MEN'S BB: Sooners Feast on Eagles

Oklahoma enters the Thanksgiving break with a 5-1 record after Wednesday night's 74-42 home win over Morehead State. Despite 20 turnovers, the Sooners dominated nearly every phase of the game as coach Jeff Capel picked up his 100th career win.

NORMAN – Thanksgiving came a day early at Lloyd Noble Center.

Instead of turkey, however, the Oklahoma men's basketball team on Wednesday night feasted on Eagle.

The Eagles of Morehead State, that is.

The Sooners used a dominant second half performance to pull away for a 74-42 victory in front of 4,566 at the LNC.

"I think we are really fortunate to get this win," said OU coach Jeff Capel, who earned his 100th career win. "Morehead State played hard. They keep coming at you; you have to give them credit for that. We're glad to get the win and have a little break."

After an up-and-down first half, the Sooners found themselves only leading by a 36-28 margin at 18:10 of the second stanza.

Longar Longar had just been whistled for a goal-tending moments after he blocked a shot. Though it was MSU on a roll, the two plays seemed to ignite not only Longar and the crowd, but his Sooner teammates as well.

Oklahoma (5-1) answered with a 21-2 run over the next 8:35 to push its lead to 55-30. It was a concerted Sooner effort on both ends of the floor.

"We started to get after them and not let certain guys touch the ball," said sophomore guard Tony Crocker, who finished with 14 points and seven assists. "Once we did that, we kind of disrupted their flow."

Added freshman forward Blake Griffin: "Coach challenged us to come out and play good defense and let the offense come to us. Then we kind of blew it open a little bit."

The Sooners had a considerable size advantage and limited the Eagles to just 12 points in the paint. On the perimeter, it didn't get any better. MSU (1-3) shot just 30.2 percent from the field and was held to 3-of-19 (15.8 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Eagles also coughed it up 20 times.

"You have to credit OU's defense for that," MSU head coach Donnie Tyndall said. "I think they are a physical team and do a nice job defensively."

MSU's two best shooters – Jamyron Steward and John Lamb – were a combined 4-of-18. Another long-range specialist, Maze Stallworth, was 0-for-4 in his 3-point attempts. He finished with 10 points, but was the only Eagle to reach double figures.

"Again, you have to attribute that to OU and their physical presence on the perimeter," Tyndall said. "They have long, athletic guards.

"We had some open looks and just didn't make them."

Oklahoma was much more effective from the field, shooting 51.1 percent (23-of-45) overall, including 8-of-20 (40 percent) from 3-point range.

Crocker was 4-of-6 from downtown. Fellow guard Omar Leary contributed 13 points.

But it was Oklahoma's frontcourt of Griffin and Longar that had MSU worried the most.

They combined to shoot 12-of-16 from the field and pull down 20 rebounds, just six fewer than the entire Eagle team.

Griffin scored game-highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Longar added 10 and eight, respectively.

"I was at LSU for four years and we had Stromile Swift and Jabari Smith. Those are two guys who ended up in the NBA," Tyndall said. "Oklahoma's line of Griffin and Longar remind me a lot of that front line."

The biggest drawback on the night was Oklahoma's 20 turnovers.

"It is ridiculour," Capel said. "No disrespect, we shouldn't have 20 turnovers against anyone, let alone Morehead State."

Capel reminded his team at halftime that Longar was 6-foot-11 and Griffin 6-foot-10.

"'Stop throwing the ball to a 6-5 (Morehead) guy,'" he said, before continuing. "They were just very careless. That is something we have to correct."

Still, Morehead was unable to capitalize, scoring only nine points off OU turnovers. The Sooners, conversely, scored 27 off Eagle miscues.

Oklahoma started the game with a 12-2 run and led 16-4 at the 13:30 mark. MSU kept in the game however, as the Sooner offense went stagnant.

"We got off to a really good start and then it went down after we took some of our starting group out, specifically Blake and Longar," Capel said. "We had no movement on offense and we allowed MSU to gain confidence and get back in the game."

The Sooners pushed their lead to 32-22 by halftime.

Morehead State 22 20 - 42

Oklahoma 32 42 - 74

Morehead State – Stallworth 10, Buchanan 6, Steward 6, Lamb 6, Simmons 6, Faried 3, Harper 3, Coleman 2.

Oklahoma – Blake Griffin 16, Tony Crocker 14, Omar Leary 13, Longar Longar 10, Cade Davis 8, David Godbold 5, Taylor Griffin 4, Austin Johnson 3, Keith Clark 1.

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