Live Blog: OU vs. North Carolina

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
5:58 p.m. | Going to sign off -- we're at 3:30 to play and Carolina has a 65-53 lead. The Griffin-Hansbrough match-up went like this -- Griffin has 23 points and 16 rebounds. Hansbrough has four points and six rebounds, although his supporting cast was outstanding.

Best wishes to the OU women tonight in Kansas City against Pittsburgh.

5:51 p.m. | Hey, a run by OU -- Willie Warren got OU's first three and the Sooners are on a 9-2 spurt. North Carolina leads 61-49 with 4:10 left. Capel has employed a full-court press, which seems to have disrupted Carolina's rhythm. Also, Juan Patillo is now on Lawson and that's a match-up that seems to favor the Sooners. Patillo has seven inches on the UNC point guard.

5:45 p.m. | Just 7:38 remaining and North Carolina leads 59-40. Since the last post, OU missed another trey and is now 0-of-14. With just three of those, this would be a 10-point game.

The other issue is defense -- North Carolina is shooting 68.8% this half and hasn't had many empty possessions. Oklahoma isn't getting any easy baskets either -- NC has a 9-0 advantage in fastbreak points.

5:37 p.m. | Oklahoma just called timeout -- Carolina has stretched it out to 59-40. The lack of three-point shooting continues to hinder the Oklahoma cause ... that tough-to-view stat is now 0-of-13. The lowest three-point total in a game this season for OU was three against Kansas State and then against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tournament. This same team made nine against Syracuse.

5:33 p.m. | The attendance is 17,025 and the building looks mostly full. We're at the second media timeout of the second half with North Carolina leading 53-40.

The story lies in the three-point shooting numbers -- OU is 0-of-12 and UNC is 5-of-13. For the Tar Heels, that has been enough to offset a commanding rebounding advantage by Oklahoma, 26-17.

Blake has 21 points and 13 rebounds. Lawson contiues his torrid pace this half and now has 14 points for Carolina.

5:21 p.m. | First media timeout of the second half with North Carolina leading, 45-33. The Tar Heels have out-scored the Sooners this half, 13-10.

UNC point guard Ty Lawson had four points and three assists in the first half. Already this half, he has four points and one assist.

OU now 0-of-10 on three-point shots.

5:02 p.m. | It's halftime with North Carolina leading, 32-23.

Remember when Syracuse missed all 10 of its first-half treys on Friday night? Well, the Sooners are 0-of-9 from that distance in this one after the same amount of time. Crocker and Warren both missed three.

Blake leads Oklahoma with 11 points. He also has nine rebounds. Danny Green leads North Carolina with 14.

Miscellaneous stats: Points in the Paint -- OU 16, NC 12; Off Turnovers -- NC 13, OU 4; Second Chance -- NC 6, OU 3; Fastbreak Points -- NC 5, OU 0; Bench Points -- NC 6, OU 4.

We send out sympathy to those families who lost love ones in a nursing home shooting in Carthage, NC today. Last report is that eight are dead.

Just had some unruly fans removed who were chastising the OU bench. Some folks have zero perspective.

4:40 p.m. | Fourth and final media timeout of the first half with North Carolina leading,

Getting a shot has been a task since the last media timeout. Twice the Sooners ran the clock to single digits including one violation. Carolina has gone a little chilly too. offering up a pair of airballs on recent possessions.

Oklahoma has eight turnovers and North Carolina has an 11-2 lead in points off turnovers. The Tar Heels have six steals. Remember, the Sooners had a huge advantage in that department vs. Syracuse.

OU is still chilly -- 6-of-17 (missed first nine three's), but is winning the rebounding battle, 14-13.

Oklahoma will shoot two free throws the rest of the half as UNC is over the 10-foul limit.

Did you know this is Oklahoma's fifth 30-win basketball season?

4:35 p.m. | Third media timeout of the first half, and North Carolina has found itself on the offensive end again, leading 23-14. Blake Griffin scored his first points at the 8:29 mark on a pair of free throws, then got his first field goal on OU's next possession. Tyler Hansbrough is back in for UNC and is playing with two fouls. Tony Crocker went out with two fouls earlier and has not been back for OU.

Blake leads all rebounders with eight. In fact, he has eight of OU's nine.

4:10 p.m. | First media timeout and Carolina leads 7-2. Blake just got his first foul -- a cheapie. Sooners are just 1-of-6, Carolina is 3-6. Three of OU's shots were three-pointers.

Crocker on the bench with two quick fouls -- Cade Davis should get a lot of minutes.

4:03 p.m. | CBS spotlighting the Griffin/Crocker and Hansbrough/Lawson duos. Not surprising after their performances the other night.

Jeff and Roy just shook hands -- it was friendly. No overtones of Duke/Carolina. Jeff's brother, Jason, is sitting just a couple rows behind our location, wearing an OU shirt as his brother predicted. Jason played at UNC.

3:55 p.m. | Decidedly Carolina crowd today although there are a large number of OU fans here.

OK, the answer to the trivia question -- Kansas City (Kan.) Wyandotte, which has one of the richest traditions of any high school in the country. Congrats to Ben for getting it ... on the second guess :)

3:44 p.m. | Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham and UNC guard Danny Green could be twins.

3:35 p.m. | Larry Drew II is a guard for North Carolina. His dad, Larry, Sr., played at Missouri. Before that he attended the same high school that produced former Sooner standout David Johnson. Know the answer? Email it to me.

3:13 p.m. | The starters will be the same for Oklahoma -- the two Griffin's, Johnson, Crocker and Warren. For North Carolina, it will be Deon Thompson and Tyler Hansbrough at the forwards along with guards Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington.

The officials for the game are Tom Eades, Verne Harris and John Huges.

One of the two NCAA Committee members here is Lynn Hickey, who some of you may remember as Kansas State's women's basketball coach until the early 1980's. She is now the athletics director at UT-San Antonio. The other committee rep here is UCLA Athletics Director Dan Guerrero.

OU is 30-5, Carolina 31-4. The Tar Heels have won three straight since a loss to Florida State in the ACC Tournament. Hansbrough is the leading scorer at 21.3 points per game.

Among the fans in the OU section is Rod Barnes, formerly an assistant coach under Jeff Capel. He is now the head coach at Georgia State.

Other school shirts seen in the building so far -- Kentucky, Florida, Memphis, Gonzaga, Syracuse and Arkansas.

Eric Montross is the color analyst on the Tar Heel basketball network. At 7-0 he could post up our color guy, Mike Houck, who is a respectable 6-4.

2:45 p.m. | The doors have been opened to the FedEx Forum on a beautiful day here in Memphis. Fans are trickling in at this point. Our vantage point is directly behind the Oklahoma bench and that's where we'll be reporting from this afternoon.

If you haven't looked at the photo galleries on SoonerSports.com, I would encourage you to do so. Ty Russell has gotten some great pictures, including a shot of Blake hitting his head on the backboard against Syracuse.

The Sooners are the last hope for the Big 12 as the conference attempts to place a team in the Final Four.

We're set to fly back to Oklahoma City tonight aboard a charter. Yesterday, we spent the morning in a transition meeting with members of the host committee from Detroit. After that, the team practiced for 90 minutes here on the game floor and then took care of more than an hour of media responsibilities.

The Sooners ate dinner at the hotel and spent a quiet evening at the Doubletree. Saw Taylor Griffin playing a trivia game in the lobby. Earlier in the week the players did get to walk around the city a bit, usually with a police escort. The security has been visible and very good.

OK, get those emails fired up and I'll check back a little closer to tip off.

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(2) Oklahoma vs. (1) North Carolina | Sunday, March 29 | 4:05 p.m.
A trip to the Final Four is on the line as the Sooners meet the Tar Heels in the NCAA South Regional Final Sunday in Memphis, Tenn. Senior Associate A.D. Kenny Mossman will provide instantaneous reaction, observations and notes from his post directly behind the OU bench. For complete broadcast information and all the coverage leading up to the game, visit Sooner NCAA Tournament Central.

Have a question or want to share your thoughts on what unfolds during the game? Email Kenny at soonersideline@gmail.com. Then continue to check back to see if your comments make the blog.

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