No. 9 Oklahoma struggles to put away winless Coppin

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- With time running out on a sloppy win
against Coppin State, Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson stood in front
of the scorer's table, his arms folded across his chest.

A bad pass from Austin Johnson zipped past him and smashed into
the table a few feet away for Oklahoma's 17th turnover, but Sampson
didn't flinch.

The Sooners (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) -- behind 19 points from Kevin Bookout
and 18 from Taj Gray -- held off Coppin State's second-half charge
for a 57-47 victory Saturday, but it was anything but impressive.

The Sooners (5-1) built a 19-point halftime lead with "about as
good a half-court defense" as Sampson had seen at Oklahoma. But
after holding the winless Eagles (0-7) to nine first-half points,
the Sooners were outscored 38-29 in the second half.

"I just didn't think we played with near enough energy or a
sense of urgency," Sampson said.

Bookout started an 8-0 run by putting back Nate Carter's missed
3-pointer early in the second half, and Carter finished it with a
fast-break layup to give Oklahoma a 40-16 edge. In between, Gray
hit a pair of free throws and slammed home a two-handed jam.

But the Eagles, who have yet to play a home game this season,
were able to cut into the gap with a 13-2 run featuring nine points
from Tywain McKee. Augustine Woodlin's 3-pointer from the right
side pulled Coppin State within 44-30.

Woodlin added another 3-pointer from the same spot and his two
free throws trimmed Oklahoma's lead to 50-38. The Eagles had
chances to make it closer, but Woodlin missed a pair of 3-pointers
and McKee was called for an offensive foul after stealing an
Oklahoma inbounds pass with 2:32 left.

Coppin State got within 55-47 on Michael Norwood's layup in the
final minute.

"We became too comfortable and not near enough aggressive,"
Bookout said. "When we got the double-digit lead we became too
comfortable with it. When we get a lead like that we need to put
our foot down and sustain it."

Sampson reasoned that his team's performance was affected
because of final exams this week and by his abnormal substitutions.
On several occasions, he had five reserves on the floor together,
then brought all five starters back onto the court.

"We were experimenting a lot tonight," Sampson said.

David Godbold, held out of the starting lineup after stepping on
a Villanova player in Oklahoma's last game, didn't score in 13
minutes off the bench. His replacement, Nate Carter, had seven
points on 3-for-8 shooting.

Terrell Everett, Oklahoma's leading scorer with 14 points per
game, was held scoreless for the first time in 39 games with the
Sooners. He finished 0-for-2 and didn't attempt a shot in the
second half.

McKee finished with 19 points to lead Coppin State, Darryl
Roberts added 11 and Woodlin scored 10. In their last game, the
Eagles led UCLA at halftime of a 69-57 loss.

"You're not going to look good against those teams," Sampson
said. "They're designed to make you look like that. They're going
to zone you the whole game, they're going take care of the ball,
pass the ball 20 times before they shoot.

"That's just the way it's going to go."

Oklahoma led 28-9 at halftime. The Eagles, who were 3-for-16 in
the first half, set a school record for fewest points in a half. It
also was the fewest points Oklahoma had allowed in a half since
Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored nine points in the first half of a 94-24
Oklahoma win on Dec. 2, 2003.

"For some reason, they want to do it their way and I have my
way," Coppin State coach Ron Mitchell said. "It's a major fight.
We have to go through the whole team before we understand what we
have to do.

"They need to play hard. They didn't play hard in the first
half. Simple as it could be."

The Eagles, who begin their season with 14 straight games away
from home, won't play their first home game until Jan. 14. It's
their first 0-7 start since opening the 1986-87 season with nine
straight losses.