OU basketball notebook: Sooners couldn’t dig out

Oklahoman Modified: March 30, 2009 at 4:44 am •  Published: March 30, 2009
From the outset, the Sooners were fighting from behind.

The Tar Heels bolted to a 13-2 lead and maintained a double-digit edge much of the game, growing the margin to as much as 21 in the second half.

OU made a late run, getting to within 12 at 61-49 with 4:32 to play. But Carolina halted the rally and quickly added back to the bulge.

"It was encouraging in the second half, when were down 21 and we cut it down,” said Taylor Griffin. "That was encouraging.

"They’re an excellent team. It’s hard to come back on a team like that, because they’re going to keep scoring.”

Said OU coach Jeff Capel: "I always thought we could get back in it. We’d been down by a large margin before, against Kansas at home, so our guys kept competing.”

North Carolina coach Roy Williams came away impressed with Sooner star Blake Griffin, who scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, despite much attention from the Tar Heels.

"In person, when you’re sitting on the bench, it even looks more awesome than it does when I’m watching it on TV,” Williams said.

The Sooners’ offensive struggles included too many missed shots and 16 turnovers, including two straight possessions in the first half when they battled the shot clock.

First, Tony Crocker had to fire up a desperation 3-pointer. The next trip, the shot clock expired.

"I do believe in the first half, defensively, we were really good,” Williams said.

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