for this game

Griffin, Oklahoma too much for Texas

Jan 13, 2009 - 5:43 AM NORMAN, Oklahoma (Ticker) -- Blake Griffin recorded his 14th double-double of the season, but it was the play of Oklahoma's guards that gave the Sooners an early edge in the Big 12 Conference.

Blake Griffin had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead a balanced attack as fifth-ranked Oklahoma staked an early claim as the team to beat in the Big 12 with a 78-63 victory over No. 11 Texas on Monday.

Freshman Willie Warren scored 17 points, Tony Crocker had 16 and Austin Johnson added 15 for the Sooners (16-1, 2-0 Big 12), who held the Longhorns to 34 percent (23-of-68) shooting for the contest.

"Hopefully it makes other people around the nation see that we're not just a mediocre team," Griffin said. "We've heard so much talk about Texas - talk about their big guys, talk about their guards, talk about (A.J.) Abrams.

"We personally, as a team, feel that people kind of disrespect us a little bit with the way they talk about our guards and the way they talk about our post defense and anything like that. For us to come out and make a statement like this was big for us and the program as a whole."

In a matchup between the expected top two teams in the conference, Oklahoma never trailed and was in control throughout to earn its first win in the series' last seven meetings.

"I think we played hard and outplayed them because this game meant a lot," Crocker said. "Since I have been here, we have not beaten Texas. So it meant a lot to all of us just to get this win."

Texas (12-4, 1-1) went scoreless for over a five-minute stretch as Oklahoma went on a 12-0 run to take a 24-8 bulge with 9:24 left in the first half. Griffin scored five points during the run.

The Longhorns were able to close within six, but the Sooners finished strong and took a 38-27 advantage into the locker rooms after Crocker's jumper late in the first half.

Texas coach Rick Barnes was especially upset with his team's 11 first-half turnovers.

"Absolutely ridiculous," he said. "That bothers me, especially when some guys aren't even being guarded. There is absolutely no reason to turn the ball over when you're not being guarded."

Texas cut the deficit to six on a number of occasions early in the second half, but Oklahoma always seemed to have an answer.

Damion James' 3-pointer trimmed the margin to 54-50 with 11:16 remaining but the Sooners responded with a 12-0 run as the Longhorns missed 10 consecutive shots.

"Our defense was tremendous today," Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. "We went all man. We did not play one possession of zone, 1-3-1 or anything. It was just good solid man-to-man. I thought our guys followed our game plan."

Griffin had four points during the stretch that saw Texas go 6 1/2 minutes without a point and allow Oklahoma to open up a 66-50 lead with 5:05 to play. The Longhorns never got closer the rest of the way.

Oklahoma shot 65 percent (13-of-20) in the second half and finished at 51 percent (27-of-53) for the game.

Johnson's 15 points were his second-most of the season and he guarded Abrams for most of the night, holding the senior to 22 points on 8-of-27 shooting, including 3-of-15 from the arc.

"It makes us a different team," Capel said. "I told A.J. I believe in him, I really truly do. I am not surprised that he had the kind of game that he had. He controlled it throughout and obviously when he scores that gives us a different boost."

James, who was benched for much of the first half, scored all 12 of his points after the break.

"We started the game and knew we had to have a great game defensively, and I think he gave up the first five points of the game," Barnes said of James. "We had talked about what we wanted to do and we didn't get it done.

"But (James) wasn't the only one who started the game. I think Oklahoma came out and knew what they wanted to do and when they wanted to do it, and in the first 10 minutes we didn't give them any resistance at all."