Oklahoma gets past Utah 70-52

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Austin Johnson scored 14 points and No. 5 Oklahoma overcame Blake Griffin's early foul trouble to beat Utah 70-52 on Saturday.

Griffin, who sat much of the first half after picking up two quick fouls, finished with a season-low 11 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma (10-0), which matched its best start since 2003-04. The Sooners have won 68 of their last 70 home nonconference games.

Lawrence Borha and Shaun Green led Utah (5-4) with 12 points each as the Utes dropped their third straight. The Utes, who entered the game shooting 50.4 percent, hit 34 percent from the field, their lowest of mark the season.

When he was on the court, Griffin, who entered averaging 24.4 points and 15.6 rebounds, faced double- and triple-teams and managed only three field goal attempts, missing them all. He did all of his scoring at the free throw line, going 11-for-14.

Griffin had scored at least 18 points in each of the Sooners' first nine games.

Utah trailed 30-21 at halftime and pulled within seven three times in the second half. The Utes were within 60-52 after two free throws by Tyler Kepkay with 3:49 left, but layups by Johnson and Tony Crocker started a game-ending 10-0 run for Oklahoma.

All five starters scored in double figures for Oklahoma, as Willie Warren had 12 points and Taylor Griffin and Tony Crocker added 11 each. The Sooners went 26-of-30 from the line and committed only eight turnovers, while Utah had 10.

Blake Griffin finished with his eighth double-double of the season, but Oklahoma had to survive while he sat on the bench much of the first half.

Griffin picked up two fouls in the first 4 minutes while guarding Utah's 7-foot-2 Luke Nevill. Oklahoma struggled early with its shooting, not making a basket until the 12:39 mark. But the Utes proved unable to take advantage, missing 10 of their first 11 shots. The teams were tied 4-4 7 minutes into the game.

With Griffin out, reserve Ryan Wright carried the load inside, teaming with guards Warren and Crocker to help the Sooners build a lead. Warren had two 3-pointers, Wright went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and Crocker ignited the Lloyd Noble Center crowd with a steal and breakaway dunk as part of a 12-0 run that put Oklahoma up 16-4.

Utah pulled within 17-14 and Griffin re-entered after a 10-minute absence as Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel tried to jump-start the Sooners' offense again. The gamble worked. When Griffin again went to the bench, with 2:52 left in the half, Oklahoma's lead was back to double digits, 28-17.

With Oklahoma up 41-27 with 15:21 left, Utah's Luke Drca tripped Blake Griffin while the Sooners were on a fast break. Warren and Drca jawed, and officials slapped Warren with a technical foul. Drca was called for an intentional foul.

Nevill finished with 10 points and has yet to be held under double figures this season.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Murray Evans Sports Writer


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