COLUMBIA - Things were in place for an upset.
Coming off a double-overtime win against Iowa State on senior night, with forward DeMarre Carroll’s ankle finally healthy, the Missouri men’s basketball team was facing Oklahoma, a team the Tigers had beaten in four of the last five contests.
Not this season.
The Tigers had an 8-point first half lead but couldn’t slow the Sooners down in the second half, losing 75-64 in the final regular season game of the season on Saturday.
“You talk about tale of two halves,” coach Mike Anderson said in a radio interview after the game. “I told the guys before the game ‘I need a 40-minute, great effort tonight, and if you do that I think you will be the better team.’”
After shooting better than 50 percent from the field and leading 39-37 after one half, Missouri couldn’t hold the momentum, scoring only 25 points in the second half.
Oklahoma scored 38 second-half points and ended up shooting 50 percent for the game.
“I just think we weren’t aggressive like we were in the beginning,” Carroll said. “We got passive.”
Missouri will be seeded either ninth or 10th in next week’s Big 12 Conference Tournament, though it won’t know for sure until Nebraska plays its final game today.
Oklahoma clinched the fourth seed and a first-round bye with the win.
Carroll was the star of the game, scoring 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting and grabbing six rebounds before fouling out with 2:33 left. Forward Leo Lyons continued his recent tear as well, scoring 18 points and getting nine rebounds in the loss.
“I think those guys are, right now, playing better basketball for our basketball team,” Anderson said.
In the past three games, Lyons has averaged 22.7 points and 14 rebounds.
Carroll had been struggling with a high ankle sprain for much of the season, but he returned to form against Baylor last Saturday, scoring 17 points. He scored a career-high 26 points against Iowa State on Wednesday. In the 11 games before playing Baylor, Carroll was averaging only 8.3 points per game.
“I feel better. I think I am getting better and better,” Carroll said. “It’s too bad it’s at the end of the season, but still, it’s getting better and better.”
Carroll and Lyons each made four baskets and scored eight points in the first half, but guard Matt Lawrence lead the team with nine points after he made three 3-pointers in a row midway through the first half. After the third one, Missouri had a 37-29 lead, its biggest of the game.
“After that, I was pretty positive we were going to finish it because we started off so good,” Carroll said. “But we just didn’t finish the game like we were supposed to.”
There are two more games left in the Big 12 regular season, both of which will affect Missouri’s Big 12 Tournament draw. If Nebraska loses at home to Coloradotoday, Missouri moves up to the nine seed.
If Missouri stays No. 10, it will face the No. 7 seed. Right now, Oklahoma State is seventh, but it won’t stay there. The Cowboys play at Texas today. If Oklahoma State wins, Texas A&M will be the seventh seed. If Oklahoma State loses, Texas Tech will move into seventh.
If Missouri moves up to ninth, it will play the eighth seed. If Oklahoma State winstoday, Texas Tech will be seeded eighth. If Oklahoma State loses, it will be seeded eighth.