First-Half Surge Leads to Big Win
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Blake Griffin's season of dominance continued on Saturday, just like Oklahoma's decades-long winning streak against Baylor.
The preseason All-American had 20 points and 17 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season, and No. 6 Oklahoma won its seventh straight game by routing the Bears 95-76.
Oklahoma (19-1, 5-0 Big 12) is 34-5 all-time against Baylor (15-4, 3-2) and has won 29 straight games against the Bears since 1977, when the Bears last beat the Sooners. Baylor has never beaten Oklahoma since the Big 12 began play with the 1996-97 season.
Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said the Sooners are aware of the streak, but he downplayed its significance.
"Our players know they haven't lost to them, but it doesn't matter," he said. "We hadn't beaten Texas since I got here, but that didn't matter this year. We are a different team than we were last year. We tried to focus on this Baylor team and how good this Baylor team is and on doing what we do. And what we do is pretty good."
Taylor Griffin scored 18 points and freshman guard Willie Warren scored 17 on 6-of-8 shooting for the Sooners, who shot a season-high 58.3 percent from the field (35 of 60) and extended their home winning streak to 16 games.
Baylor is 3-34 against ranked foes during Drew's six seasons. Curtis Jerrells led the Bears with 26 points while LaceDarius Dunn added 20.
Baylor's quick guards and strong offense -- the Bears entered the game shooting a Big 12-best 49.5 percent from the field -- figured to offer Oklahoma a challenge. But the Sooners, who surprisingly had been pushed by Nebraska their previous game, led by as many as 30 points and remained atop the Big 12 standings.
The Bears shot 34.6 percent from the field (28 of 81) and the Sooners took advantage, consistently running fast breaks off missed shots.
"They got more transition buckets than we anticipated," Drew said. "They are usually a half-court team and we didn't think that would be as big of a problem as it was. ... I just think they just got some shots early and too often."
Little went wrong for Oklahoma in the first half, as the Sooners raced to a 58-31 lead, posting their second-highest scoring half of the season. Oklahoma shot 67 percent from both the field and 3-point range while Baylor went 10 of 38 from the field (26.3 percent).
Blake Griffin had 14 points and 11 rebounds by halftime.
"It helped that everybody was involved and playing well at the beginning," he said. "It opens it up inside, like it always does."
Taylor Griffin credited Oklahoma's defensive effort for the quick start.
"When we put in the effort, we talk and hustle on defense, that is what we can do," he said.
Baylor led 9-8 after a put-back by reserve center Josh Lomers 5 minutes in. Warren swished a 3-pointer with 14:23 left to put the Sooners ahead 11-9 and they never trailed again.
During one 7-minute stretch, Baylor had only three baskets -- all 3-pointers by Dunn -- while the Sooners extended their lead from five to 20. Oklahoma's lead reached 29 points in the final minute of the half, prompting the student section at the Lloyd Noble Center to begin chanting "Same Old Baylor."
"That was maybe as complete of a first half as we have played all season long, they way we shot it, the way we moved the ball and really the way we defended," Capel said.
In the final minute of the half, Blake Griffin collided with Jerrells while driving to the basket. Griffin remained on the ground for a few moments, clutching his left ankle. The crowd went silent until he stood up and limped off the court.
He returned for the final seconds of the half and played most of the second half. Griffin said he rolled his ankle while stepping on someone's foot but would be fine.
Nine straight points by Jerrells -- on two 3-pointers and a three-point play -- cut Oklahoma's lead to 21 points midway through the second half, but Baylor came no closer than 19.
"Oklahoma really played well, especially in the first half, and by the time we got back into it, it was obviously too late," Drew said. "They just made shots. The encouraging thing for us is that we had some looks that we don't normally have, but again, they played extremely well."