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Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2008

Griffin’s return boosts OU

Freshman tallies 17 points, 15 rebounds in unexpected appearance

January 27, 2008

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— Blake Griffin clenched his fists, looked up and let out a loud scream. One of triumph, not pain.

Oklahoma's freshman standout made an unexpected return from a sprained left knee with 17 points and 15 rebounds in 22 minutes and led the Sooners to a 77-71 victory Saturday over No. 25 Baylor, their 27th straight over the Bears since 1977.

Baylor (16-3, 4-1 Big 12) wasn't prepared to face the 6-foot-10 forward who was supposed to be out up to two more weeks because of his injury.

"I guess we made a mistake on that, didn't we," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "We went over personnel, but we really never focused a game plan with him being in there."

After getting hurt early at No. 2 Kansas on Jan. 14, Griffin wasn't expected back for up to four weeks. But he missed only one game and was playing 13 days later.

Griffin sent a text message to coach Jeff Capel early Friday morning saying he would be ready to play, but the freshman's demeanor changed after being limited in practice for the second straight day.

"He couldn't do it as effectively as he needed to. His body language changed," Capel said.

Griffin didn't feel much better during the Saturday morning shootaround, but a few minutes before the game he went to Capel and convinced him that he was OK and ready to play.

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