Stillwater, Okla Just when Oklahoma State looked like it might make a Bedlam comeback to remember, Oklahoma came back with a 1-2 punch that has been putting just about every opponent down for the count.
Blake Griffin scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half, and Austin Johnson drilled a key three-pointer to protect the Sooners’ lead as No. 4 Oklahoma survived a three-point onslaught and beat the Cowboys, 89-81, on Monday night.
The Cowboys had cut a 14-point deficit to one when Johnson connected from the left wing with less than 7 minutes to play and sent the Sooners (20-1, 6-0 Big 12) on their way to a 6-0 start in Big 12 play for the first time.
“Our guys don’t panic,” Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. “We think we have a team that understands how to win, and guys make plays.”
Johnson finished with a career-high 22 points, and reserve Juan Pattillo added 12 as Oklahoma won its fourth straight Bedlam game for the first time since a streak that ended in 1991. Griffin, the NCAA’s top rebounder at 13.8 per game, had 19 rebounds — one more than Oklahoma State — for his 17th double-double of the season.
“When he’s in the game, he’s just great for us rebounding,” Johnson said. “We know that he’ll get almost every rebound if he’s down under the goal. He just does a tremendous job for us night in and night out.”
Byron Eaton scored 20 points to lead Oklahoma State (13-6, 2-3) in first-year coach Travis Ford’s Bedlam debut. Obi Muonelo, James Anderson and Keiton Page all added 15 points.
“There were some things they did tonight that really we just didn’t have an answer to it. We tried everything that we could do,” Ford said.
The Cowboys used their pressing defense to harass Oklahoma into a season-high 23 turnovers, but fell behind with an uncharacteristically slow start from long range combined with a spate of foul trouble.
Anderson, the Cowboys’ leading scorer, headed to the bench after picking up two fouls in the first 68 seconds of the second half. When Marshall Moses was called for a foul moments later as Griffin backed into him, Ford turned and threw his coat toward the bench.
It was the fourth of five fouls called against the Cowboys in the first two minutes after halftime.
Oklahoma responded by scoring the next seven points to go up 46-32.