NCAA Tournament Mizzou basketball edged 72 68 by Oklahoma
INDIANAPOLIS — Missouri men’s basketball needed to buck a trend to keep its season alive in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Oklahoma. Seeded at No. 9 after losing six of its final nine games in the regular season and Southeastern Conference Tournament combined, Missouri showed signs of the woes that made it fall from the top 10 in the country to out of the rankings in three weeks. The Sooners looked to snap out of their recent downturn as well after falling in five of six contests heading into the win-or-go-home battle at Lucas Oil Stadium. Oklahoma found more baskets down the stretch to take down Missouri 72-68. The Tigers end the season 16-10. Missouri loses its fifth straight NCAA Tournament game it what was likely the last appearance in a Tiger uniform for Dru Smith, Mark Smith, Jeremiah Tilmon, Mitchell Smith and Drew Buggs.”It was pretty tough,” Tilmon said. “Especially expecting to win. I wanted to at least make it past the first round. Everybody was out there just going hard and playing. Nobody was expecting to lose. So just got really emotional out there, walking off the court.”The Tigers still haven’t won a March Madness game since a 2010 victory over Clemson. Oklahoma advances to the second round in the West region to face No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga or No. 16 Norfolk State. Oklahoma led by eight points with 1:09 left, but two Dru Smith 3-pointers cut the Sooners’ lead to 70-67 with 46.7 seconds remaining. Missouri decided not to foul on the ensuing possession and stole the ball from Oklahoma star Austin Reaves. The Tigers failed to get a shot up on their next possession, with Buggs being fouled with 2.5 seconds left. Buggs made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second, which Oklahoma’s Jalen Hill rebounded before being immediately fouled. Hill made both free throws on the other end, clinching the game for the Sooners. Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin chose to use a combination of Xavier Pinson and Buggs at point guard, as Pinson made only one of his first six shots. Just once since mid-January has Buggs played more minutes than Pinson, but it happened in the most important game of the season. Buggs played for 22 minutes compared to Pinson’s 18. Pinson didn’t play for the final 5:52 of the game. After the defeat, Pinson posted on Instagram that he was “100% physically healthy, 100% mentally hurt.””I just thought he did a good job executing, getting us into what we were trying to do,” Martin said of the decision to play Buggs more than Pinson. “But also, I thought he did a really good job defending, embracing that challenge. He really stepped up and did a great job, in my opinion.”Early in the second half, the teams traded 12-2 runs. Oklahoma worked a 38-29 advantage before Missouri led 41-40 four minutes later. Missouri didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half, as Oklahoma wasn’t called for a shooting foul and committed only five personals overall — all in the last 5:37 of the half.
All data is taken from the source: http://columbiatribune.com
Article Link: https://www.columbiatribune.com/story/sports/2021/03/20/march-madness-mizzou-basketball-oklahoma-missouri-ou-ncaa-tournament-2021-dru-smith/4698071001/
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