COLUMBIA, Mo. — Oklahoma's defense had been vastly improved the past month since playing in the 76 Classic Thanksgiving weekend in Anaheim.
The ultimate test would be a Big 12 road opener against Missouri, which leads the nation in field goal percentage.
The Sooners certainly didn't cool off the Tigers off Tuesday night. No. 7 Missouri romped to an 87-49 win in front of a school-out-of-session sellout crowd of 15,021.
“We didn't offer much resistance,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “Missouri is a really good ballclub. Still, I would have liked to have thought we could stand in there and take a few swings. We didn't. Again, credit Missouri but we have a lot of work to do.”
One of only four undefeated teams in the country, Missouri is shooting 52.2 percent for the season.
But against the Sooners, the Tigers were shooting an unconscious 67 percent with a dozen minutes left in the game, having already pushed the lead to 34 points, a lead that grew to 42 points.
“We're tough to guard,” said first-year Missouri coach Frank Haith. “We were playing great inside-out basketball, not turning the ball over. A team like we have you have to pick your poison.
“But it's not often you shoot like that. We were making shots at a really high rate. I don't know that we can play any better than we played tonight.”
Missouri (14-0) dominated from start to finish. The only time the Sooners got close was 20-16 on an Andrew Fitzgerald jumper midway through the first half.
It was a humbling conference start for the Sooners, who had built some momentum against a watered down non-conference schedule.
“This was a tough loss but we'll get better from it,” said point guard Sam Grooms. “Credit Missouri. They played really well. They made a lot of shots. We didn't give it our best effort and didn't play to the level we're capable of. We have to go back to the woodshed and get better.”
Missouri's win was the most lopsided in the series in 210 games dating back to a 66-22 Tigers win in 1922.
“They're very willing passers and have a lot of confidence in one another,” Kruger said. “They seem to be comfortable in their roles. Frank has them playing great. Their confidence is really high. We didn't damage that tonight.”
Missouri led wire to wire, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The Sooners closed to within 20-16 on a Fitzgerald jumper but trailed 43-25 at halftime.
The loss wasn't surprising. It might be one of the most difficult games on the schedule. Few teams, if any, will win at Mizzou Arena. But to be thoroughly dominated from the start was a shock for a team that's talked about being an NCAA Tournament contender.
“I knew it was going to be a tough challenge to come in here but to not offer any more resistance certainly was surprising,” Kruger said. “Our guys have done a pretty good job of battling most of the season. We didn't (battle) tonight...
“There aren't any shortcuts. We have to get back to work. We just weren't very aggressive. They knocked us on our heels and we didn't respond very well.”