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Griffin leads Oklahoma to big win over Tulsa

Dec 8, 2008 - 2:20 AM TULSA, Oklahoma (Ticker) -- After getting beat up in his last game, Blake Griffin made sure that Oklahoma delivered a big blow right away.

Griffin scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half as sixth-ranked Oklahoma started fast en route to a 69-44 victory over Tulsa on Sunday.

Freshman Willie Warren had 14 points and Tony Crocker chipped in 12 for the Sooners (8-0), who scored the first 13 points of the game and took a 20-3 lead with 7:16 expired.

Griffin scored nine points on that early burst and finished with nine rebounds to just fall short of his seventh double-double.

"They hit us right there with those two 3-pointers and obviously Blake Griffin is really strong and we didn't get enough pressure on him," Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. "It is a reoccurring theme that I don't want to hear with our start against Oklahoma State and now Oklahoma. We have to prevent that from happening."

"I like the way we started the game," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "I thought we had good intensity and we got after it defensively."

The sophomore forward was coming off a 25-point effort in a win over Southern California on Thursday, but was held to a season-low six rebounds for his only other game of the season without a double-double. Griffin was also roughed up in that contest, taking a cheap shot below the belt by the Trojans' Leonard Washington.

Griffin proved fine on Sunday, going 7-of-12 from the field as Oklahoma shot 50 percent (25-of-50).

"Before the USC game, we didn't have good practices and it showed in the way that we played," Griffin said. "We then got together as a team and talked about what we needed to do and how we needed to have a better practice - and we did that tonight."

With the improved effort, the Sooners are off to their best start since beginning 10-0 in 2003-04.

"It is good to be 8-0," Capel said. "I expected us to win and for our team to be pretty good. I think we have been pretty good, but I think there is so much room for growth and improvement on this team."

Despite the Sooners' big start, the Golden Hurricane were able to chip their deficit down to 25-16 behind a jumper from Ben Uzoh with 7:42 left in the first half. Yet, Oklahoma responded with a 6-0 run and outscored the host by an 18-3 margin over the rest of the half to grab a 43-19 lead at the intermission.

Tulsa got no closer than 21 points thereafter.

Warren did an excellent job as the playmaker, handing out seven assists without a turnover. He also collected three steals.

Justin Hurtt had 10 points for the Golden Hurricane (4-4), who had an unsuccessful opening to their new arena, the BOK Center.

The new building drew a crowd of 12,671 - the largest to every see the team play in Tulsa, causing Wojcik to apologize for the team's performance.

"I'd like to apologize because we didn't compete today," he said. "You can look at the stat sheet and see a lot of things, it just depends on where you want to point the finger."

Uzoh scored nine points and Jerome Jordan added seven and 10 rebounds for Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane's leading scorer, Uzoh entered the game averaging 16.0 points.