The Missouri men’s basketball team appeared to be making another comeback Wednesday night in its game at Oklahoma State.
With 10 minutes to play Missouri trailed 61-46, but the Tigers chipped away at the lead, and when Matt Pressey made a free throw with 38 seconds left, Oklahoma State's advantage was just 73-70. But then Missouri guard Michael Dixon Jr. was called for the foul that ended Missouri’s run.
On an inbounds pass, Dixon tried to put pressure on Oklahoma State guard Keiton Page. Dixon was able to prevent Page from getting open to receive the ball. But while standing in Page's way, Dixon swung his left arm across Page’s shoulder. Page yelled to the referees, looking for a foul to be called.
Dixon was called for a foul, sending Page to the free-throw line. Afterwards, Dixon complained to the referees, but it didn't matter. Page walked towards the free-throw line, clapping his hands in approval of the call.
“Mike was a little frustrated,” Matt Pressey said in a telephone interview following the game. “He was just trying to do what coach told him to do, which was pressure up on them. It was just unfortunate that he had that called on him, but that’s what you get on the road."
Page made both free throws to put Oklahoma State up by five points, essentially putting the game out of reach for Missouri, which eventually lost 76-70.
"I think our inexperience showed going down the stretch when you've got to make plays,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said in his postgame radio interview. “We fouled, put them on the line at the wrong time. We've just got to get better at that, especially on the road because they call a lot of the ticky-tack fouls, and that's what got us tonight."
Page went 8-of-9 from the free-throw line en route to tying for a team-high 19 points. But his last two free throws were the most important.
"It's hard on the road and you've just got to find the energy, find the muster to hang around, hang around,” Anderson said. “We thought we had fought our way back in there when we put the pressure on Oklahoma State, but in the end it wasn't enough."
With the loss, Missouri has dropped all four of its Big 12 Conference road games this season. Missouri falls to 17-5 overall and 3-4 in the Big 12.
After Page’s free throws, Missouri had one final possession, but it ended when Missouri guard Phil Pressey had the ball and stumbled while driving to the basket. The ball was knocked loose and Phil Pressey attempted to dive for the ball, but was called for a foul.
After arriving in Stillwater, Okla. just six hours before tipoff because of weather related travel delays, Missouri got off to a slow start against Oklahoma State. The Tigers fell behind early and never held a lead.
"They're not feeling good about themselves right now,” Anderson said. “I told them, you've got to enjoy the victories until midnight, and you've got to suffer with the losses until midnight. Then it's a new day. The sun will come up."