OU Comes Up Short at Buzzer vs. Mizzou, 71-68

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 06, 2012

(13-10, 3-8)
  1st 2nd F
 Missouri 36 35 71
 Oklahoma 33 35 68
Stats | Notes | Quotes | Photos | HighlightsPostgame

(22-2, 9-2)
 Stat Comparison OU Mizzou
 Points 68 71
 FG Made-Attempted 26-51 27-48
 FG Percentage 51.0% 56.3%
 3P Made/Attempted 7-12 7-21
 3P Percentage 58.3% 33.3%
 FT Made-Attempted 9-23 10-18
 FT Percentage 39.1% 55.6%
 Rebounds 36 22
 Turnovers 16 12
 Individual Leaders
 Stat  Oklahoma  Missouri
 Points  Pledger (22)  Denmon (25)
 Rebounds  Washington (7)  Ratliffe (10)
 Assists  Grooms (10)  Pressey (7)
 Steals  Pledger (2)  English (3)
 Blocks  Clark (1)  2 Players (1)
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 Season Stats | Big 12 Conference | NCAA

By Andrew Gilman

NORMAN, Okla. -- The look was good. Steven Pledger was open for a 22-footer that would have tied the game and, in fact, everything that needed to happen for the Sooners in the final 2.5 seconds, happened.

All except the shot going in.

"It felt good when it left my hand," Pledger said.

But his 3-pointer with no time left, coming after Romero Osby intentionally missed a free throw and after Andrew Fitzgerald tipped it to him, hit the front of the rim, then the backboard, then the floor, and the Sooners left Lloyd Noble Center on the wrong end of a 71-68 game against No. 4 Missouri.

And while it was the final shot that stung, it was the 14 missed free throws that really left a mark. OU was 39 percent from the free throw line for the game, including missing all seven tries in the first half.

Missouri won, but the Sooners really let this one get away. OU missed 14 of its 23 attempts despite making 7-of-12 3-pointers and shooting 51 percent overall for the game.

That was the difference as Oklahoma fell to 13-10 overall and 3-8 in the conference. Missouri improved to 22-2 and 9-2.

"It's hard to explain," coach Lon Kruger said. "We've shot the free throws very well. If you play the game long enough, it will happen. It got a little contagious, perhaps."

Consider it an outbreak. 

Pledger had 22 points, made 5-of-9 3-pointers, but missed 3-of-4 free throws. He came in having made 27-of-28 free throws in Big 12 play.

Sam Grooms was 7-of-9 from the field, had a career-high 17 points, but was only 3-of-7 from the free throw line. Grooms is a 67 percent free throw shooter for the season.

Osby made just 3-of-8 free throws and he is a 74.7 percent shooter from the foul line.

Overall, the Sooners came in as a 75-percent free-throw shooting team.

"A killer," Pledger said of the free throws. "I couldn't understand why I was missing, let alone the rest of the team."

Yet, there the Sooners were rallying from 10 down in the second half to a Missouri team that is in first place in the Big 12 and fresh off a victory over Kansas.

And they did it by outrebounding Missouri 36-22 and overcoming 16 turnovers and an 0-for-1 shooting performance in just 18 minutes from Cameron Clark. OU started the game 6-for-6 from the field and led by as many as six points in the first half (29-23).

Meanwhile, Missouri shot 56 percent and got 25 points from senior guard Marcus Denmon.

Missouri led 71-66 with 57 seconds left, but Fitzgerald made two free throws with 44 seconds remaining. On Missouri's next possession, after running the clock down, guard Michael Dixon missed a layup with five seconds to go. That set up the final sequence.

OU took a timeout with 3.9 seconds left after advancing the ball to halfcourt. After the Sooners inbounded it to Osby, he was immediately fouled with 2.5 seconds left. Osby missed the first free throw, then intentionally missed the second. Fitzgerald tipped it perfectly to Pledger.

"It was perfect," Pledger said. "We got the tip-out and it felt good. It just didn't go in."

"You always have tomorrow," Grooms said. "But we want to win right now. We have certain plays and certain mishaps that don't allow us to do that right now."



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