UCI Loses : Anteaters: Halftime adjustment isn’t enough to slow Oklahoma, which cruises to 99-77 victory.


The No. 1 three-point shooter in the nation last season made his return home to Oklahoma Wednesday night, but it certainly wasn’t a victory tour. Cancel the ticker-tape parade.

It wasn’t the long-range bombs of UC Irvine’s Chris Brown that wowed the crowd of 6,485 in the Lloyd Noble Center. It was Oklahoma forward Ryan Minor who made his first 10 shots, including five three-pointers, and had tied his career-high with 30 points . . . in the first half.

The Anteaters made a Minor adjustment at halftime, but it wasn’t enough to offset the Sooners’ major advantage--52-35 at halftime--and Oklahoma (2-0) cruised to a 99-77 victory.


“The guys just got me the ball when I was open . . . and I was open a lot,” said Minor, who finished with 15 rebounds and 36 points after making 13 of 21 shots from the floor. His 10-for-10 start set a Big Eight record, eclipsing the eight in a row made by Kansas’ Danny Manning in 1986.

“Ryan is both a shooter and a scorer,” said Oklahoma’s first-year coach, Kelvin Sampson, “but what pleased me most was that every one of his shots came out of our offense. He didn’t force anything.”

Brown, who grew up in Muskogee, Okla., and had about 100 family members and friends in the crowd, was totally frustrated by the belly-to-belly defense of Sooner guard John Ontjes. Brown gave his personal cheering section very little to applaud, scoring nine points after making one of six three-pointers and six free throws.

“I was really up for coming home and having a great game, really tearing it up,” Brown said. “But they played me really well and just took me out of the game.”

Then Irvine Coach Rod Baker took him out of the game. Brown played only 25 minutes. “I would’ve put me on the bench too, if I was coaching,” Brown said.

Ontjes, who “did exactly what we asked him to,” according to Sampson, not only stopped Brown, but scored 18 points, which included 10 of 10 free throws. He also had 11 assists.


The Anteaters (0-1) were pretty much out of it midway through the first half when Minor hit his fourth three-pointer to give the Sooners a 33-18 lead. Irvine managed to crawl back to within 11 when freshman Kevin Simmons scored on a layup to cut Oklahoma’s lead to 60-49, but Minor, who had been held scoreless for the first 12 minutes of the second half, made two free throws and a baseline jumper and the Sooners were rolling again.

“We never had any rhythm tonight,” Baker said, “especially in the first half. We just never got it going for two or three possessions in a row.

“They shot the ball extremely well, but we can’t allow 50 points in a half and expect to do very well.”

It was a physical game and, because of the Anteaters’ frustration level, filled with technical fouls. Irvine forward Shaun Battle was ejected in the first half for allegedly throwing a punch at Minor and Irvine forward Michael Tate and Sooner forward Antonio Bobo were each assessed technicals after a second-half scuffle.

“I think we caught a break on the call (on Battle),” Baker said. “That was a stupid thing for a junior to do and he could have been out for two games for it. I didn’t see it, but I believe the official who told me he threw a punch.”

Battle said he was “just trying to establish position,” and at no time resorted to fisticuffs.


Clearly, the Anteaters, who had three and sometimes four new players on the floor most of the night, are still a long way from becoming a cohesive unit. They played decent defense in the second half, holding Oklahoma to only six points in the first seven minutes, but couldn’t string together enough offense to get back into the game.

“We can play much better,” said Simmons, who made seven of 10 shots from the field and scored 16 points. “We just have to work on getting better every game as the season goes on.”