Sooners top UAB 77-67, reach NIT Tip-Off final
BY Staff Reports
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
11/26/08 at 10:51 PM
NEW YORK -- Blake Griffin scored 32 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, his fifth double-double in as many games this season, to lead No. 11 Oklahoma past UAB 77-67 in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals Wednesday night.
The 5-0 Sooners moved into the tournament championship against No. 10 Purdue Friday at approximately 2:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. The 4-1 Blazers, led by Paul Delaney’s 20 points and Robert Vaden’s 18, will play Boston College in the consolation.
Griffin was a one-man gang for a good portion of Wednesday’s semifinal. At one point between the late stages of the first half and the early ones of the second, he scored 18 of OU’s 26 points. He scored six in a row to pull OU back from a 34-23 deficit and make it 34-29 at halftime.
Then he finally got some help, namely from Cade Davis. The sophomore guard came off the bench to hit four second-half 3-pointers. Two of them gave OU leads of 52-51 and 57-55, and the fourth made it 60-55 with 7:10 remaining.
Vaden responded with five of the seven points in UAB’s 7-0 run, and the Blazers led, 62-60. That’s when OU closed the deal.
Griffin hit two free throws. Taylor Griffin rebounded his brother’s miss and hit two more. The Sooners led, for good as it turned out, 64-62, with 4:36 remaining.
Austin Johnson turned Blake Griffin’s steal into a three-point play to make it 67-62. Then, after Delaney’s basket, Tony Crocker drilled a 3 to make it 70-64.
Johnson hit two more foul shots, Blake Griffin scored on the block, then Griffin hit three more free throws.
OU’s 17-2 run was complete, as was its victory.
UAB guard Armon Bassett, left, draws a charge on Oklahoma's Willie Warren during a semifinal game of the preseason NIT college basketball tournament Wednesday.
OU guard Austin Johnson splits the defense of UAB's Lawrence Kinnard, left, and Paul Delaney on Wednesday in New York.
Oklahoma's Blake Griffin dunks against UAB during the second half Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York.