USC Rally Falls Short Against No. 6 Oklahoma
Dec. 4, 2008
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Blake Griffin scored 11 of his 25 points in the second half, and No. 6 Oklahoma staved off a rally by Southern California for a 73-72 victory Thursday night.
Griffin, a preseason All-America forward, had to come out of the game briefly after getting elbowed below the waist by USC's Leonard Washington with 13:54 left. He was able to return and help the Sooners (7-0) keep the Trojans at bay.
USC (5-3) trailed by 11 early in the second half and got within one point three times, but Oklahoma had an answer every time.
Austin Johnson had 17 points and Griffin's older brother, Taylor, scored 10 for the Sooners, who committed a season-low eight turnovers.
Dwight Lewis led Southern California with 25 points, Taj Gibson had 12 points and 10 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan scored 10 points.
DeRozan had a final chance at a game-winner, but his desperation heave from beyond halfcourt sailed wide right at the buzzer.
Wayman Tisdale, Oklahoma's all-time leading scorer, got a standing ovation at halftime in his first return to the Lloyd Noble Center since having part of his right leg amputated because of cancer.
Washington was ejected after officials huddled around a replay monitor and saw him elbow Blake Griffin below the waistline as the Trojans prepared to set up their offense.
Griffin missed both free throws before coming out of the game, and that helped the Trojans get back in the game. USC got two quick baskets - the second a two-handed alley-oop jam by DeRozan from Daniel Hackett that cut the deficit to 52-48.
Hackett got the Trojans within 60-59 when he drove the right baseline for a right-handed jam, but then he added another dicey moment with an intentional foul against Blake Griffin on a fast break.
USC was within one again after Hackett faked a drive to the basket and pulled up for a 3-pointer that made it 69-68, and the Trojans had a chance to go ahead but squandered it on a travel by Gibson with 1:55 remaining.
The Griffin brothers combined to go 4-for-4 from the foul line after that, and it was just enough to keep Oklahoma ahead.