Griffins lead Oklahoma to 64-61 victory in heated Bedlam rivalry
NORMAN, Okla. (AP)—Blake Griffin converted the go-ahead three-point play in the final minute and Oklahoma hit its free throws down the stretch to edge Oklahoma State 64-61 in a heated Bedlam rivalry game Monday night.
Griffin put the Sooners ahead with an acrobatic putback off David Godbold’s missed 3-point attempt with 54.5 seconds left. Reaching behind his head, Griffin tipped the ball to himself and then banked it off the backboard before stepping to the line for a free throw that made it 60-57.
Griffin and Tony Crocker each added two foul shots to answer Oklahoma State’s free throws at the opposite end, and Byron Eaton’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark to prevent the Cowboys from tying the game.
Taylor Griffin, Blake’s older brother, had a career-high 20 points to lead Oklahoma (15-5, 3-2 Big 12) while Blake Griffin added 15 points and Austin Johnson scored 10.
Obi Muonelo scored a career-best 25 points, including 17 in a spectacular first half, to lead Oklahoma State (10-10, 1-5) while Eaton had 18 points. The Cowboys have lost five in a row for the first time since a six-game skid in January 1987.
For the first time since the 1999 Big 12 Conference tournament, neither basketball team entered Bedlam ranked. But the rivalry didn’t need rankings to make it interesting.
The heat got cranked up just after halftime, when Oklahoma State’s Martavius Adams was called for an intentional foul for grabbing Taylor Griffin around the neck and slamming him to the floor.
Taylor Griffin came up with a loose ball on the Cowboys’ next possession, and went the length of the floor for a two-handed jam before linking his hands at the thumb and flapping his hands to mimic the gesture Oklahoma State’s Marcus Dove flashes after a dunk.
Including the dunk, the Sooners scored the first nine points of the second half during a 13-2 run and took a 40-34 lead on Crocker’s 3-pointer.
James Anderson moved Oklahoma State within 44-43 when he dunked Terrel Harris’ alley-oop pass with 11:34 remaining, and the Sooners kept the Cowboys in it by missing five free throws during a scoreless stretch that lasted 4 1/2 minutes.
The Sooners, who struggled from the free-throw line all night, finally put together four straight makes during a six-point push that extended their lead to 53-45 with 4:43 remaining. But the misses—13 in all—added up and Oklahoma State rallied to tie it at 57-57 on Muonelo’s 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:25 left.
Blake Griffin then got his athletic rebound to give Oklahoma the edge it needed.
It was Muonelo’s sharpshooting that kept Oklahoma State in the game despite a miserable five-possession stretch midway through the first half that allowed the Sooners to take the lead.
The Cowboys had shot-clock violations on back-to-back possessions, had a shot blocked and then committed turnovers on two more trips as Oklahoma scored nine straight points to move ahead 16-13.
Then Muonelo started hitting again—a 3-pointer from the left wing, a runner in the lane, and a pair of free throws before finishing the half in spectacular fashion. After Omar Leary’s missed 3-pointer, Muonelo got the ball in transition, nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key and then bounced his way off the court and up a tunnel screaming “Come on!” and looking toward the crowd.
And that was only the start of the show.