By Times wires and staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 8, 2003
NORMAN, Okla. -- Hollis Price was the clear winner in this matchup of premier guards. As a result, Connecticut isn't unbeaten anymore.
Price, Oklahoma's senior leader, had a career-high 33 points, including 10 free throws in the game's final minutes, helping the ninth-ranked Sooners to a 73-63 victory Tuesday night.
Third-ranked Connecticut went in averaging 90.1 points thanks in part to the play of sophomore guard Ben Gordon. But Gordon went 5-of-18 from the field and scored 12, 10 fewer than his average.
"Our goal with Gordon tonight was to make him drive," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "That was the key, making Gordon drive the ball, not giving him the 3-point shot."
Gordon, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range, was 2-of-7 from behind the arc. He got several good looks in close in the first half but missed most, and Connecticut fell into a 20-7 hole.
Price had 14 first-half points as the Sooners took a 13-point halftime lead. He carried the Sooners after point guard Quannas White left with a sprained knee midway through the first half. The other part of Oklahoma's three-guard backcourt, Ebi Ere, scored 13 but was 4-of-10 from the field.
"It was one of those nights where everything that's happening for you is right on time," Price said. "All the guys just did a great job of getting me the ball."
The Sooners won their 30th straight home game, the second-longest streak in the nation behind Brigham Young's 42. No. 1 Duke and No. 17 Wake Forest are the only remaining unbeaten teams in Division I.
NO. 10 ILLINOIS 76, MINNESOTA 70: Brian Cook scored 25 and Sean Harrington added 22 for the visiting Illini, which began its quest for a third straight Big Ten title. Harrington had six 3-pointers, four in the second half.
NO. 13 MISSOURI 88, CENTENARY 58: Rickey Paulding scored 21 and Jimmy McKinney added 12 for the host Tigers. Paulding was 9-of-14 from the field as Missouri shot 51 percent overall.
NO. 17 WAKE FOREST 98, ELON 56: Josh Howard scored 18 and Eric Williams added 15 as the host Demon Deacons warmed up for a Sunday showdown with top-ranked Duke. Wake Forest (10-0) matched the sixth-best start in school history.
RICHMOND 67, NO. 21 XAVIER 59: Jeff Myers hit five 3-pointers and the Spiders overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to end the Musketeers' 17-game home winning streak. Richmond took advantage of David West's 3-of-15 shooting and held Xavier to one field goal over the last nine minutes.
NO. 24 MARQUETTE 60, SAINT LOUIS 54: Scott Merritt had 14 points and 11 rebounds as the visiting Golen Eagles, playing a dominating inside game, held off the Billikens.
NO. 2 ARIZONA: Forward Luke Walton expects to return Thursday night against Washington State after missing four games with his fourth sprained ankle this season.
NO. 4 ALABAMA: Freshman Kennedy Winston was cleared to play tonight after missing 11 games because of an NCAA and university investigation into accusations he received improper benefits while playing AAU basketball.
NO. 20 GEORGIA: Fred Gibson, a wide receiver who helped the Bulldogs to their first Sugar Bowl victory in 22 years, joined the basketball team in time for practice and is expected to be in uniform against Florida on Saturday.
MEMPHIS 85, TULANE 73: Chris Massie scored a had 34 points and 16 rebounds to lead the host Tigers to their sixth straight win in the conference opener for both teams.
USF: Guard/forward Jimmy Baxter will be presented with a commendation Thursday from the Tampa City Council for "his recently heroic deed." Baxter, a junior from St. Petersburg, rescued a father and son from their vehicle Dec. 12. Their car had driven off I-275 in St. Petersburg during a rainstorm, flipped and landed in a drainage ditch. Baxter, driving to his father's home with his fiancee and daughter, pulled over and ran back to the scene. He flagged down a motorist, borrowed a crowbar and smashed the windows on the partially submerged car, enabling him to pull out the two passengers.
LSU: Forward Jaime Lloreda will miss tonight's game against Houston with a knee injury.
S. CAROLINA: Jason Parker, the high school All-American who began his college career at Kentucky, has been given medical clearance to work out but may not have met the academic requirements placed on him as part of his transfer.
UVA: Coach Pete Gillen apologized for criticizing conference officials after a 75-63 loss Sunday to North Carolina State. He said star forward Travis Watson was roughed up inside but didn't get the calls.
W.VA. 68, UM 63: Drew Schifino scored 20 and Kevin Pittsnogle added 19 to lead the host Mountaineers in both teams' Big East opener.
FAMU 76, MORRIS BROWN 65: Terrence Woods scored all his 19 in the second half as the visiting Rattlers snapped a three-game losing streak.
TENNESSEE ST.: The school wants to fire coach Nolan Richardson III, who told campus police he brought a gun into the gym after an argument with an assistant coach on Christmas night. Richardson is the son of former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson.
NO. 5 UT 91, ODU 63: Kara Lawson scored 19 as the visiting Volunteers gave coach Pat Summitt her 798th win.
NO. 22 VILLANOVA 62, VA. TECH 60: Katie Davis had 26 points and made five free throws in the final 43 seconds for the host Wildcats.
WASHINGTON: Guard Kayla Burt probably won't play anymore after having a heart attack at a New Year's Eve party.
-- Times staff writer Pete Young contributed to this report.