COLUMBIA — After Missouri fell behind 18-11 against Oklahoma, Missouri freshman guard Ricky Kreklow's response was to just heave the ball up.
With the shot clock winding down to the final seconds, Kreklow held the ball several feet beyond the 3-point arc. With the shot clock buzzer about to go off, an Oklahoma defender came flying at Kreklow, blinding him from the basket. To avoid a shot clock violation, Kreklow heaved the ball up in the air.
It seemed to just magically fall through the hoop.
Kreklow stood on Norm Stewart Court after the game when he answered a shouted question from the media section. “No, I didn’t even see the basket, he was covering my eyes,” Kreklow said.
Kreklow’s 3-pointer sparked a 14-0 Missouri run during which Missouri held Oklahoma scoreless for nearly seven minutes.
“Intentional, unintentional, it went in,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. “That was a big bank shot for him. Maybe that’ll be the shot to give him some confidence.”
After that run, Oklahoma was never able to regain the lead. The Sooners tied the game at 27 points, but Missouri responded with a 10-0 run. Missouri then outscored Oklahoma 47-30 in the second half to defeat the Sooners 84-61.
Before Saturday, Kreklow had struggled in Big 12 Conference play. Kreklow scored only three points in nine Big 12 games leading up to Saturday. He scored one point against Iowa State and two against Texas.
Saturday's shot was also Kreklow’s first 3-pointer of the Big 12 season after 14 prior misses.
Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said that he knew Kreklow had struggled recently, so he told his team that they didn’t need to contest him heavily.
“I know Kreklow hasn’t made a shot in a while and of course it comes against us on a bank,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. “I thought it was luck, to be honest with you. But then after that, him getting to the paint and driving it, that’s lack of us having awareness and guarding him. Sometimes all it takes is one shot, and that’s what happened. Just seeing it go down gave him some confidence.”
Kreklow’s seven points against Oklahoma were part of Missouri’s 42 bench points, compared to Oklahoma's 16.
In its 103-86 loss at Kansas on Monday night, Missouri’s bench only scored 16 points.
“We weren’t really worried about scoring too much,” said sophomore guard Michael Dixon Jr., who led Missouri with 16 points. “Obviously all the guys on the bench can put the ball in the hole. We just keep working on it and the intensity and energy. As you can see today, we got some points off our defense. The points come with just playing hard offensively and defensively."
Anderson said that, while he was proud of the effort he got from guys coming off the bench such as Kreklow and Dixon, his players need to work on consistency now.
"Well, I think that’s been typical of our bench all season long," Anderson said. "We’ve had different guys coming off the bench and different starters. When Phil (Pressey) was on the bench he brought that same kind of intensity. So its good to see those other guys really starting to play well. But it’s one game, so let's see if we can get some consistency."
Missouri will next play at home against Texas Tech on Tuesday.