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Griffin has strong return to court as Oklahoma tops Texas Tech

Mar 1, 2009 - 3:49 AM LUBBOCK, Texas (Ticker) -- Although it was nowhere near the production he had in his first meeting with Texas Tech, Blake Griffin showed he was back to normal with another double-double.

Griffin had 20 points and 19 rebounds in his return from a one-game absence as third-ranked Oklahoma snapped a two-game losing streak with a 78-63 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday.

Sidelined since suffering a concussion in the first half of last Saturday's 73-68 loss at Texas, Griffin appeared back to full health, shooting 9-of-18 from the field and grabbing five offensive boards.

"It is good to be back," Griffin said. "I definitely missed it, especially the Kansas game."

The 6-10 sophomore did give Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel a scare though, crashing over the scorer's table headfirst trying to save a loose ball with his team holding a 48-42 lead with 12:10 remaining.

"You saw when he jumped over the scorer's table how quickly I got down there," Capel said. "Hoping that he's OK, but that tells you a lot about that kid. He only knows one way to play."

Griffin's leap occurred near the Texas Tech bench, but was clearly something that did not surprise its coach, Pat Knight.

"No, that kid plays like that all the time," he said. "He's got a football player's mentality."

The leap over the scoreboard was not the only tense moment for Oklahoma, as Griffin was sent crashing to his back early in the contest, getting tangled with Texas Tech's Michael Prince when jumping for a alley-oop.

"The one early in the game took the air out of me, so I kind of was out of it for a little bit," Griffin said.

While he may have been a bit stunned after the first incident, Griffin was back to his normal self after going into scorer's table, getting an offensive rebound and dunking on the Sooners' next possession to make it 50-44.

Taylor Griffin had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma (26-3, 12-2 Big 12), which pulled one-half game behind Kansas (12-1) for the top spot in Big 12 Conference. The Jayhawks, who topped the Sooners, 87-78, on Monday, will host Missouri on Sunday.

Despite the return of Blake Griffin, the Red Raiders (12-17, 2-12) were able to hang close to the Sooners, closing within 50-49 on Robert Lewandowski's three-point play with 10:19 remaining.

Texas Tech made a bid to go ahead after an Oklahoma turnover, rebounding to missed 3-pointers before Nick Okorie's jumper was also off the mark.

"That's what killed us I thought," Knight said. "If you hit one of those, because the crowd is so into it, the place just goes berserk."

Omar Leary, who was getting playing time due in part to the one-game suspension of Juan Pattillo, hit a 3-pointer to give the Sooners a four-point edge with 9:02 to play.

Okorie came back with two free throws for the Red Raiders, but Blake Griffin then split two foul shots and completed a three-point play during a 13-4 run that gave Oklahoma a 66-55 cushion with 4:31 left.

Blake Griffin ended up with his 23rd double-double of the season, but fell well short of the career highs of 40 points and 23 rebounds in a 95-74 home win over Texas Tech on February 14.

Knight was thoroughly impressed by Griffin's effort, comparing him to Arnold Schwarzenegger's killer cyborg from the movie "Terminator".

"We cut everything in half that we gave up before," Knight said about Griffin's production Saturday.

John Roberson had 17 points and seven assists for the Red Raiders, who were outrebounded, 42-23, in losing for the sixth straight time.

Okorie scored 13 points and Lewandowski 11 for Texas Tech, which shot 39 percent (22-of-57) from the field and 6-of-25 on 3-pointers.