Sooners, Griffin Roll American 83-54

The Oklahoma Sooners opened up their 2008-2009 basketball season with a 83-54 win over American University, a team that won 20 games, a conference championship, and played in the NCAA tournament a year ago.

With Friday night's win Oklahoma has now won 22 out of their last 24 season openers and this one was really never in doubt.

OU and Blake Griffin got off to a fast start in their first game by opening the season on six point run which would only be slowed by a Tony Crocker technical foul.

OU did not look back from there as they would pull out to a huge lead in the first half in large part behind some key three point shots by Cade Davis, who nailed down three three's coming off of the bench to help send the Sooners in to the break with a 47-24 lead.

"I feel good about this win," OU head coach Jeff Capel explained after the game. "We beat a good team. American is a team that is going to win a lot of games. It is the kind of team that you are going to see in the first round of the NCAA tournament."

American, the Patriot League pre-season favorite, suffered its worst loss since 12-5-05, when the Eagles were defeated 75-35 by George Mason.

"Tonight was just an old-fashioned butt-kickin' and Oklahoma beat us about every way you can beat a team," American head coach Jeff Jones said of the 83-54 loss. "They are even more physically imposing than we thought they were."

Griffin played an outstanding game and had already earned his first double-double of the season by collecting 12 points and 11 boards in the first half.

All-in-all Griffin, a pre-season All-American selection, would score 26 points and pile up 18 rebounds, but the most memorable moment for him may have been a three point shot that he drained from the top of the key midway through the second half.

"It felt really good," Griffin said with a smile. "At first I hesitated on the first couple of trips and I passed it off, but coach told me to shoot it. I kinda looked at him (and said) are you sure?"

Friday also marked the anticipated debut of freshman phenom Willie Warren. Warren would struggle from the three-point arc going 0-for-6, but he would end up scoring 10 points with most of them coming in the second half.

"I told him just to keep playing," Coach Capel informed. "I thought he did some good things in the first half. He just couldn't make a shot. He had 9 shots and 6 of them were threes. Willie does not need to be just a three-point shooter."

"We have to do a better job of learning how to play and have better spacing to open scoring opportunities for him."

Up Next: The Sooners will host Mississippi Valley State in the first round of the pre-season NIT on Monday.

Tickets AVAILABLE: OU Ticket Sales

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories