Sooners Cruise Past Tulsa, 69-44
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Scouts from 21 NBA teams came to watch All-America forward Blake Griffin lead No. 6 Oklahoma against Tulsa and 7-footer Jerome Jordan. They learned all they needed to know in the first 8 minutes.
Griffin had 19 points and nine rebounds and set the tone for a dominant defensive performance by the Sooners with two early blocks of Jordan as Oklahoma rolled to a 69-44 victory Sunday.
"It was something I noticed in film. Once they turn and go up, they normally don't pass off," said Griffin, who finished with three of Oklahoma's five blocks.
Griffin, who is 6-10, stuffed Jordan on two of Tulsa's first four possessions to start what coach Jeff Capel would call the Sooners' best half of basketball this season. He followed that with two two-handed alley-oop dunks as Oklahoma opened a 20-3 lead.
"I have so much respect for Tulsa basketball. I think they're good. I think they're well-coached," Capel said. "I thought we just jumped on them today, and we were able to build a lead."
Willie Warren scored 14 points and Tony Crocker added 12 as Oklahoma (8-0) suffocated Tulsa with a pressing defense, limiting the Golden Hurricane to 13-of-40 shooting and forcing 21 turnovers. Tulsa (4-4) went only 6-for-17 from the free throw line, failing to take advantage after getting into the bonus midway through the second half.
"We did not give them a game today," said Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik, who apologized to the 12,671 fans that came out for the first college basketball game played at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa. It was the largest crowd ever to see the school play in Tulsa.
"You can look at the stat sheet and see a lot of things. It depends on what you want to point your finger at," he said.
Warren and Crocker hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Sooners scored the first 13 points of the game, and the lead ballooned to 17 on Cade Davis' 3-pointer from the right wing.
Warren had a right-handed tomahawk jam and a driving layup as the Sooners ended the first half with a 10-0 run for a 43-19 lead.
Tulsa had averaged 20.5 turnovers in two previous games against Big 12 competition -- a 91-73 loss to Oklahoma State and a 67-56 win over Texas A&M -- and Capel came in wanting to exploit that perceived weakness.
"He told us to really get into them and just play with a lot of energy, and I think we did that to start the game off," Crocker said.
Oklahoma's pressure also neutralized Ben Uzoh, Tulsa's leading scorer with a 16.0 average. He was held to a season-low nine points on only seven shots, also his fewest of the season. The Golden Hurricane had their lowest scoring total in the series since Oklahoma won 46-38 in Oklahoma City in 1958.
Reserve Justin Hurtt led the Golden Hurricane with 10 points, including two 3-pointers that provided their first points.
"When it takes Ben out of the game, you all know I'm pretty dependent on his ability to run the team and make shots and make plays," Wojcik said. "So, I thought it was pretty effective."
Oklahoma's dominance was reminiscent of its 81-55 victory over Tulsa last season in Norman, when the Sooners opened the game with an 18-5 lead and were up by 30 at halftime.
Tulsa never got within 20 points in the second half and lost for the third straight time since that win over Texas A&M in the South Padre Island Classic.
"We've got to do a better job of getting off to better starts," Uzoh said. "We've got to change it. We've got some things we've got to just talk about and work on. Guys have got to be ready."