From the startEntering the game, only six of 343 Division I teams had used the same starting lineup all season. Oklahoma fell from that group when Ryan Wright started in place of Blake Griffin, who was out with a concussion. During the contest, Griffin was seen plugging his ears when the crowd noise intensified. He also occasionally shielded his eyes from the lights and gently rubbed his temples.
THUNDER STRUCKSeated behind the Kansas bench was Thunder forward/center Nick Collison. "Heck of a game. It was fun to watch," Collison said. It was the first time this season Collison has had a chance to see the Jayhawks in person. He admitted he isn’t familiar with much of the KU roster, except for point guard Sherron Collins and center Cole Aldrich, who were key reserves on last year’s national championship team. "If you’re only going to have two experienced guys coming back, that’s a good place to start — your point guard and your center," Collison said.
WATCHING WILLIEKansas coach Bill Self heavily recruited OU freshman guard Willie Warren and said he wasn’t surprised at his 23-point effort against the Jayhawks. "He’s the best offensive player we’ve recruited since I’ve been at KU," said Self, who is in his sixth season at Kansas. With Griffin out with a concussion, Warren has become more of a go-to guy. "I think that speaks to how well Jeff (Capel) is coaching them," Self said. "Blake’s unselfish. Willie’s unselfish. But I think other guys on that team know that when they need a basket, it’s not just a two-horse race between Blake and Willie. They can go to their other players, too."
PUT IN ONMonday night was another white-out T-Shirt promotion inside Lloyd Noble Center. The few fans who had yet to put on their T-shirts were coaxed into doing so during a timeout when the scoreboard showed OU football coach Bob Stoops putting on his with the words "Put it on."
RUN AWAYIt was a game of huge runs. OU went on a 20-2 run to take a 22-8 lead early. KU countered with a 16-0 run to take a 24-22 lead, which became a 50-16 spurt to lead 58-38. The Sooners answered with a 30-13 run to pull within 71-68, but never got closer. "I think we just did a good job keeping our poise," said Collins, who scored 26 points, with 22 coming after intermission. "We knew they were going to make a run, we just had to counter it."
MONDAY BLUESAs is often the case during Big Monday games, there were plenty of whistles. A whopping 60 fouls were called. The Sooners struggled at 63.3 percent (19 of 30). The Jayhawks made 11 straight during one stretch and hung on to win despite missing eight of their last 15 attempts to finish at 68.3 percent (28 of 41). BY JOHN ROHDE