DALLAS, Texas – Winning the Big 12 conference tournament is becoming a trend for Oklahoma.
It wasn't prettym as the Sooners nearly blew a 22-point second half lead, but they got the job done and won their third straight conference tournament title with a 49-47 win over Missouri Sunday in Dallas.
"We lost our senior night (in Norman) so this feels good today," said Senior guard Hollis Price, who was named the Tournament's Most Valuable Player after his 14 point performance against Missouri.
Oklahoma appeared to have blown the game open by halftime when they hit five straight 3-pointers to end the first half and give the Sooners a 37-18 lead. The Sooners then extended to the lead to 46-24 with just over 15 minutes to go in the game, but that's when the drought began and the Tigers roared back into the game.
From the 15 minute mark on, Missouri outscored the Sooners 23-3. The Sooners, who only scored 12 points in the second half, missed 14 shots in that stretch and committed seven turnovers. Missouri had two two different opportunities to take the lead but Ricky Clemmons missed a three-pointer with 16 seconds left and Ricky Paulding missed a driving layup in the final seconds.
"You get up 22 points on a team like Missouri and there's a good chance you're not going to be up by 32 points, they're gonna make shots too," said Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "The game is full of peaks and valleys."
"It's real simple; we didn't make shots," Sampson continued. "If the ball goes in we don't have this drought. I don't know how much more open Jabahri Brown could give been or if DeAngelo's wide open jumper from the three-point line goes in we don't have a drought, we just didn't make our shots."
"We just find a way to win every time," Price continued. "We play with our hearts and every time is more exciting, we knew they would make a run and we just had to hit some buckets, which we didn't, but we came up with a last minute stop."
Quannas White, who scored 10 points against the Tigers, joined Price, Paulding, Arthur Johnson and Andre Emmett on the All-Tournament team.
The win was the Sooners' ninth straight in Big 12 Tournament play. Oklahoma is the only Big 12 school to win both the football and basketball conference title in the same academic year.
Oklahoma will begin their run for a second straight Final Four on Thursday, when they host South Carolina State in Oklahoma City. The Sooners are the No. 1 seed in the East Region.
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