Sooners Fall Apart After Fast Start

The Sooners battled tough for a half, but in the end, the Missouri Tigers were just too much for them to handle in an 84-61 Saturday afternoon loss at Mizzou Arena.

"First of all, congratulations to Missouri," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "They're a really good basketball team. I thought their energy and their fight really got to us in the second half. I thought we did some good things in the first half and had an opportunity to have a lead at halftime, but I don't know who that was out there for us in the second half."

In fact, OU jumped out of the gates to an early seven-point advantage at 18-11, and it appeared the visitors were poised for a competitive outing but a 6:51 scoring drought completely changed the complexion of the game.

While the Sooners failed to score during that stretch from the 12:20 mark to 5:29 remaining in the first half, Mizzou, on the other hand, found a rhythm offensively and surged on a 14-0 spurt.

Later in the half, the Tigers used a 10-0 run to seize a double-digit lead.

OU closed to within six at 37-31 at the end of the first half, but that's as close as it would get the rest of the way.

Mizzou quickly sprinted out to another double-digit lead, netting the first six points of the second half.

"We talked at halftime about transition defense and valuing the ball," Capel said. "Then, on the very first play, they reach out and take the ball from us and get a layup. We come down on the second play, take a quick shot--which I didn't necessarily think was a bad shot--but we take a quick shot, and then don't get back into transition, so right away they have four points right after halftime off of transition and we've turned the ball over."

The Sooners scored the next six to once again trail by only six, but after that, it was all Tigers.

They scored 23 of the game's next 30 points to go up by 22 with about seven minutes left.

Mizzou would maintain that deficit the rest of the way.

OU was out-rebounded 36-31, in large part because Mizzou held its leading rebounder, forward Andrew Fitzgerald, to only two in the contest.

"He played, what, 23 minutes and didn't have a defensive rebound?" Capel said. "How is that even humanly possible? You're in 23 minutes, you're our biggest guy and don't have a defensive rebound. We need everyone rebounding."

The Tigers also outshot OU 47.6 percent to 42.9 percent and committed only seven turnovers to OU's 18.

"I don't know; I don't think so," Capel said when asked if Missouri's fast pace affected the team offensively. "If you looked at the minutes, I think our guys probably less minutes in today's game than they have all year. It could have been part of it because the pace of the game is very different from what we're accustomed to, but that's no excuse."

In reality, Mizzou was just more fluid on both ends of the court.

The loss drops the Sooners to 4-6 in Big 12 play, which places them in a tie with Colorado for eighth in the conference heading into an 8 p.m. Wednesday contest against Nebraska at Lloyd Noble Center.

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