- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 24, 2002

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson is going to another Final Four only this time, he won't have to go alone.
With a dynamic combination of toughness and late-game cool, Oklahoma rolled to its first national semifinal since 1988 with an 81-75 victory over 12th-seeded Missouri yesterday.
Hollis Price scored the last of his 18 points on two free throws with six seconds left to give the Sooners their 12th straight victory and a ticket to Atlanta.
"Coach goes to the Final Four every year, but he never takes us," Price said with a grin. "We're tagging along this time."
After the final buzzer, Price enjoyed a long and joyous hug with Sampson, whose 19 years in charge of three programs culminated with a relatively trouble-free run through the West Region, highlighted by an ugly but satisfying win over the Tigers.
Ebi Ere scored 17 points for Oklahoma (31-4), seeded No. 2 in the West. The Sooners made their reputation this season with hard-nosed play on both ends of the court, and that made the difference against the Tigers, who were looking for a historic upset.
Missouri (24-12) played with the same tenacity and opportunistic outside shooting that got the Tigers to the round of eight for the first time since 1994. Rickey Paulding scored 23 points for Missouri, while Kareem Rush had 17 before fouling out.


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