Memphis too much for OU in Maui opener, 77-65

Michael Neal comes off the bench to score 18 and Taylor Griffin (pictured) added 16, but it wasn't enough against No. 11 Memphis. See inside for a recap and OU head coach Jeff Capel's postgame radio quotes. (AP Photo)

Oklahoma's hopes of a Maui Invitational championship ended Monday with a 77-65 loss to No. 11 Memphis.

The Tigers (2-0), a Sweet 16 team from a year ago, used their size and athletic ability to pressure the Sooners (2-1) into 20 turnovers and just 21-of-60 shooting from the field (35 percent) and just 4-of-15 from 3-point range.

The Sooners actually led 22-21 at the 5:59 mark of the first half after a pair of free throws by Michael Neal, but Memphis closed the half on an 18-10 run to take a 39-32 halftime lead.

Tony Crocker's jumper to begin the second half cut the lead to 39-34, but Memphis immediately responded with an 8-0 run and later led 63-44 with 9:31 left.

Oklahoma would fight back and cut the lead to 69-59 at the 4:36 mark, but wouldn't get any closer.

Neal, who was suspended for OU's first two games for playing in an illegal summer pickup game, came off the bench to lead the Sooners with 18 points. Sophomore Taylor Griffin was the only other Sooner in double figures with 16. He also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

Memphis, who outrebounded Oklahoma 35-29, shot 50 percent from the field (25-for-50) and drained seven timely 3-pointers.

On the bright side, the Sooners were impressive from the free throw line hitting 19 of their 20 attempts.

The Sooners will play Purdue, who lost to Georgia Tech 79-61 on Monday afternoon, at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

OU Memphis Box Score

Below are OU head coach Jeff Capel's postgame radio show quotes.

On the loss

Capel: We didn't attack their pressure. We had a couple times when the lead was nine there late in the second half, and consecutive possessions we turned the ball over. We didn't execute right.

You have to give a lot of credit to Memphis. Their pressure really bothered us. We knew they were going to come after us. They're a good team. They get up and down the floor, they have depth, they're well-coached. They really do a great job of driving the basketball and we didn't contain penetration well tonight.

We knew coming in we had a lot to work on. This game right here just showed us some of the things we need to work on to continue to be a better basketball team. We have to put this behind us and get ready because we're going to play against a really good opponent tomorrow.

On what are some of the good things he'll take away from the game

Capel: I thought Michael Neal came in and played really well. He provided us some leadership and did some good things. I thought Taylor (Griffin) did some good things for us.

I do think that we fought at times. I don't think we fought together, but I do think we fought and did some things. I thought our guys continued to believe even though we got down by a lot.

But also what it shows is we have a lot to work on, and that's something that we've constantly been preaching to our guys as far as experience in this kind of game. We don't have a lot of guys who have experience in this kind of game and we really have to work on that. This provides us with experience.

On what freshmen Keith Clark and Tony Crocker learned about Divsion I basketball today

Capel: This is how it really is when you're playing against really good teams and premiere programs. Memphis is a top 15 team in the country. The speed is different, the players are different. The players are better and more talented. That's what they learned. And, hopefully, they learned they have to work harder as a group to become a team that we want to become.

On if they'll see anyone on their non-conference schedule who will simulate the kind of quickness and athleticism that Memphis has

Capel: Perhaps Villanova. I know they lost a lot, but I know they have some guys returning and some new guys. I would think Alabama would be like that with their length and athleticsm.

I haven't watched those guys at all, but I would think that those two teams would be like that. They're at a level in the SEC and Big East where they'll be able to get really talented players like that who can play that way.

When you have really talented players that play that way then it's really, really tough to defend. That's what makes Memphis so good. They have four guys who can dribble, pass and shoot and create. They just spread you out and do a really good job of sharing the ball.

One of the things you have to give coach Cal (John Calipari) a lot of credit for is that his team is not selfish at all. Those guys share the basketball and do a really good job of that.


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