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Blake Griffin OK after flip, scores 28 points in NCAA opener

By John Helsley Modified: March 20, 2009 at 1:15 am •  Published: March 20, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Sooners found themselves Thursday night.

Their whole selves.

Among the missing in Oklahoma’s late-season slide — team play. More specifically, team wins.

But in a strong opening to the NCAA Tournament, the No. 2-seeded Sooners revealed a full cast of contributors in a 82-54 romp past No. 15 Morgan State at the Sprint Center.

OU, improving to 28-5, advances to take on No. 10 seed Michigan Saturday at 4:50 p.m. The Wolverines upset Clemson, 62-59.

The only real concern for the Sooners came with 7:41 remaining, when Morgan State’s Ameer Ali hurled Blake Griffin to the floor with a judo flip, resulting in an instant ejection.

Griffin was all right. And the Sooners were more than all right, at least for one night.

While Griffin dominated, scoring 28 points on 11-of-12 shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds, he had plenty of help, which hadn’t been the case of late, when OU was losing four of six to create concern entering the tournament.

Taylor Griffin added 18 points and four steals. Willie Warren had 16 points and four assists. Austin Johnson provided seven points and a game-high five assists. Tony Crocker chipped in four points, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

And those were just the starters. The Sooners got solid bench production, too.

"Everybody played well,” said Taylor Griffin, who hit seven of his shots, making the Griffins a combined 18-of-20 from the floor.