Sooners get on boards to handle Crimson Tide

Published: Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Oklahoma's frontline duo of Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout combined for 31 points and the 14th-ranked Sooners held off Alabama 68-56 on Saturday.
Senior guard Terrell Everett had a career-high 10 assists for the Sooners, who extended their home winning streak against nonconference opponents to 46 games, the longest in NCAA Division I.
The difference between Oklahoma (8-2) and Alabama (6-5) was most evident on the boards, where the Sooners finished with a 40-18 advantage. The Sooners entered the game third in the nation in rebounding margin at plus-12.6 per game.
Bookout had 18 points and eight rebounds, while Gray finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. The pair combined to go 11-of-11 from the free throw line. The Sooners missed only one of 18 free throws.
Neither team led by double digits until the final minute, when Alabama began fouling in an attempt to get back into the game. There were 15 lead changes.
GEORGIA 89, WESTERN CAROLINA 65: Channing Toney led host Georgia with a season-high 18 points as the Bulldogs (9-3) beat Western Carolina (7-8), surpassing last season's win total.
Toney broke out of a three-game slump during which he had totaled eight points while hitting four of 18 shots.
Near the end of the half, Georgia was called for a technical foul when six Bulldogs lined up on the floor for an inbounds play after coach Dennis Felton called a timeout to set up a play.
NO. 21 OHIO ST. 78, LSU 76: Matt Sylvester, who hit the 3-pointer that dashed No. 1 Illinois' unbeaten season last March, hit one with 5.5 seconds left to cap a furious Ohio State comeback and keep the 21st-ranked Buckeyes undefeated with a win over visiting LSU.
Ohio State (10-0) trailed by 15 points with just over 5 minutes left and was down by 10 with 2 minutes remaining before making every big play imaginable down the stretch.
Terence Dials led the Buckeyes with 24 points, Sylvester and Ron Lewis each added 14 and Je'Kel Foster had 12.
LSU (7-4), rattled near the end with a lineup dominated by freshmen, was led by Glen "Big Baby" Davis' 25 points. Darrel Mitchell added 16, Tyrus Thomas had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots and Tasmin Mitchell had 12 points.
Davis' basket off a backdoor lob pass with 3:23 left gave the Tigers a 76-66 lead. But that was the final points for an LSU team that had three freshmen in the starting lineup and six among its top nine players.
LSU, leading the nation in rebounding margin, backed up that statistic with a 35-29 advantage on Saturday, its young and talented front line dominating beneath the baskets except for when Dials was making one-on-one moves.
SOUTH CAROLINA 65, DETROIT 35: Renaldo Balkman scored 14 points and Brandon Wallace added 10 points and seven rebounds as host South Carolina used its best defensive performance in 34 years to beat Detroit.
The Gamecocks (8-4) forced 17 turnovers, blocked 10 shots and held the Titans (6-8) to 27.1 percent shooting (13-of-48). No Detroit player scored in double-figures and the Titans trailed the whole way.
It was the best defensive night for South Carolina since losing to Maryland 31-30 in overtime in January 1971 in a game that was 4-3 at halftime.
Detroit was flat starting both halves, falling behind 12-1 at the start and letting the Gamecocks score the first nine points of the second half to take a 31-15 lead.
The only drama left for the rest of the game was whether Detroit would top the 40-point mark. A missed layup on a two-on-one break for the Titans with just under a minute to go made sure of that.
AUBURN 87, JACKSONVILLE ST. 83: Josh Dollard had 29 points and Rasheem Barrett added 28 to lead host Auburn (7-3) to a win Jacksonville State (5-5).
Behind 74-72, Quantez Robertson hit a three-pointer with 5:11 to play to give the Tigers a 75-74 lead - their first since leading 38-35 at the 2:24 mark of the first half.
The field goal by Robertson was his only of the game and it helped the Tigers close the game on a 17-9 run.

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