Price Right On for Oklahoma

From Associated Press

Hollis Price was the clear winner in a 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 at Norman, Okla.

Third-ranked Connecticut came in averaging 90.1 points, thanks in part to the play of sophomore guard Ben Gordon. But Gordon went only five 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 three-point shot."

Gordon, shooting 50% from three-point range, was two of seven from behind the arc. He got several good looks in the first half but missed most of them and Connecticut (9-1) fell into a 20-7 hole.

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 because of a sprained knee midway through the first half. The other part of Oklahoma's three-guard backcourt, Ebi Ere, scored 13 points but was only four 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.

Tony Robertson had 16 points and Emeka Okafor had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskies.

No. 11 Florida 74, No. 7 Mississippi State 66 -- Justin Hamilton scored a season-high 22 points and Matt Bonner and Brett Nelson made key plays in the second half at Starkville, Miss., and the Gators (12-2) defeated the Bulldogs (10-2) for their eighth victory in a row.

Nelson, who had all eight of his points in the second half, made a three-pointer to give the Gators a 61-52 lead in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

Mario Austin had 22 points and 16 rebounds for Mississippi State, which saw its 10-game winning streak end.

No. 10 Illinois 76, Minnesota 70 -- Brian Cook scored 25 points and Sean Harrington had 22 and the Fighting Illini (10-1) began their quest for a third straight Big Ten Conference title with a victory over the Gophers (8-4) at Minneapolis.

Harrington made six three-pointers, four in the second half, for Illinois in the conference opener for both teams.

No. 13 Missouri 88, Centenary 58 -- Rickey Paulding scored 21 points and Jimmy McKinney had 12 for the Tigers (9-1), who shot 51% from the field in a victory over the Gentlemen (5-9) at Columbia, Mo. Arthur Johnson had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Missouri, his sixth double-double of the season.

After leading, 45-35, at halftime, Missouri opened the second half with a 12-2 run that ended with one of McKinney's three three-pointers.

No. 17 Wake Forest 98, Elon 56 -- Josh Howard scored 18 points and Eric Williams had 15 for the Demon Deacons (10-0), who shot a season-high 55% to defeat the Phoenix (4-7) at Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wake Forest next has a weekend showdown with top-ranked and unbeaten Duke.

Richmond 67, No. 21 Xavier 59 -- Jeff Myers had 15 of his 18 points on three-pointers and the Spiders (7-5) overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to end a 17-game home winning streak for the Muskateers (9-4) at Cincinnati in the Atlantic 10 opener for both teams.

No. 24 Marquette 60, Saint Louis 54 -- Scott Merritt had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles (9-3, 1-1) over the Billikens (6-6, 0-1) in a Conference USA game at St. Louis.

Marquette's Dwyane Wade, who was averaging 24.2 points, was held to six on three-of-10 shooting.


No. 5 Tennessee 91, Old Dominion 63 -- Kara Lawson scored 19 points to lead the Volunteers (10-3) over the Monarchs (4-5) at Norfolk, Va., and give Pat Summitt her 798th coaching victory.

No. 21 UC Santa Barbara 73, CS Northridge 41 -- Lindsay Taylor scored 19 points and the Gauchos (8-2, 2-0) held the Matadors (0-13, 0-2) to 31% shooting to win the Big West game at Santa Barbara.

No. 22 Villanova 62, Virginia Tech 60 -- Katie Davis matched a season high with 26 points and made five free throws in the last 43 seconds as the Wildcats (11-1, 2-0) held off the Hokies (10-3, 1-1) in a Big East game at Villanova, Pa.

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