Missouri men's basketball sneaks past Oklahoma, 71-68

Monday, February 6, 2012 | 8:39 p.m. CST; updated 11:37 p.m. CST, Monday, February 6, 2012
Missouri senior guard Marcus Denmon takes the ball to the basket in front of Oklahoma's Cameron Clark on Monday in the Tigers' 71-68 victory in Norman, Okla.

The Missouri men's basketball team didn't breeze past Oklahoma like it did a little more than a month ago.

With 3.9 seconds on the clock, Oklahoma's Romero Osby stepped to the free-throw line with Missouri holding a 71-68 advantage. Osby missed his first attempt and then ricocheted the ball off the rim and backboard on his second shot. Oklahoma tipped the ball out to Steven Pledger who attempted a 3-point shot that would have tied the game. But it bounced off the rim.

On Jan. 3, Missouri beat Oklahoma 87-49 in Columbia. Monday night in Norman, Okla., Missouri squeaked by with a 71-68 victory over the Sooners.

"It's not easy to win on the road," Missouri head coach Frank Haith said in a radio interview. "We'll take it any way we can get it. It wasn't pretty, but obviously this was a gutsy win for us."

Senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe shot 100 percent from the field, making 6-of-6 field goal attempts. He finished the game with a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

"He was pretty good," Haith said of Ratliffe with a chuckle. "Obviously, he took good shots, and he rebounded the ball, which on a night when we weren't rebounding the ball well, he got 10 boards. We struggled getting loose rebounds, and they did a great job. They're one of the better rebounding teams in our league."

Oklahoma grabbed 31 rebounds compared to Missouri's 18.

The shooting slump Marcus Denmon had been in seems to be a thing of the past. Denmon had a team-high 25 points and added two steals after scoring 29 in Missouri's come-from-behind victory over Kansas on Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The performance Saturday earned him Big 12 Player of the Week honors earlier on Monday.

With less than a minute left in the game, sophomore guard Phil Pressey passed the ball to senior guard Kim English, who swished a 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 71-66.

"Obviously, that was a great find by Phil, but he knows where Kimmie's going to be when he gets in the paint. That's part of our offense," Haith said.

With the victory, Missouri improves to 22-2 overall and 9-2 in Big 12 play to claim the lead in the conference standings a half-game ahead of No. 6 Baylor and No. 7 Kansas.

Oklahoma falls to 13-10 and 3-8 in Big 12 play. 

"This team should be very proud of where we're at. I don't want them feeling bad about a tough road win," Haith said of the Tigers. "It was a great win for us, and I want our guys keeping their heads up, and let's continue to get better."

No. 4 Missouri will face Baylor at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Columbia. The Bears host No. 7 Kansas on Wednesday evening for a chance to pull even with Missouri.

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