Griffin's Monster Day Lifts Sooners
Feb. 14, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- After seeing a performance by Blake Griffin that will go down in Oklahoma history, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight was reminded of another being so methodical and determined.
"Have you guys ever seen the movie, 'The Terminator?' That's what that kid is like," Knight said. "That kid has no facial expressions. He just plays and it's like every kid out there on him is like Sarah Connor, and he's just going to take his time and kill him.
"That kid is good."
Griffin set career highs with 40 points and 23 rebounds to break a school record with his 22nd double-double of the season, and No. 2 Oklahoma throttled Texas Tech 95-74 Saturday for its 13th straight win.
Griffin became only the third Oklahoma player to record at least 40 points and 20 rebounds in a game, joining Wayman Tisdale and Alvan Adams. Those two have their jersey numbers hanging in the rafters at the Lloyd Noble Center. It is also the first 40-point, 20-rebound game in Big 12 history.
There were only 12 other 40-point games in Big 12 history entering this season. "There are certain times certain guys say they were in the zone," Griffin said. "I thought I was kind of in that zone today."
Griffin threw down a pair of two-handed jams off lobs and scored eight points during a 10-0 run that put the Sooners (25-1, 11-0 Big 12) ahead 61-41 in the second half. And he wasn't done.
He added a few more pirouetting layups under the basket and finished his scoring with a two-handed jam that resulted in a three-point play with 6 minutes left. The Sooners went on to lead by as much as 28.
Oklahoma matched its best start in conference play, equaling its 11 straight wins at the outset of Big Eight play in 1985. The only other team to start Big 12 play 11-0 was Kansas, which ran the table in 2002.
"We can't get complacent. We've got to keep being hungry, keep playing hard and not stop until we get our final goal," Griffin said.
Cade Davis went 5-for-9 from 3-point range and added 17 points, and Willie Warren scored 15 for Oklahoma.
Nick Okorie set a new career high for the second straight game with 24 points and Mike Singletary finished with 16 points for Texas Tech (12-13, 2-8) in its 11th straight road loss.
The Red Raiders are below .500 for only the second time since Bob Knight took over the program in 2001. Tech had a losing record for the final five games of the 2005-06 season. Bob Knight handed over the reins of the program to his son last season.
Pat Knight decided to go with single coverage against Griffin in hopes that the Red Raiders could neutralize the Sooners' other weapons even if Griffin had a big game.
"When I saw that, I kind of tried to take my time and not to rush anything early on," Griffin said.
The result was a performance that will go down as one of the best in Oklahoma history. Tisdale had a school-record 61 points and 22 rebounds against Texas-San Antonio in 1983, and Adams went for 43 points and 25 rebounds against Iowa State in 1975.
Adams also shared the old record of 21 double-doubles in a season with Garfield Heard.
"It was special. It was really, really special," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "When I saw how they were guarding him early in the game, I thought it could be a game where he could have a huge night."
Griffin went 16-for-22, making mostly layups and dunks, and equaled the arena rebounding record set by Harvey Grant in 1987 and matched a year later by Stacey King. He didn't play the final 4:35.
He waved and smiled sheepishly when his totals were announced over the loudspeaker during a timeout, with even his teammates joining the crowd in cheering his performance.
Many of the Sooners' past players and coaches witnessed Griffin's unforgettable outing as part of a reunion -- although Tisdale and Adams weren't among them -- and were introduced to the crowd during a halftime ceremony.
Four of Griffin's first five baskets came off putbacks as Oklahoma piled up 10 offensive rebounds in the first seven minutes but couldn't shake free of the Red Raiders.
The Sooners didn't lead until more than 12 minutes into the game, when Taylor Griffin followed four straight points by his brother with a layup to put Oklahoma up 25-23.
Rodgrick Craig and Robert Lewandowski each got layups against Oklahoma's press to put the Red Raiders back ahead briefly, and Alan Voskuil had a chance at a fast-break layup off a steal until Austin Johnson came from behind and swatted it.
Warren connected on a 3-pointer at the other end to start a 9-0 run and give the Sooners the lead for good. Davis followed that with three 3-pointers in quick succession, and Oklahoma led 49-39 at halftime.
"My team, right now this year, you can't have that happen," Knight said. "The margin of error is so small. Something like that just feeds a really good team."