Sooners lose another heartbreaker, 71-69

Taj Gray's late foul with 1.8 seconds left leads to Missouri's 71-69 win in Norman. With the loss, the Sooners fall to 0-2 in conference play for just the second season in 12 years under Kelvin Sampson. See inside for box score link. (AP Photo)

Norman — Two Big 12 games. Two heartbreaking losses.

For the second straight game, the Sooners blew a second half lead en route to a 71-69 loss to Missouri Tuesday night in Norman.

With the game tied at 69-69, Missouri forward Marshall Brown was fouled by Taj Gray while attempting a 3-point shot with 1.8 seconds left. Brown, who led the Tigers with a 21 points, then sank two of the three field goals to seal the win.

On Missouri's last possession, Terrell Everett nearly saved the day deflecting a pass at near the top of the key, but the battle for the loose ball ended up in the hands of Tiger who found Brown open in the corner. As Brown elevated for the shot, his right elbow found the face of Gray, and the foul was called.

"We are three points away from being 2-0 in conference play," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson, whose Sooners are 0-2 in conference action for the just the second time during his tenure in Norman. "What this game came down to was that we were 3-for-16 from the 3-point line.

"Missouri did a good job at sagging in and stopping our plays. Marshall Brown was excellent on the boards, which hurt us. We did a lot of good things, but there are always things we can do to improve and get better. Missouri has been on a roll lately and it's a shame we didn't stop it."

The Sooners, who led 33-32 at the half, used a 6-0 run, which included two highlight-reel slams by Gray, to build a 39-32 lead early in the second half. However, the Tigers would come back and eventually tie the game at 58-58 with 5:41 to go.

Oklahoma had their last lead at 65-63 when Kevin Bookout tipped in a missed Austin Johnson 3-pointer.

The Sooners trailed by two points twice in the last minute and six seconds of the game, but Nate Carter and Gray each hit a pair of free throws to tie the game. Gray's free throws tied the game with 35 seconds left, before he fouled Brown, who eventually hit the game-winning free throws 34 seconds later.

Once again, Oklahoma struggled shooting from the perimeter against a zone defense without junior guard Michael Neal.

In all, the Sooners shot a season-low 18.8 percent (3-for-16) from the 3-point line while shooting only 41 percent overall. Missouri shot 46.2 percent from the field.

OU also turned the ball over 14 times, seven of which coming from Everett.

Gray, who took just seven shots in OU's loss at Nebraska on Saturday, led the Sooners with 19 points, while Everett added 11.

Freshman Austin Johnson had a nice effort with 11 points, a career-high six rebounds, three assists and no turnovers.
With the loss, the Sooners, 9-4 overall and 0-2 in Big 12 play. Missouri improves to 2-0 in Big 12 action and 9-4 overall.

"We are really close to putting everything together," said Sampson. "We gave up a late 3-pointer on the road and now a two-point loss at home. The team went 18-for-21 from the foul line, but we are really going to work hard in practice this week to get ready for Texas A&M.

"We have to get our guards healthy and find a way to get the ball inside to Taj (Gray) and Kevin (Bookout)."

Oklahoma will play Texas A&M this Saturday in College Station. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

OU-Missouri Box Score

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