Tigers Knock Off Sooners, 73-64
March 5, 2009
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)--Three days earlier, Missouri was awful. At home, the 15th-ranked Tigers achieved perfection.
DeMarre Carroll had 15 points and 10 rebounds, helping Missouri wind up an unbeaten season at home and grab a share of second place in the Big 12 with a 73-64 victory over No. 4 Oklahoma on Wednesday night.
"Perfect, that's a good word," said Carroll, who is also coach Mike Anderson's nephew. "It's one of those things you dream about. To finish it off like this, it's amazing."
Leo Lyons added 15 points and J.T. Tiller had 13 for Missouri (25-5, 12-3), which went 18-0 at home after regaining its footing from a 25-point spanking at Kansas on Sunday. Missouri fans typically find their seats after the school's first basket, but most in a raucous sellout crowd of 15,061 on senior night remained on its feet throughout.
Anderson said Missouri's pressure tactics wore out the Sooners.
"It was big. You saw it," he said. "At one point they just stopped playing and no one called time out."
The only concern for Carroll was handling with the emotion of the pregame ceremonies that left him and fellow senior Matt Lawrence in tears.
"Me, personally, I knew once I hit the locker room I was ready," Carroll said. "I wanted those emotions to fire me up so I'm not going to lose at home."
Blake Griffin had 16 points and 21 rebounds, his nation-leading 24th double-double of the season, for Oklahoma (26-4, 12-3), which has lost three of four. Taylor Griffin added 14 points and eight rebounds, while the rest of the Sooners were a combined 12-for-40.
"We'll be all right," Blake Griffin said. "This isn't the end of the world. This isn't going to make or break our season."
Missouri, which has won eight of nine overall, closes the regular season at Texas A&M on Saturday. Oklahoma, which has lost six of seven to Missouri, finishes at home on Saturday against Oklahoma State.
Griffin, who missed 1 1/2 games with a concussion, hurt the Sooners' chances for a comeback with three straight missed free throws in the second half. He finished 2-for-7 from the line and Oklahoma was 5-for-13 from there in the last 20 minutes.
Griffin, who committed a team-worst six turnovers, was impressed with Missouri, although he added he would like a rematch in the Big 12 tournament where both schools have first-round byes.
"Basically, they executed a lot better than us," Griffin said. "They're all over the floor and they do a great job of running to passing lanes, getting steals and pressuring."
The Sooners committed 22 turnovers, one off their season worst, and their point total was a season low.
"One of the things we talked about was not turning the ball over and not allowing them to speed us up," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "We didn't do a good job of either one of those."
Missouri beat a top five team for the first time since defeating the Sooners 67-52 on Feb. 26, 2003, at the old Hearnes Center. Missouri led by as many as 15 points in the second half, and protected a lead that had been whittled to seven in the final 3 minutes.
Blake Griffin nearly had a double-double by halftime with 11 points and nine rebounds, but Missouri had a 39-28 lead behind a balanced attack and 6-for-14 3-point shooting. Carroll had nine points and seven rebounds and Missouri got an unexpected contribution from reserve Justin Safford, who hit his first two 3-pointers and had six points, doubling his scoring total from the previous five games.
Missouri's start was a big switch from three days earlier when they came out tight, blew several layups and were down 45-19 and out of it by halftime at Kansas.