Oklahoma escapes late push from Missouri, 72-68; Tigers NCAA drought extends to 6 games
Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves and Brady Manek proved to be too much for Missouri. Now, the drought is extended another season.
A pair of Dru Smith 3-pointers in the final 1:01, which brought Mizzou within 3 points, were not enough as the Tigers fell 72-68 in a first round NCAA Tournament game on Saturday. In the closing seconds, Mizzou forced Reaves into a turnover, but Drew Buggs was fouled before the Tigers could attempt a 3. Oklahoma moves on to play the winner of Norfolk State-Gonzaga, which was underway.
Reaves had a game-high 23 points, while Manek had 19. Smith added 22 for the Tigers on the strength of 6 3s.
After Mizzou held a one-point lead at halftime, Oklahoma started on a 14-7 to open the second half. But the Tigers answered and re-took the lead with 12:24 remaining thanks to a 12-2 run. But Reaves then went on a personal 8-0 run, including an old-fashioned 3-point play to give the Sooners a 5-point lead with 10:28 to go. Reaves keyed another 7-0 run with 2:15 remaining as the Sooners built an 8-point lead.
A tough blow came when Mizzou star senior Jeremiah Tilmon was whistled for his fourth foul with 4:04 remaining. Tilmon is the only current player to have appeared in an NCAA Tournament game before Saturday: He started in MU’s 2018 first-round loss to Florida State. Tilmon delivered his eighth double-double of the season, and finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Mizzou has now lost its past 6 NCAA Tournament games, including 5 straight first-round defeats as it previously lost in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018. The Tigers are in the midst of their longest gap between NCAA Tournament victories since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985.