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Morgan State's Ameer Ali says flip was ‘misunderstanding’

BY MIKE SHERMAN Modified: March 20, 2009 at 10:26 am •  Published: March 20, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you haven’t seen the Morgan State player’s judo flip of Blake Griffin by now, watching NCAA Tournament highlights and you will. If there was a memorable moment in Oklahoma’s 82-54 rout of Morgan State, this was it.

But to Ameer Ali, the play that sent the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Griffin flying over Ali’s shoulders and onto the court was all just a "misunderstanding.”

"I think it looked a bit worse than what it was,” said Ali, who was ejected for the flagrant foul.

Ali, a 6-4 reserve forward, spent 13 mostly uneventful minutes on the court Thursday night.

By fronting Griffin, staying in his face with both arms raised high, he twice slapped the ball away from the OU center early in the second half. Once he caught Griffin in the face, though no foul was called. At the 14-minute mark, he harassed Griffin into consecutive turnovers.

But when Morgan State’s Jermaine Bolden missed a jumper and OU’s Omar Leary rebounded with 7:41 to play, Ali and Griffin tangled for the last time.