Cowboys Upset No. 14 Tigers

Oklahoma State got exactly what it needed Wednesday night. The Cowboys led from start to finish to end a three-game losing streak – which tied the longest of Travis Ford's coaching career in three years in Stillwater – with a 76-70 victory over No. 14 Missouri at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

It was a much needed win for the Cowboys who would have entered Saturday's Bedlam showdown with a 2-6 record in the Big 12 with a loss. OSU improves to 15-7 overall and 3-5 in conference play, while Missouri falls to 17-5 and 3-4.

The Cowboys were 29 of 43 from the free-throw line (tying for the most attempts this season), and the guard play of Keiton Page, Ray Penn and Jean-Paul Olukemi was outstanding against Missouri's pressure defense.

The Tigers entered the game forcing nearly 19 turnovers per game but the Cowboys had just 11, and Missouri was averaging 21.9 points off those turnovers but only got eight points on Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

"I thought we did a great job of handling their pressure," said Ford. "To only have 11 turnovers for the game was crucial because they really, really pressed us the whole game and trapped us in the half court probably for half the game. They never took off their press and it was probably the most aggressive press I've seen them have all year long, and for us to only have 11 turnovers was key for us.

"When you take care of the basketball it really helps keep them out of their transition as well, which was the other key – they didn't get many layups in transition. Those were the two biggest things for us," Ford continued.

"I thought Ray Penn, he hadn't been playing very well, but I thought he ran our team better than he has in a while. He handled the basketball, he handled their pressure, and I thought our big guys did a good job up around the elbow area and top of the key area of being outlets when they were pressing and when they were trapping us in the half court.

"But I thought Ray Penn and J.P. (Olukemi) and Marshall (Moses) and Darrell did a great job of handling their pressure."

Page and Olukemi led the Cowboys with 19 points each, while Williams (career-high 15 points and 13 rebounds) had his first-double-double since Dec. 21 against Stanford.

"He gave us a great start," Ford said of Williams. "I thought he played with the most energy that he's played with in a very long time and gave us a great spark."

Williams scored the Cowboys first four points of the game and was instrumental in OSU racing out to an 18-8 lead after seven minutes. OSU led 39-31 at halftime and grew the lead to as many as 15 (61-46) with 10 minutes left to play.

But Mizzou fought back to pull within 73-70 with 43 seconds remaining but that's as close as the Tigers would get as they suffered their fourth consecutive Big 12 road loss this season.

"This was a good win for us," said Ford. "We haven't been playing well. That's just a fact. We've been playing hard and we've been competing but we haven't been playing basketball very well.

"Tonight I thought we passed the ball better, we shot the ball better, and we executed the scouting report. Our guys made winning plays tonight."

The Cowboys return to Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday afternoon for the Bedlam showdown with Oklahoma, which defeated Baylor 73-66 on Wednesday for its fourth consecutive win after beginning Big 12 play 0-3. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.


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