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Griffin lives up to lofty expectations in rout of American

Nov 15, 2008 - 6:42 AM NORMAN, Oklahoma (Ticker) -- Blake Griffin fell two rebounds shy of a 20-point, 20-rebound performance as No. 14 Oklahoma cruised past American, 83-54, on Friday.

A preseason candidate for Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, Griffin finished with 24 points and a career-high 18 boards to lead the way.

It was the 29th win in the last 30 home openers for the Sooners (1-0).

"I feel good about this win," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "We beat a good team. American is a team that is going to win a lot of games, it is a team that you will see in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They are going to continue to get better."

"Tonight was just an old-fashioned butt-kickin' and Oklahoma beat us about every way you can beat a team," American coach Jeff Jones said. "I was definitely disappointed in how we played, but certainly impressed with Oklahoma. They are even more physically imposing than we thought they were."

A player who is already being talked about as a possible No. 1 overall pick in next year's NBA Draft, the 6-10 Griffin controlled the boards right from the start, grabbing an offensive rebound before scoring on two of Oklahoma's first three possessions.

The sophomore ended up with 10 rebounds and 12 points in the first half as the Sooners cruised to a 47-24 advantage at the break.

Things did not change much thereafter, as Griffin finished 9-of-11 from the field, including his first career 3-pointer in the second half.

"It felt really good," Griffin said. "At first I hesitated on the first couple trips (down the court) and I passed them up. Coach told me to shoot it and I kind of looked at him like, 'Are you sure?' He said, 'Can you make it?' I said, 'Yes sir.'"

The one place that the 19-year-old struggled was at the free-throw line, only converting 5-of-14 attempts.

"I felt like I had gotten considerably better at the free-throw line this year (from) last year," Griffin said. "I think part of it may have been nerves. I was pretty pumped up for this game. I just have to do a better job of staying calm and going through my routine and doing it how I do every day, like I do in practice or when I shoot free throws."

Cade Davis scored 11 points and freshman Willie Warren added 10 for the Sooners, who ended up shooting 54 percent (28-of-52) from the floor and held a 13-0 advantage in fast break points.

The top recruit for Oklahoma's newest class, Warren did not get his first career basket until the 4:30 mark of the second half. The 6-4 guard had missed his first five shots before getting fouled on a drive to the lane and completing the three-point play.

After having to sit out last season due to a transfer from UCLA, Ryan Wright scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench.

"If we can get this out of Ryan every game, nine (points) and five (rebounds) - and he got that in 13 minutes - he is going to continue to get more minutes for us and do some really good things," Capel said. "I thought Ryan did some really good things and he will start to finish more plays down there as he knocks the dust off."

Brian Gilmore scored 16 points for the Eagles (0-1), the reigning Patriot League champions.

Last season's leading scorer, Garrison Carr was harassed by the Sooners, being held to 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

    --- --- -----
    AMERICAN 24 30 54
    OKLAHOMA (14) 47 36 83 FINAL

    Nov 14 9:59 PM
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    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    American 30, Oklahoma(14) 62  2nd - 11:51Nov 14 9:37 PM


    Nov 14 8:59 PM