Oklahoma’s 2020 college basketball season came to an unceremonious and premature end when the NCAA declared this year’s tournament would not be played due to measures intended to stop the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Sooners just might have assembled the kind of team — a Big Three scoring triumvirate and a collection of young, athletic talent — that could have possibly made a good postseason run.
This team’s resume will always be incomplete.
Instead of using three weeks this spring to witness OU basketball history, SI Sooners will relive it. From now until April 4 — the date that was supposed to be this year’s Final Four semifinals — we’ll look back on Oklahoma’s most memorable NCAA Tournament games from that date in history.
MARCH 19, 2009
(2) OU 82, (15) UAB 54
Ameer Ali nearly ended the Sooners’ postseason run before it could get going.
Tangling for a rebound with OU star Blake Griffin, Ali got the leverage he needed to flip Griffin over his back and hard onto the Kansas City floor — and then promptly got himself ejected from the game.
“I got tangled up. It turned out bad,” Griffin said later. Anything lingering? “My tailbone a little bit. My back is all right.”
The indomitable Griffin, who had suffered a concussion earlier in the season by an inadvertent Texas elbow to the jaw, was nonplussed by the whole thing, finishing the No. 2-seed Sooners’ opener of the South Regional with 28 points and 13 rebounds in an 82-54 victory.
It was Morgan State’s first NCAA Tournament appearance, and it wasn’t a good debut.
Griffin, the unanimous Big 12 player of the year, extended his school record with his 27th double double. He made 11-of-12 field goal attempts as OU improved to 28-5.
It was 60-44 with 7:41 to play when Ali flipped Griffin.
Just like the below-the-belt elbow Griffin took from USC in December and the elbow to the face he absorbed at Texas in February, Griffin coolly walked away.
“I don't want to have to sit out a game for doing something stupid in retaliation,” Griffin said. “The best thing to do is just to walk away.”
Big 12 freshman of the year Willie Warren scored 16 points and Taylor Griffin, Blake's big brother, had 18 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Reggie Holmes led Morgan State with 14 points.