NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Hollis Price was the clear winner in this
matchup of premier guards. As a result, Connecticut isn't unbeaten
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 came in averaging 90.1 points per game,
thanks in part to the play of sophomore guard Ben Gordon. But
Gordon went just 5-of-18 from the field and scored 12 points, 10
below 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 of them and Connecticut (9-1) fell into a 20-7
Price had 14 first-half points as the Sooners (8-2) 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 points but was just 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. The
loss by Connecticut leaves No. 1 Duke and No. 17 Wake Forest as the
only unbeaten teams in Division I.
Coach Jim Calhoun praised the play of those two, but said he was
disappointed in Gordon and point guard Taliek Brown. Brown had just
two assists and missed all four of his shots.
"Ben's a wonderful player. He's a large reason why we're 9-1,
but he had a very, very poor game,'' Calhoun said. "Tonight was
certainly not his shining hour.''
After his big first half, Price made three more baskets in the
first 4:13 of the second half, including a 3-pointer that gave the
Sooners their biggest lead, 51-31.
His short jumper off a UConn turnover made it 53-35 with 13:33
left. The Sooners then went 11 straight possessions without a
basket and Connecticut took advantage, scoring 11 points to get
within 53-46 before Johnnie Gilbert ended the spurt with a tip-in
of a miss by Price with 5:52 to play.
Okafor and Rashad Anderson scored consecutive baskets to cut the
margin to 55-50 with 5:05 left, but the Huskies got no closer.
Oklahoma was 18-of-19 from the foul line over the final 4:43 --
Price was 10-for-10.
"What I really liked about Price is early, he didn't look for
his shot. He looked for his teammates, which I reminded some of our
kids of,'' Calhoun said.
"When we did a better job on Ere, he took over. He certainly
looked like a first-team All-American tonight.''
Connecticut was trying for its second big comeback win of the
year. The Huskies trailed Massachusetts 34-9 early in the second
half on Dec. 10, and rallied for a 59-48 victory.
White left at the 11:22 mark of the first half after banging his
left knee. He didn't return until 3:41 left in the game, and
promptly hit two free throws to give Oklahoma a 59-52 lead.
"I knew he was a tough guy who was going to try to come back,''
Price said of White. "That's what he did. He knocked down those
two free throws, which we needed.''
Connecticut, playing just its second road game of the season,
started 3-of-19 from the field.
"They got out something like 20-7, so that just shows that we
weren't playing tenacious on defense or offense,'' Gordon said.
"We were just kind of out there, and they took advantage of
The Huskies were 10-of-32 in the first half and missed several
shots in close. Despite their shooting troubles, the Huskies only
trailed 32-24 after Gordon sliced to the basket with 2:16 left.
Price countered with a jumper with inside a minute to play, then he
hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
This was the second meeting between the teams. Oklahoma won in
Hartford a year ago, 69-67.