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November 10, 2008

Sooners strong in second exhibition

The Oklahoma men's basketball team wrapped up the exhibition season Saturday putting on yet another defensive clinic by defeating Cameron University to the tune of 94-39.

The Sooners finished the night shooting 54 percent (37-69) from the field, 33 percent (8-24) from behind the arc and once again were led by the duo of freshman Willie Warren and sophomore Blake Griffin who led Oklahoma with a combined 32 points.

Griffin who finished with 17 total points had 11 at halftime, two points shy of Cameron's team total. Warren on the other hand struggled out of the gates tallying only three points in the first half, but rebounding for 12 points after the intermission and a halftime talk from Griffin.

"He (Blake) said He had games where he was down (last year) and everything didn't go his way, so he just talked to me," Warren said. "He really helped me focus on not worrying what I did in the first half and making sure I came out (in the second half) fresh, like the score was 0-0."

While Warren's addition to the Sooners this season has most fans excited about the offensive numbers that could light up the Lloyd Noble scoreboard, it's been the defense in the first two exhibition games that have Head Coach Jeff Capel excited about his team's potential.

For the second game in a row Oklahoma held its opponent to under 50 total points.

"I thought our defense was better," Capel said after Saturday's win. "I thought our intensity was better throughout the game, we were able to hold them in the second half. (Wednesday) against Panhandle, I thought in the second half we let up defensively. They shot something like 19 percent in the first half and 42 percent in the second half. They went up a little bit today in the second half. They shot 23 percent and I thought we did a pretty good job contesting shots and getting in the passing lane."

Along with stout defensive performances and big outings from its dynamic duo (Griffin/Warren), the Sooners also received a big outing from guard Cade Davis.

One candidate looking to be the Sooners sixth man, Davis made his reputation a year ago as one who never shied away from firing a shot. While the sophomore's ambition is still around, Davis' accuracy has improved greatly. In the two preseason matchups Davis finished with a combined 26 points on 9-15 shooting while hitting 57 percent (9-15) of his shots from behind the arc.

The Sooners open up the regular season this Friday against the American Eagles (insert clothing chain joke here) who won the Patriot League last season. Finishing 21-12 last year the Eagles made it to the 2008 NCAA Tournament but were bounced in the first round by Tennessee.

American is favored to win the Patriot League again as the Eagles bring back senior guard Garrison Carr. The preseason Patriot League Player of the Year was 45.2 percent from behind the arc a season ago, good for 13th best in the country.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

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