for this game

Longar helps Oklahoma overcome Pargo, Gonzaga

Dec 21, 2007 - 6:43 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Longar Longar got better the deeper the game went.

Longar scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half as Oklahoma overcame a huge effort by Jeremy Pargo to capture a 72-68 victory over No. 20 Gonzaga in the All-College Challenge on Thursday.

Freshman Blake Griffin added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Sooners (9-3), who captured their first win in three games against a ranked opponent this season.

"I'm really proud of my team," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "We beat a very, very good team and a very, very good program. It was a total team effort. I am just really proud of our kids and how we were able to gut out a win down the stretch."

The second-leading scorer at 12.4 points coming in, Longar struggled early. The senior center managed just five points on 2-of-7 shooting as Oklahoma was stuck in a 24-24 tie at the break.

Capel was not very impressed with his team's offensive execution in the opening 20 minutes.

"The first half was really ugly and boring," he said. "You know for us, I can't speak for Gonzaga, but for us, in the first half we stood around."

The game remained close in the second half, as Longar's improved effort inside helped offset Pargo's surge for the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga (9-3) opened up a 46-41 lead on a 3-pointer by Pargo with 12:05 remaining. However, Oklahoma re-took the lead less than three minutes later after Tony Crocker hit a 3-pointer and Longar and Keith Clark added jumpers.

The Bulldogs, who beat Oklahoma State in this event in 2004, later went back ahead, 66-63, with 2:39 left after Pargo hit a jumper to cap a span in which he scored 12 straight points for his team.

Longar, a 61 percent free-throw shooter coming in, came back with two free throws and added a jumper to give the Sooners the lead for good at 67-66 with 1:42 remaining.

Austin Johnson added three free throws down the stretch for Oklahoma and blocked a potential 3-pointer by Pargo that would have tied the game with five seconds left.

Pargo had a career-high 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting for Gonzaga, which dropped to 0-2 against teams from the Big 12 Conference. The Bulldogs absorbed a 73-63 loss at Texas Tech on November 23.

Pargo did miss his final three shots of the game, failing to score over the final 2:38 of the contest. Capel credited the switch of Johnson on to him on the defensive end as a reason why.

"We tried to play the percentages with Pargo," Capel said. "We were going under on ball screens, things like that. In the second half, he got going. So we felt like we had to make an adjustment and we put Austin on him. His length and his size was an advantage, and he was able to bother a couple of his shots. The last one he was able to get a piece of."

Crocker also had 15 points and Johnson added nine for the Sooners, who shot 65 percent (26-of-61) in the second half and finished with a 38-29 advantage in rebounds.

"We rebounded well today," Capel said. "That is something that we didn't do against Arkansas, but I thought we would be able to get out and get some transition baskets. We did at times, but more so in the second half. We just had better movement. Obviously, everything looks better when you make 65 percent of your shots."

Micah Downs had eight points and David Pendergraft chipped in seven for the Bulldogs, who saw starter Josh Heytvelt return to the team after having surgery in November for a stress fracture in his right ankle.

The 6-11 junior finished with five points and a rebound in 15 minutes off the bench.