70 - 81 Final
  for this game

Oklahoma continues perfect start, tops VCU

Dec 21, 2008 - 7:02 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Oklahoma is proving its more than just Blake Griffin.

Tony Crocker scored a career-high 26 points to lead the fourth-ranked Sooners to their best start in 19 years with an 81-70 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday.

"I thought Tony Crocker was terrific," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "Tony shot the ball really well yesterday when we practiced here and then again during shootaround, so I'm not surprised at his numbers."

"When you hit your first few shots, you just have this extra confidence that this next one is going in also," Crocker said. "When you have a great game and your team wins, that always feels good too."

Griffin collected 18 points and seven rebounds and Austin Johnson added nine with six assists for Oklahoma (11-0), which has not opened a season with 11 straight wins since starting 12-0 during the 1989-90 campaign.

A National Player of the Year candidate, Griffin tied the contest at 24-24 with a slam dunk with 9:34 left in the first half but did not make another field goal for over 22 minutes.

It didn't faze the Sooners, who pulled away over that stretch and grabbed a 74-58 advantage on Griffin's next bucket - another dunk - with 7:15 to play.

With Griffin serving as mostly a decoy, Crocker enjoyed a career performance. With Oklahoma facing a 32-31 deficit, Crocker scored nine points over the final three minutes of the first half.

"It felt good out there," Crocker said. "It always feels good when shots are falling. Blake and all our other post players bring a lot of attention to themselves, so that always leaves us open out there to make open shots."

The junior guard capped the 11-1 burst with a pair of 3-pointers to give the Sooners a 42-33 edge at the break. Crocker knocked down another shot from the arc on Oklahoma's first possession of the second half.

"It helped a bunch (when Crocker hit shots)," Griffin said. "We needed that. We came into halftime with the game close like that and Crock pretty much took it upon himself and kind of expanded that gap for us."

The Rams (7-4) closed the gap to 47-44 early in the second half, but the Sooners went on a 16-2 run to put the game away. Crocker capped the burst with his fifth 3-pointer to extend the lead to 63-46 with 11:27 remaining.

"I thought we did some really good things throughout the game," Capel said. "Still, not a consistent effort. I thought it was better in the second half. If you take away the last four minutes, then I would have really been pleased."

Larry Sanders had 16 points and Bradford Burgess and Eric Maynor added 15 for VCU, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.