Cowboys Suffer Disappointing Loss To Tigers

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State's NCAA Tournament chances may have taken a direct hit Saturday afternoon when the 18th-ranked Cowboys had a 17-game winning streak inside Gallagher-Iba Arena snapped as the Missouri Tigers captured a 75-64 victory. The Cowboys, now 19-7 after losing four of their last five, must now win three of their last five just to finish 8-8 in Big 12 Conference play.

The Cowboys had won all 14 of their games in Stillwater this season, and had not lost inside Gallagher-Iba Arena in more than a year (Feb. 13, 2006 to Kansas).

In the 14 home victories this season, first-year head coach Sean Sutton's team was averaging 87.6 points and shooting 51 percent from the field while out-rebounding their opponents by four. But Missouri held OSU to 64 points (23 below their season average at home), 40.8 percent field-goal shooting, and the Tigers outrebounded the Cowboys by three (32 to 29).

"That was a tough loss and disappointing. I was really stunned by the way we played," OSU head coach Sean Sutton said. "I feel for our fans to have to sit through that. I told our guys that this was one of the least-inspired performances that I have ever seen one of our teams play in this arena in 17 years."

The Cowboys, who have been slow starters during the recent skid, reversed that trend on Saturday afternoon by scoring the game's first eight points and leading 14-3 after David Mond's basket just four minutes into the game. But the Cowboys could not hold onto the lead, allowing the Tigers to get back into the game with a 12-2 run. The Tigers tied the score 35-35 at halftime, and then outscored the Cowboys 40-29 in the second half.

"We had an opportunity early to put them in a hole when it was 14-3, and we missed some opportunties on the offensive end and were slow getting to some shooters and they got back in it. Then we lost a little bit of our aggressiveness and let their pressure dictate the pace of the game," Sutton said. "We went through periods where we got tentative with the basketball, and we stopped attacking them. Then we had sloppy ballhandling. We emphasized it over and over and over, and that's the thing that is most frustrating... when the message doesn't get across."

OSU's Mario Boggan, the Big 12's second leading scorer (21 points per game), had 16 points and seven rebounds. But he was limited to 12 shots from the field and just three free throws, and that was vital if the Tigers were hoping to win on the road, Anderson said. "That's was probably the difference in the game because he's their go-to guy," the Tiger head coach said.

"This one is really tough. One of our goals this year was not to lose to home," said Cowboy sophomore Kenny Cooper. "Now we're down to one goal - to make the NCAA Tournament. It was hard because we wanted to go undefeated for (seniors) Mario and Dave (Monds)."

The Cowboys will attempt to get back in the win column, and end the spiral which may prevent them from reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year, on Wednesday night. But it won't be easy as they play host to a sixth-ranked Texas A&M team which won by 18 points in College Station on Jan. 20. Tip off for the nationally televised game (ESPN2) is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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