Bogut had 24 points, 11 boards and four blocked shots in the Utes' 60-54 win over Texas-El Paso on Thursday.
March 18, 2005
GAME: No. 6 Utah (28-5) vs. No. 3 Oklahoma (25-7).
REGIONAL: Austin, Second Round.
TIME: Saturday, 3:40 p.m. EST.
SITE: McKale Center; Tucson, Ariz.
Oklahoma has outrebounded seven straight opponents. Now it will try to attack the glass against one of the nation's best rebounders.
The third-seeded Sooners will pit their beefy frontcourt against Andrew Bogut and sixth-seeded Utah in a second-round matchup of the Austin Regional.
A 48-37 edge on the glass helped Oklahoma post an 84-67 win over Niagara in the first round Thursday. The Sooners had three players pull down at least 10 rebounds for the first time all season.
A similar effort will be needed against Bogut, who is second in the nation in rebounding at 12.2 per game. The Australian sophomore had 24 points, 11 boards and four blocked shots in the Utes' 60-54 win over Texas-El Paso on Thursday.
To counter the 7-foot, 240-pound Bogut, Oklahoma expects to use a combination of 6-8, 245-pound Kevin Bookout and 6-9, 240-pound Taj Gray. Bookout and Gray combined to finish with 25 points and 23 rebounds in the first round.
"We aren't worried about who scores," Gray said. "We just go out and play together. We have good chemistry."
The Sooners overcame a tough start Thursday and pulled away thanks to some strong defense. Oklahoma limited Niagara to 11-of-38 shooting in the second half.
"I think our defense in the second half was great," Oklahoma forward Johnnie Gilbert said. "I hope that carries us onto the next game. I think that motivation helped us out a lot."
Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson was pleased with his team's balanced output.
"Taj had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists. That's pretty good," Sampson said. "Kevin had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals. That's pretty good, too. Johnnie had 10 points, four rebounds. That's pretty good, too."
Utah would like to complement Bogut in the same fashion. He's grown used to seeing multiple defenders and was held scoreless over the final 17 minutes Thursday.
"It's just something I've got to deal with," Bogut said. "They try to get in my head and make me do things I'm not accustomed to doing. I've just got to work through that."
With UTEP packing in its defense, Utah managed to shoot just 6-of-24 from 3-point range. Bryant Markson was the only other Ute in double figures with 10 points.
However, Bogut had a big impact late by setting a screen for Marc Jackson, who hit a tie-breaking jumper with 39.5 seconds left.
Utah realizes it needs other players to step up to relieve the pressure from its star.
"When they have three guys guarding him, you're not going to get him the ball," Utah coach Ray Giacoletti said.
The Sooners, who missed the NCAA tournament last season, can reach the regional semifinals for the third time in four years.
The Utes have dropped three straight second-round games and have not advanced to the regional semifinals since 1998.
Oklahoma edged Utah 69-68 in the only previous meeting between the teams on Dec. 14, 1979.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Utah - F Justin Hawkins (8.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg), F Markson (10.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg), C Bogut (20.8 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg), G Jackson (10.5 ppg, 3.8 apg), G Tim Drisdom (4.9 ppg, 3.2 apg). Oklahoma - F Gray (14.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg), F Bookout (11.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg), G Drew Lavender (9.9 ppg, 3.3 apg), G David Godbold (4.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg), G Terrell Everett (12.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.3 apg).
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Utah - At-large berth, Mountain West Conference; beat Creighton 63-61, first round. Oklahoma - At-large berth, Big 12; beat Niagara 84-67, first round.
ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Utah - 34-28, 26 years. Oklahoma - 31-22, 23 years.