Oklahoma got everything it needed from Austin Reaves and Brady Manek as Elijah Harkless also added 16 points and 10 boards to push the Sooners into the Round of 32 with a 72-68 win over Missouri. The win was just the second in the last six games for OU who limped in the tournament and was without starting guard De’Vion Harmon.
This was just the second time Oklahoma and Missouri have faced each other in the NCAA Tournament and the win extended OU’s current winning streak against S.E.C. schools to seven consecutive games and the Sooners are now 4-0 all-time against the S.E.C. in the Big Dance.
Game Defining Moment
After falling behind by a point in the first twenty minutes of the game the Sooner were able to outpace the Tigers by five points in the second half thanks to a strong finish. After a Dru Smith free throw pulled Missouri to within 57-58 of Oklahoma, Jalen Hill found Brady Manek open for a 3-point shot that immediately pushed Oklahoma’s lead back to four points.
Alondes Williams came up with a steal on Missouri’s next possession that turned into an Elijah Harkless jumper that made it a six point Soooner lead. Thirty six seconds later Austin Reaves sank two free throws to complete a 7-0 Oklahoma run and press Missouri’s back firmly against the wall, trailing by eight points with the two-minute mark quickly approaching.
The Tigers fought their way back to within 68-70 but Hill came down with a massive defensive rebound with two seconds remaining and then went to the free throw line to ice the game.
We’ve become accustomed to Austin Reaves taking over games and making crazy shots in the process but this one right here may be the best one yet. I’d hate to play this kid in a game of H.O.R.S.E..
Alondes With The Throw Down
This needs no words…just appreciation.
The Problem Child
Missouri guard Dru Smith played 39 of the game’s 40 minutes and led the Tigers with 20 points by connecting on 6-of-11 three-point shots.
Brady Manek was strong early and finished the game with 19 points. Harkless was solid throughout with a double-double performance. However, it was Reaves once again who carried the day with a game-high 23 points. After missing two early free throws, Reaves sank 10 straight and was 6-of-16 from the floor and led all players with six assists.
Oklahoma will face the top overall seed in the tournament on Monday when they lace it up against Gonzaga.
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