Hogs Frustrate Griffin

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Stefan Welsh said the Razorbacks' method of guarding Oklahoma All-American forward Blake Griffin was obvious Tuesday.

"We wanted to make a conscious effort that every time he takes a dribble, we wanted to dig," Welsh said. "We wanted to make all his shots tough. We wanted to make him see a whole lot of hands."

The Razorbacks executed that plan to perfection during the 96-88 win against the fourth-ranked Sooners in Bud Walton Arena. Griffin, who is regarded as one of the top players in the country, was met by big body after big body every time he touched the ball.

It wasn't enough to shut him down. Griffin still finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds on 8 of 15 shooting, but didn't get the bulk of it until the second half. And it wasn't enough to lead Oklahoma to a road win.

"I felt like every time I turned I had somebody coming from the backside," Griffin said.

Griffin didn't take a shot in the game's opening minutes. He didn't get his first points until making two free throws with 8:54 left in the half. He finished the first half with 6 points and 5 rebounds.

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel placed part of the blame on Griffin, who he said was unusually timid at the start.

"For whatever reason he wasn't aggressive from the start," Capel said. "I think he was just anticipating getting double-teamed and it wasn't coming."

The Razorbacks also did their best to put pressure on Griffin on the offensive end of the court.

Starting Michael Washington and Michael Sanchez combined to score 36 points and grab 17 rebounds, while reserve forward Marcus Monk added 12 points and 6 rebounds in his third game.

"We said we were going to take it to him and try to get him in foul trouble and just be physical," Monk said. "Don't shy away from him. That was our plan."

Technical Time

Oklahoma guard Tony Crocker and coach Jeff Capel were each handed technical fouls in the half half.

Crocker earned his for an outburst after he was whistled for his third foul with 6 minutes, 40 seconds left in the half. The technical foul became the fourth personal foul for Crocker, who didn't return until the second half but played an instrumental role in Oklahoma's comeback.

"He was frustrated with the call," Capel said. "We've talked about it before, we have to do a better job of handling our frustration."

Capel got his technical three minutes later after a Michael Washington bucket. He argued that Washington hooked his way around Blake Griffin.

Guard Rotnei Clarke went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line as a result of the technicals.

Who Was That?

If the name Willie Warren sounded familiar to Arkansas fans, there was a good reason.

The Razorbacks heavily recruiting Warren — who scored a career-high 35 points in the Sooners' loss Tuesday — under former coach Stan Heath.

The freshman removed Arkansas from consideration when Heath was fired after the 2006-07 season and eventually signed with the Sooners. And he made the Razorbacks cringe on several occasions Tuesday.

Warren single-handedly kept Oklahoma in the game with his offensive output in the first half Tuesday. He scored 15 of its first 20 points. Warren finished the first half with 20 points, making 8 of his 12 shots.

"They were really focused on Blake in the first half," Warren said. "I was able to make open shots."

Free Throws

Arkansas forward Jason Henry underwent knee surgery Tuesday and coach John Pelphrey said it went "as expected." Henry, who missed his second straight game, is expected to be out about three weeks. ... Arkansas had an obvious advantage at the free-throw line Tuesday. The Razorbacks made 30 of 43 attempts, while Oklahoma was 11 of 22. ... Oklahoma had a familiar face sitting on the sideline. Assistant coach Oronde Talifaferro spent five seasons on Heath's staff. He has been with Capel the past two years.

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