OU has "Gutsy" Performance

The Sooners limped into Wednesday night's contest without two of their most crucial players, sophomore guard Willie Warren and senior guard Tony Crocker, and they escaped with an 89-84 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones in front of 9,468 at the Lloyd Noble Center.

"[It was a] gutsy performance by our guys," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "You know, we stepped up and did a great job, got off to a great start."

For the second straight game without Warren, a preseason All-American, the Sooners were searching for a leader, and for the second straight game, freshman guard Tommy Mason-Griffin provided the lift, as he finished the night with a career-high 38 points, the most by a Big 12 player this year and tying the most ever for a Sooner point guard that Mookie Blaylock also set against Iowa State back in the 1988-89 season.

"Tommy was incredible," Capel said. "And I had a feeling he was going to play really well. Before the game, as we were in the locker room before we came out, I told our guys we were going to win. And I said, ‘We're going to win,' and I pointed to Tommy. I said, ‘Because he's going to lead us.'"

Mason-Griffin hit the first two shots of the game for OU, both three pointers, as he helped the Sooners gain an early 6-2 advantage.

"Yeah, I really did [think it would be a big night after the first two]," Mason-Griffin said. "I felt like the rhythm was there. But once I hit the second three, I was like, ‘I'm going to need to get going,' so I tried to get into it as quickly as I could."

After that, it was back and forth until the Sooners used a 14-0 run midway through the first half to go up 30-15.

From there, the Sooners cruised to a 48-32 intermission lead, never letting the Cyclones closer than 13 again in the first half despite a mini Iowa State run.

"They made a run there at the end of the half, but we were still able to have a comfortable lead," Capel said.

And it seemed like OU would continue coasting when they still led by 18 at 63-45 with 12:30 remaining.

The Cyclones, though, had other plans.

That's when they made their move, surging on a 22-7 run to close within three points at 70-67 with just more than five minutes left.

"In the second half, I thought we started out well offensively, [but] just defensively we couldn't get stops," Capel said.

Nevertheless, Iowa State couldn't sneak any closer than that, as they cut it to three a trio of times, but a short leaning jumper by junior guard Cade Davis, as well as four critical free throws by Mason-Griffin, prevented Iowa State from ever having a chance to tie it.

Davis added 24 to go along with Mason-Griffin's record setting night.

Junior guard Diante Garrett led the Cyclones with 17 points on a 7-for-10 night.

The Sooners next take the court at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Nebraska.

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