas 64-60 on Saturday for its ninth straight win. The Sooners had lost five in a row in the Red River rivalry.

``This is my first time to beat Texas,'' said Bookout, a junior forward. ``I love it.''

The Sooners (15-2, 4-0 Big 12), who trailed most of the game, got some breathing room on Bookout's basket in a crowded lane and Drew Lavender's 3-pointer.

Bookout found himself triple-teamed and tossed the ball toward the rim, where it bounced in. His ensuing free throw gave Oklahoma a 59-55 lead with 1:56 to play.

``Once I got fouled, I just wanted to throw it up there and I prayed it'd go in,'' Bookout said.

Said Texas coach Rick Barnes: ``I don't understand how he made that flip over his head and drew a foul, but I give him credit for it. He's a heck of a player.''

After two free throws by Sydmill Harris, a guard who started in place of ineligible Texas forward P.J. Tucker, Lavender hit a 3-pointer from the left wing over the outstretched arm of a Texas defender to put Oklahoma up by five.

Brad Buckman hit one of two free throws on the other end, and Daniel Gibson pulled the Longhorns within 62-60 after Terrell Everett missed the front end of consecutive one-and-one free-throw situations.

Lawrence McKenzie, who scored 15 points, hit two free throws with 7.7 seconds left to seal the win for Oklahoma.

Bookout missed all three losses to Texas last year with a shoulder injury. He wasn't hampered at all this year, getting eight offensive rebounds.

``I feel like I'm in such good condition right now that I can do a lot of things that last year I couldn't do,'' Bookout said. ``I can get up and down the court better. I move laterally better, I can jump, I can get to the ball and keep it alive. Things like that, I feel I can do a lot better.''

Taj Gray added 12 points for the Sooners before fouling out with 8:35 to play, and Lavender finished with 11.

Gibson had 18 points to lead Texas (15-3, 3-2), while Jason Klotz scored 14 and Buckman added 12.

Oklahoma was able to outmuscle the Longhorns, playing for the first time without Tucker, their leading scorer and rebounder who was ruled academically ineligible earlier in the week.

Bookout said the absence of Tucker, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound bruiser, helped the Sooners to a 42-33 rebounding edge. The Sooners shot 6-for-28 from 3-point range, but made up for it with 22 offensive rebounds.

``When a team zones you and you don't shoot well, then your best friend becomes the offensive rebound,'' Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said.

Texas was also without forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who started the Longhorns' first 16 games but missed his second straight game with a hip injury.

``I think we're a great team, and the team we have right now is just as good as the one we had with those two guys,'' Klotz said. ``We're all going to stick together and play together and play hard.''

The Sooners took their largest lead of the second half with a 6-0 run fueled by reserve Johnnie Gilbert. Gilbert was there for the putback when McKenzie missed a fast-break layup, then swatted a Texas shot to set up Everett's layup on the following possession.

McKenzie hit two free throws to give Oklahoma a 48-43 lead, but Texas quickly pulled within a point following four straight free throws from Gibson.

Texas led briefly 49-48 after two free throws from Buckman, but McKenzie hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to put Oklahoma ahead 56-53, and the Sooners didn't trail again.

``You've got to be tough enough to win and you've got to find a way to win,'' Sampson said. ``We found a way to win the game and we were tough enough to win this game tonight.

``For a young team that hasn't been in a lot of games like this, I thought that was big for our team.''