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UTEP routs Oklahoma at All-College Classic

BY DAVID UBBEN, Staff Writer, dubben@opubco.com Modified: December 22, 2009 at 5:44 am •  Published: December 22, 2009
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Oklahoma men's basketball coach Jeff Capel said if his team didn't quickly improve, Monday's game against Texas El-Paso wouldn't be close.

Late in the first half, with his team down 17, Capel would have preferred not to play the role of prophet.

Oklahoma trimmed the deficit to 10 on several occasions in the second half but never reached single digits in an 89-74 loss to Texas-El Paso at the Ford Center in the opening act of the two-part All-College Classic.

“He warned us,” said freshman point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin, who had a career high with 20 points.

The Sooners reverted back to their Alaskan selves, the site of two-thirds of Oklahoma's three-game losing streak earlier this season. The defensively challenged OU team (8-4) never challenged UTEP defensively. The Sooners allowed the Miners (7-2) to shoot nearly 60 percent from the field and 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from 3-point range.

“We had been better,” Capel said. “You saw some of our immaturity rear its head again in the past couple games and the mindset of guys thinking we can outscore people. When we won games, that wasn't the case.”

The Sooners dominated Arkansas and Arizona earlier in the year with a pair of their best defensive performances all season. Capel praised another solid defensive outing in an overtime win over Utah on Dec. 12. But after a so-so effort Saturday, a win over Northern Colorado, Capel warned that his team was flirting with trouble.

Boxscore: Texas-El Paso 89, Oklahoma 74


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