WACO, Texas (AP) – Baylor's first national ranking in 39 years may be short-lived because the 25th-ranked Bears still can't beat Oklahoma.
Freshman standout Blake Griffin made an unexpected return from a sprained left knee with 17 points and 15 rebounds in 22 minutes as Oklahoma beat Baylor 77-71 on Saturday, the Sooners' 27th straight victory over the Bears since 1977.
Baylor (16-3, 4-1 Big 12), coming off a five-overtime thriller over Texas A&M in their first game as a ranked team since 1969, overcame a 16-point second-half deficit against Oklahoma. The Bears went ahead 71-70 with about 2 minutes left when Henry Dugat rebounded a missed 3-pointer and drove the length of the court for a layup.
The Bears didn't score again.
Griffin quickly answered for the Sooners (14-5, 2-2) with a strong inside basket. Then after a Baylor miss, Griffin drove the baseline to make it 74-71.
Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel insisted that he didn't know Griffin would play until only a few minutes before the game when the freshman convinced him that he was OK, despite being limited in practice the previous two days.
After getting hurt early at No. 2 Kansas on Jan. 14, Griffin was supposed to be out up to four weeks. But he missed only one game and was playing 13 days later.
Griffin didn't start, but entered against Baylor 5_ minutes in and had almost an immediate impact. He had a rebound, an assist and a basket in a 10-0 run that put Oklahoma ahead to stay, except for that 10-second span late in the game.
Before Tony Crocker capped the scoring with two free throws with 15 seconds left, Griffin had scored nine straight points for the Sooners.
Austin Johnson had 15 points for Oklahoma, while Longar Longar had 13, Crocker 11 and David Godbold 10.
Curtis Jerrells led Baylor with 17 points while Kevin Rogers had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Dugat and Aaron Bruce both finished with 10 points.
Coming off that 3_-hour marathon at No. 18 Texas A&M on Wednesday night, the Bears understandably looked sluggish at times.
During the 10-0 run by Oklahoma in the first half, the Bears were outrebounded 9-0. Then Baylor missed 10 straight shots at one point after halftime — that letdown coming during the same stretch when Griffin got credited with a basket on a goaltending call that put the Sooners up 57-41.
While Baylor had the quick turnaround from the five-OT game, Oklahoma had a week off since its win at Texas Tech without Griffin. The Bears get a much-needed break before playing at No. 12 Texas next weekend.
Godbold's 3-pointer from the top of the key started the Sooners' go-ahead spurt in the first half, then Baylor failed to convert on consecutive turnovers by Longar. Griffin added a slam dunk, Omar Leary turned a defensive rebound into a breakaway layup and Johnson hit a 3-pointer for a 17-11 lead.
After grabbing an offensive rebound a couple of minutes later and shuffling a pass to older brother Taylor Griffin for a short jumper, Blake clenched his fists and let out a triumphant scream as he walked away.
Griffin had seven rebounds in seven minutes in the first half.