Advertisement

Sunday, March 29, 2009

North Carolina leaves Oklahoma behind 72-60

Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin (23) takes down a rebound ahead of North Carolina forward Ed Davis (32) in the first half of the men's NCAA tournament South Regional championship college basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, March 29, 2009. Nearby are Oklahoma's Willie Warren (13) and Taylor Griffin (32) and North Carolina's Danny Green (14).

Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin (23) takes down a rebound ahead of North Carolina forward Ed Davis (32) in the first half of the men's NCAA tournament South Regional championship college basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, March 29, 2009. Nearby are Oklahoma's Willie Warren (13) and Taylor Griffin (32) and North Carolina's Danny Green (14).

Advertisement

Feature

2009 Bracket Challenge

Get yer bracket on! Browse all brackets, check out out KUsports.com staff brackets, and check to see how your bracket's holding up after each match up is complete.

— Blake Griffin might be the nation's best player. North Carolina brushed him aside with a total team effort.

Ty Lawson scored 19 points and Danny Green added 18 to lead the top-seeded Tar Heels to a 72-60 win over Griffin and Oklahoma on Sunday in the South Regional final.

North Carolina (32-4) advanced to the Final Four for the second straight year and will play Villanova in the national semifinals.

Griffin scored 23 points with 16 rebounds for Oklahoma, but the second-seeded Sooners (30-6) went 2-for-19 from 3-point range.

"We fully believed we were going to win this basketball game today, but this is how life is sometimes. It doesn't happen the way you want it," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "I thought the game would've been a lot more interesting if we could've made some shots, but I thought we had some really good looks."

North Carolina reached a record 18th Final Four. UCLA has been to 18, but the Bruins' 1980 appearance was later vacated by the NCAA because of rules violations.

This will be the Tar Heels' ninth Final Four in 19 seasons — and it will be played at Detroit's Ford Field, where they routed Michigan State 98-63 in December. Earlier Sunday, the Spartans also reached the Final Four.

Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina's big man, scored only eight points, but his team still won with ease.

North Carolina led 61-40 before Oklahoma scored nine straight points, including its first 3-pointer after 15 misses to start the game. Lawson made a couple free throws with 4:12 to play to halt that run.

Hansbrough was The Associated Press player of the year in 2008, and Griffin has made an impressive bid for this year's honor. The battle of big men wasn't much of a contest on the stat sheet, but the Tar Heels set the tone by swarming Griffin early with double teams. He didn't score before making two free throws with 8:29 remaining in the first half.

Both teams appeared tight at the start, but the Tar Heels loosened up quickly. Lawson pulled up for a jumper from the free throw line that gave North Carolina a 13-2 lead and forced Oklahoma to take a timeout less than six minutes in.

At first, Griffin was content to pass out of the double teams, and Oklahoma accomplished one of its goals by controlling the pace. North Carolina didn't have many early fast breaks and even tossed up several uncharacteristic air balls.

At the other end, however, the Sooners were stagnant. After a 3-pointer by Green put the Tar Heels ahead 28-16, the shot clock ran out on Oklahoma when Griffin was double teamed and the Sooners didn't react quickly enough.

With his teammates shooting poorly, Griffin became more aggressive, scoring Oklahoma's last seven points of the half, but the Sooners still trailed 32-23 at intermission — their lowest-scoring half of the season. Oklahoma scored all its first-half points from the paint or the foul line.

Green scored 14 points in the first half. Hansbrough picked up two fouls in the first seven minutes and played only nine in the half.

North Carolina made its first six shots of the second half, and the Tar Heels were able to maintain a comfortable lead even as Griffin threw down a powerful, one-handed alley-oop dunk at the other end.

North Carolina eventually went ahead 53-38 on a 3-pointer by Lawson.

"It's not hard to see how talented they are throughout the year. I've always been impressed with them," said Taylor Griffin, who scored four points for the Sooners. "They're as good as advertised, I think."

Comments

Annette Lee 10 years, 9 months ago

Blake made Hansbrough look ordinary! Roy said Hansbrough didn't care as long NC won. How ever it looked like he got frustrated at the end trying to dunk on Blake. I mean doink!!!

Blake Post 10 years, 9 months ago

Hambone always has a retarded look on his face. His mouth is always hanging open. Griffin is a much higher draft pick if he goes. If OU could have hit half of the threes they hit against us, it would have been a much different game... but like many teams, the threes don't fall when it is tight or a pressure game.

RckChalkJeff 10 years, 9 months ago

haha stupid Gonners. Glad they're out. screw griffin, stupid ape head moron. PLEASE go the NBA....dont want to see your big dumb face anymore.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.