No. 2 Sooners Defeat Colorado

Saturday, February 7th 2009, 4:31 pm
By: News On 6

The Associated Press

NORMAN, OK -- Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds for his 20th double-double, Tony Crocker added 24 points with a career-high seven 3-pointers and No. 2 Oklahoma had to scramble late to hold off Colorado 77-72 on Saturday.

The Sooners trailed only once but didn't shake free of the last-place Buffaloes until Griffin followed Crocker's fifth 3-pointer of the game by driving the lane for a right-handed dunk
over two defenders. Griffin's jam gave Oklahoma its first double-digit lead at 56-45 with less than 11 minutes to play.

Colorado rallied back within 73-70 on Cory Higgins' jumper with 12.2 seconds left, but the Sooners (23-1, 9-0 Big 12) sealed it from the foul line for their 12th straight win.

Higgins finished with 20 points to lead the Buffaloes (9-13, 1-7), who lost for the 23rd consecutive time in Norman and the 25th straight time in a Big 12 road game. Austin Dufault and Dwight Thorne II added 13 points apiece, and Nate Tomlinson scored 11.

Griffin hit his first nine shots, the last coming on a right-handed windmill jam after he'd stolen the ball from Austin Eckloff near midcourt. After Colorado called timeout, the Sooners' 6-foot-10 preseason All-American walked into the huddle and told his teammates, "Let's go!" before coach Jeff Capel began talking.

It was still a few more minutes before Oklahoma had some breathing room. Eckloff cut Colorado's deficit to 51-45 with a layup and then had a chance to make it even closer with a 3-pointer after he'd stolen the ball from Griffin.

Crocker followed another defensive stop with his 3-pointer from the left side to help the Sooners start pulling away, and he added another a few possessions later. The Sooners led 65-51 after Taylor Griffin's first 3-pointer of the season with 6:47 to play.

The Sooners seemed to shut it down after that, allowing Higgins a pair of easy baskets in the lane to start the Buffaloes' rally. Higgins had a reverse layup to cap a string of seven straight
Colorado points that sliced the deficit to 70-64 with 1:03 left, and the Sooners missed five of six free throws at one point to let the Buffs get even closer.

Cade Davis and Crocker closed it out by going 2-for-2 on free throws in the closing 12 seconds.

The Buffaloes shot 28-for-55 to become only the third team this season to clear 50 percent against Oklahoma's defense, but the Sooners were an even better 28-for-49 and also held a 33-20 advantage on the boards.

Colorado has never beaten a top 10 team on the road and was seeking its first win at Oklahoma since 1980.