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Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2003 9:54 AM EST
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No. 3 Syracuse (27-5) vs No. 1 Oklahoma (25-6)
Syracuse Orangemen
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Oklahoma Sooners
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ALBANY, New York (Ticker) -- Top-seeded Oklahoma can secure its second straight trip to the Final Four on Sunday when it faces No. 3 Syracuse in the East Region final.

Oklahoma (25-6) lost to Indiana in last year's Final Four and can join fellow Big 12 Conference foe Kansas on college basketball's biggest stage. The Sooners advanced with a 65-54 victory over Butler on Friday.

Ebi Ere scored 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting after averaging 9.3 points and shooting 27 percent in his previous 20 outings. Ere also had eight rebounds as the Sooners posted a commanding 37-20 advantage on the glass.

Big 12 Player of the Year Hollis Price shook off a a groin injury and 5-of-16 shooting for 12 points and five assists. Jabahri Brown grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench.

Freshman Kevin Bookout made 8-of-9 shots for 16 points and has made 17-of-20 shots in his last two games. Bookout has 48 points in the last two games after being limited to nine minutes in the first round due to strep throat.

The Sooners are 4-2 in regional finals and have won 16 of their last 18 postseason games.

Syracuse (27-5) is seeking to take advantage of what is expected to be a partisan crowd at Pepsi Arena. Albany is just a two-hour drive from Syracuse.

"We know the crowd is coming from Syracuse and they're gonna support us tomorrow," Syracuse freshman Carmelo Anthony said. "It's not for us to worry about the crowd, I think it's the other team that has to worry on how they're going to react to the crowd."

Anthony has not scored in the first half of each of the last two games, but came through with 18 points in the second half of Friday's 79-78 victory over Auburn. Syracuse built a 16-point lead before Auburn picked apart the Orangemen's famed 2-3 zone defense and rallied.

Hakim Warrick fouled out with 15 points and Josh Pace provided a spark with 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Pace has come up big in the last two games, collecting six points and eight rebounds in a second-round victory over Oklahoma State.

Syracuse, which never has won a national title, is seeking its first trip to the Final Four since losing to Kentucky in the 1996 championship game.

The series between the teams is tied, 1-1, and they have not met since the 1983-84 season.

The winner will meet the South Region champion, Texas or Michigan State, in a national semifinal on April 5 in New Orleans.

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