STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)—Missouri and head coach Mike Anderson like to play at a fast pace. But after three days of travel issues due to the nasty weather blanketing the Midwest, the 14th-ranked Tigers didn’t have the energy Wednesday night in a 76-70 loss to Oklahoma State.
Life on the road in the Big 12 Conference isn’t easy either—Missouri (17-6, 3-4 Big 12) lost its fourth straight league contest.
“We got a chance once again to see what life is like on the road in the Big 12,” said Anderson. “Every night you have to show up. We didn’t play the brand of basketball we’ve been playing this year. And you have to credit Oklahoma State because they did a great job of attacking us.
“We aren’t going to make any excuses but at the same time it was a different schedule than we usually have. We flew in (Wednesday) and it seemed like it took us a while to get into any rhythm, especially early on.”
Missouri left Columbia on Monday and didn’t arrive in Stillwater until Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m. (CST) for an 8 p.m. tip-off.
Oklahoma State (15-7, 3-5), in breaking a three-game losing streak, led by as much as 10 in the first half and by 15 with 10 minutes to play in the game. An aggressive game plan against the up-tempo Tigers saw the hosts go to the foul line 43 times, converting 29, and out-rebound their guests, 39-35.
Darrell Williams scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for OSU. But it was Je?an-Paul Olukemi and Keiton Page down the stretch that provided the difference.
Olukemi scored 19 points and converted 12 of 14 from the line, while Page scored 19 points and hit 8 of 9 from the charity stripe.
“We did a good job of attacking their pressure,” said Page, who saw his consecutive free throw streak end at 34. “We really struggled with it last year. We knew that if we took care of the ball we would get to the free throw line.”
After Matt Pressey’s foul shot drew the Tigers to within 73-70 with 43 seconds left, Page knocked down a pair for 75-70. The Tigers’ Kim English missed a 3 and Laurence Bowers couldn’t convert after an offensive rebound. Olukemi hit 1 of 2 from the line with 20 ticks showing and MU could not find a basket.
“When you have the opportunity to step to the line and hit big free throws you have to knock them down,” said Olukemi. “It’s important to do that for the team, especially late in the game because the clock is not moving.”
Pressey and Marcus Denmon each scored 15 points to lead the visitors, who scored 13 points below their Big 12-best 83-point average. Ricardo Ratliffe finished with 13 points.
“Tonight Missouri pressed us and trapped us more than any other team they’ve played this year,” said OSU head coach Travis Ford, whose club hosts Oklahoma on Saturday. “We only turned the ball over 11 times and that was the key. When you only have 11 turnovers against Missouri that means a lot.
“It was a good win for our team. I have a lot of respect for Mike Anderson and this Missouri team.”
“We dug ourselves too much of a hole,” said Anderson. “When we got down 15 or 16 I thought I finally saw the team I’ve seen this year. But it shouldn’t have to come to that. We’ve got some guys facing some adversity and the usual schedule gets thrown off like it did it’s not easy. But we’ll go home and regroup.”