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Oklahoma basketball: Missouri prevails when Sooners fail at the line

MISSOURI 71, OU 68 -- Fourth-ranked Missouri survives an upset bid due in large part to Oklahoma's poor free throw shooting. The Sooners shoot 39 percent from the line.
BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Modified: February 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm •  Published: February 6, 2012

The Sooners, though, could never draw even or take the lead.

“It wasn’t our best basketball, but on the road in the Big 12, it’s not always going to be pretty,” said Missouri coach Frank Haith. “And it’s never easy. Our guys found a way to grit one out on the road. We executed when we needed to and got stops when we needed to.”

After the Tigers’ emotional win over Kansas on Saturday night, Haith put his players in a hotel to shield them from the celebration in Columbia, Mo.

Addressing the mental challenge of having defeated the Sooners by 38 points in the first meeting a month ago, he reminded his players OU defeated Kansas State in Manhattan, where the Tigers lost by 16 points.

“This was a good road win for us,” Haith said. “We never let them take the lead. That’s a sign of a good team.”

It was a what-could-have-been game for the Sooners (13-10 overall, 3-8 in league play).

“I know it’s frustrating for the players, coaches, fans, everyone to not get the results that we want,” Kruger said. “We’ve just got to continue working.

“I told our guys afterward, ‘Good battle, good work but we have to keep doing things from a habit standpoint to have more good possessions, enough to get over the hump against good basketball teams.’”

Kruger is confident his players will continue to work hard, but it’s frustrating to constantly put in the work and be near the bottom of the Big 12 standings.

“In basketball, you (always) have tomorrow, but by the same token you want to win right now,” Grooms said. “We just have certain plays and mishaps that don’t allow us to do that right now. Like coach always says, ‘When we’re ready to do it, we’ll do it.’ At the end of the day it’s up to us.”

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