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Griffin dominant for OU

Monday, February 16, 2009 | 2:59 p.m. CST; updated 8:30 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin goes to the basket against Texas Tech

Blake Griffin isn't sneaking up on anyone.

Opposing teams know his game inside and out. But even focusing their entire defensive strategy on Griffin, no one can stop the likely player of the year in college basketball.

"That's the thing that I think was the most impressive all year," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. "He's putting up these numbers against double and triple teams. To me that's what makes the numbers stand out a little bit more."

The numbers are impressive. Griffin, who was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the fifth time this season, averages 22.8 points. He leads the nation in rebounding with 14.2 per game.

Griffin's stellar play has earned him plenty of praise from around the conference. Against Texas Tech on Saturday, Griffin had 40 points and 23 rebounds. Afterward, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight had some unique praise for the Oklahoma sophomore.

"Have you ever seen the movie, 'The Terminator'? That's what that kid is like," Knight told The Associated Press. "That kid has no facial expressions. He just plays and it's like every kid out there on him is like Sarah Connor, and he's just going to take his time and kill him."

Capel said Monday he was flattered by Knight's praise of Griffin. Capel added that, for the record, Griffin does change facial expressions sometimes, usually in huddles.

Griffin's climb to the top of college basketball hasn't been as easy as he makes it look.

Griffin is constantly in the gym, working on post moves and shooting with managers. He even comes between classes for extra conditioning. Capel said it is rare in today's game to see an athlete with Griffin's dedication and hard work.

"He's earned the right to have those kinds of games because of the work he's put in," Capel said.

CONTROVERSIAL CLEMENTE: Kansas State point guard Denis Clemente led his team with 26 points Saturday. He also may have cost the Wildcats the game.

After trailing by as many as 16 points early in the game, Kansas surged into the lead early in the second half. With his team trailing 53-51, Clemente lost his cool, elbowing Kansas guard Brady Morningstar and drawing a technical foul.

The play turned the momentum toward the Jayhawks, who went on to win 85-74.

Clemente was involved in another controversial play with under a minute left in the game, when replays showed he slapped Kansas' Tyrel Reed in the head. There was no foul called on the play.

Neither coach wanted to talk about Clemente's actions on Monday.

"I saw it," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I'm not going to comment on it at all."

But when Self was asked about reports that players on his bench had taunted Clemente during the game, the Kansas coach became more animated.

"That flat out pisses me off. That did not occur," Self said. "That does bother me a lot that anybody would say anything like that."

Kansas State coach Frank Martin wouldn't go into detail about possible punishments for Clemente, who apologized to his teammates after the game.

"We're dealing with that right now," Martin said.

APPLAUDING ANDERSON: Coaches from around the conference have taken notice of Mike Anderson's Missouri Tigers.

The Tigers have won nine of their past 10 games and are ranked No. 11 in this week's AP poll.

"You're talking about a team (Missouri) that is playing as well as anyone in our league and maybe as well as anyone in college basketball," Capel said. "DeMarre Carroll is having a great season, not a good season, a great season."

After his team lost to Missouri last Monday on a last-second shot, Self said he thinks the Tigers will be dangerous team in the postseason. He said that Carroll and fellow forward Leo Lyons are tough to matchup with because of their ability to play inside and out.

"They have a very fine ball club that I would think will have a chance to do some serious damage," Self said.

Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, whose team lost to Missouri on Saturday, said Monday that Mizzou Arena has become a difficult place to play. The Tigers have won 17 straight home games.

"It's going to take a special team to go into Missouri and beat them," Sadler said. "They're one of the two or three best teams in this league."


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