Sooners roll over Mississippi Valley

Blake Griffin overcame a sluggish start to finish with 20 points, 19 rebounds and six steals and Oklahoma beat Mississippi Valley State 94-53 on Monday night in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Oklahoma (2-0) will play No. 21 Davidson (2-0) on Tuesday night in a matchup of preseason All-Americas -- Griffin and the Wildcats' Stephen Curry. Davidson rolled past James Madison 99-64 on Monday.

Griffin, who bypassed the NBA draft and returned to Oklahoma for his sophomore season, went 8-of-9 from the field -- including five dunks -- while posting his 12th career double-double and second of the season.

His 19 rebounds was one better than his previous career high set three nights earlier in a win over American. They were the most by an Oklahoma player since Aaron McGhee had 19 against St. Bonaventure on Dec. 5, 2001. Griffin's six steals doubled his previous career high.

Mississippi Valley State (0-3) was playing its third game in as many states in four nights, all against major conference opponents, for its new coach, former Kentucky standout Sean Woods. The Delta Devils -- an NCAA tournament team last season -- earlier lost by a respectable 16 points to No. 15 Arizona State but managed only nine field goal in a 51-point loss at Washington State.

The Delta Devils' game against Oklahoma fell somewhere in between. While Oklahoma was in control all the way, Mississippi Valley State's sometimes ragged playing style seemed to rub off on the Sooners, keeping the game from becoming too lopsided until the late stages.

Oklahoma led 17-2 11 minutes in even through Griffin hadn't attempted a shot. His first shot, a putback, came with 7:41 left in the first half, but he quickly made up for lost time. Less than two minutes later, freshman guard Willie Warren stole the ball, dribbled behind his back to avoid a defender and passed to Griffin, who dunked.

The Sooners led 35-19 at halftime. Shannon Behling's basket pulled Mississippi Valley State within 35-21 with 17:49 left, but 20 straight points by the Sooners -- capped by another dunk by Griffin -- built their lead to 55-21 by the 13:56 mark.

Warren added 14 points for Oklahoma, which shot 52 percent from the field and had 16 turnovers.

Behling had 16 points for Mississippi Valley State, while Tashan Newsome added 11. The Delta Devils shot 32 percent from the field and committed 25 turnovers.

Mississippi Valley State will play James Madison on Tuesday in a consolation game. The Delta Devils of the Southwestern Athletic Conference still face road games at Montana, Iowa State, Creighton, Kentucky, Houston and Arkansas State before they play their first home game, Dec. 20 against Chattanooga.


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