NORMAN — Blake Griffin settled into a complementary role through the first half of Tuesday night’s showdown with Davidson. In the second half, Griffin settled for nothing short of dominance.
The Oklahoma sophomore scored 21 of his team-high 25 points in the second half and finished with a career-high 21 rebounds to lift the No. 12-ranked Sooners past No. 21 Davidson 82-78 before a crowd of 9,118 at Lloyd Noble Center. OU advances to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off next week at Madison Square Garden. Griffin was only half the story, with Davidson’s Stephen Curry reminding again of the brilliance he showed in leading the Wildcats to the Elite Eight of last year’s NCAA Tournament. Curry finished with a career-high 44 points — a Lloyd Noble record for an opponent — keeping Davidson in it with a barrage of clutch shots in the second half that helped cut a Sooner lead that reached 21 with 13:09 to play. But it was Griffin’s second-half breakout that made the difference. After attempting just four shots in the first half, Griffin got busy after the break. He scored 10 straight points during a key stretch that saw the Sooners push to the game’s biggest lead, 61-40. And Griffin’s 21 rebounds were the 11th-most ever by a Sooner and the program’s most since Kermit Holmes grabbed 21 against Loyola Marymount in the 1990-91 season. Rebound No. 21 may have been the biggest, as he rose high to grab a miss of a Tony Crocker free throw with 31 seconds left and OU holding a 79-76 lead.