Pair combines for 36 points as Sooners conclude Canada trip with 4-0 record.
Sept. 3, 2007
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. - The Oklahoma men's basketball team didn't seem fazed by the fact it was playing its fourth game in 38 hours when it visited Douglas College Monday morning. The Sooners stormed to a 27-6 lead through the first 10 minutes of play and wrapped up a 4-0 exhibition tour of Canada with a 90-61 win.
OU took it inside early and often against a Royals team that beat Boise State on Sunday night by a 109-100 score. Center Longar Longar, who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for one of two double-doubles (fellow senior David Godbold contributed 12 points and 10 boards), scored eight of OU's first 10 points.
Forward Blake Griffin, meanwhile, supplied 20 points in 21 minutes off the bench. The freshman was 9-for-12 from the field in leading the team in scoring for the third time.
The Sooners grabbed an 11-0 lead and kept the Royals scoreless for more than half of the first quarter. Douglas' Billy McNutt finally put Douglas on the board with a basket 6:10 into the game.
"We got off to a great start and Longar was the main reason," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "I don't want to single out one guy, but Longar was tremendous. He contributed in some fashion on each of our first five baskets. The energy kept going from there.
"Our guys were really anxious to play this game because of what Douglas College did against Boise State last night. That really got our players' attention. Plus, Bol Kong had been averaging about 25 (points) a game for them coming in. He's probably the best player on any of the four teams we faced."
The Sooners limited Kong, a wing who is considered an NBA prospect, to 14 points on 5-for-16 shooting. Kong didn't score until 1:49 remained in the first half.
Said Capel, "I thought David Godbold and everyone else who took turns guarding Kong early did a great job of not letting him get any looks."
The majority of the looks on the other end of the court came from inside the paint. Longar did almost all of his damage in the first half while Griffin was in foul trouble. Longar, who like Kong is from Sudan, netted 15 of his 16 points before halftime. Griffin was most effective late in the third quarter when he made four field goals in a span of 2:14. He added six more points in the fourth quarter on an array of dunks.
"I just wanted to come out aggressive," said Longar in reference to his fast start. "My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball down low. Coach (Mark) Cline told me a couple of times to get into my move as soon as I caught the ball. That's what I tried to do."
OU's guards were not without their own offensive moments. Cade Davis, Godbold and Omar Leary nailed two 3-pointers each, as did forward Keith Clark. Davis finished with 14 points while Leary finished with six points and three assists.
The Sooners shot .474 for the game while holding the Royals to a .290 figure. OU also forced 20 turnoveres and outrebounded Douglas by a 46-35 margin.
Billy McNutt paced the Royals with 19 points and added nine rebounds.
Oklahoma plays two home exhibition games (Oct. 31 and Nov. 2) before hosting its regular season opener Nov. 8 in the 2K Sports College Classic. For ticket information, contact the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-4668.
ABOUT WHAT WAS EXPECTED
Prior to departing for the border last week, OU head coach Jeff Capel said the trip to Canada would serve as a major benefit to his squad for reasons of extra practices, developing game experience and team chemistry, and having the ability to see his team on film. So was there anything that surprised the second-year OU mentor?
"There were some things that I kind of knew (coming into the trip) that were confirmed (during the trip). I knew the post guys were the strength of our team right now, and they were definitely that here in Canada. I thought Omar Leary did some awfully good things here, even though not all of them will show up on the stat sheet. I thought Cade Davis got some minutes that were invaluable -- the same goes for Tony Neysmith. Obviously, Blake (Griffin) was very good in every single game.
"We feel good about where we are. As far as who we are, that's still a work in progress. We're missing two very key players for us right now (in Tony Crocker and Austin Johnson), and getting them back will only help us get better."
After the game, Capel was asked if his team will participate in another foreign exhibition trip four years from now, the next available opportunity per NCAA rules.
"Definitely," said Capel. "We want to do it every four years. Eventually, as we continue to improve our recruiting efforts and get the program back in order, we want to make these trips during the summer when we can actually have a little more time. This was a great trip for us, but it's also very tiring. We'll get back around 11 tonight and our guys will get up and go to class in the morning. That's easier said than done given what they've been through the last four days.
"I can't be more proud of our group so far. They've done a great job with the practices and how they've handled most of the things we've gone through here in Canada. We're excited about that, we're excited about the season, we're excited about getting home and getting some rest. We're excited about everything that's coming up."