STILLWATER, Okla. -- Keiton Page tried to explain to his
Oklahoma State teammates the sensation of fans rushing the
Gallagher-Iba Arena court to celebrate a big upset.
With freshman swingman Le'Bryan Nash flashing the brilliance
that made him a McDonald's All-American, they got to experience it
Nash scored a career-high 27 points, Brian Williams added a
career-best 22 and Oklahoma State knocked off No. 2 Missouri 79-72
on Wednesday night, handing the Tigers their second loss of the
"Le'Bryan played at a very high speed tonight, a very high
gear. All of his moves were a little bit more explosive," Cowboys
coach Travis Ford said.
Nash scored 13 points during a 17-4 burst that sent the Cowboys
(10-10, 3-4 Big 12) into the lead in the final 4 minutes and the
Tigers didn't have a response.
Nash hit a jumper and a 3-pointer to get it going, then nailed
another 3 from the left side to give the Cowboys a 65-64 lead with
3:23 to play. He connected on another 29 seconds later and ran to
the opposite end of the court when Missouri (18-2, 5-2) called
timeout to encourage a student section that was already hopping up
and down to bring it on.
When the clock hit zero, the students rushed the court and
huddled around Oklahoma State's players at midcourt.
Earlier in the week, Page fielded questions from his younger
teammates about his experiences from an upset of top-ranked Kansas
two seasons ago, hoping for a similar result.
"A lot of them just wanted to know what it was like for the
students to run on the floor," Page said. "My answer's a lot
different for them. I'm 5-9. They can see, they can breathe when it
Ricardo Ratliffe had 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead Missouri,
which allowed the Cowboys to shoot a season-best 59 percent. They
hadn't surpassed 49 percent against an NCAA opponent all season.
"I thought that our focus was not where it needed to be in
order to win a game like this on the road," Tigers coach Frank
Missouri got steals on three straight possessions to fuel a 10-2
run in the first 5 minutes of the second half, taking a 48-41 lead
when Ratliffe waited out two defenders leaping prematurely to block
his shot at the left block before scoring the basket.
Ratliffe's three-point play off a spinning bucket at the right
block gave the Tigers their largest lead at 53-45 with 14:22 to
play, but it didn't last.
"I expected it to be a hard-fought game," Haith said. "This
is Big 12 basketball. There's good players.
"We didn't do what we needed to do to finish the game out once
we got control of the game."
Nash had a bucket off a baseline inbounds pass and another off a
post-up move against Kim English to get Oklahoma State within
Markel Brown added another energizing play with a right-handed
dunk off an alley-oop but got called for his second technical foul
for getting in Matt Pressey's face and was ejected. Marcus Denmon
hit the two free throws from the technical and Ratliffe added two
more off a third-chance opportunity to push the lead back to 60-53,
but the Cowboys didn't miss a beat.
After Nash's big spurt, Williams had a two-handed dunk in
transition and a three-point play to help preserve the lead down
Nash had scored 21 points four times this season but was coming
off a rough performance when he had only four points and got
himself into foul trouble.
"I was trying to get aggressive in the second half," Nash
said. "I talked to my coaches and they were like, 'Don't try to
let the ball come to you. Go get the ball.'
"Basically, that's what my teammates did. My teammates got me
the ball in good situations and once it started rolling, the shots
Ford credited a renewed commitment from Nash, who stuck around
for extra shots following shootaround instead of joining his
teammates to eat.
"When he's shooting like that, give him the ball every single
time. He was making big plays on the offensive end and the
defensive end," Page said. "If (Nash) keeps playing like that and
we keep playing as a team, we could be a dangerous team in the Big
Denmon finished with 17 points but on 4-for-16 shooting. Phil
Pressey, the Big 12's assists leader, matched his season low with
It continued a rough stretch for Top 25 Missouri teams in
Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Tigers have lost six straight games while
ranked in Stillwater, dating back to 1992, and may not be visiting
again anytime soon with next season's move to the Southeastern
Four of those six losses have come at the hands of unranked
Oklahoma State teams.
Brown provided a boost right from the start with a thunderous
right-handed jam on Oklahoma State's first possession after winning
the tip. He picked up a technical foul 90 seconds into the game
that seemed inconsequential at the time but eventually led to his
OSU made an uncharacteristic 57 percent of its shots while
leading most of the first half. Page's step-back jumper from the
left elbow provided the Cowboys a 37-36 lead at the break.
The first half marked the third-best shooting performance in a
half this season for Oklahoma State, the Big 12's worst shooting
team at 41 percent, only to be outdone by a 62 percent mark after
"It's a huge win for us. It's a big win," Page said. "It just
shows us what we're capable of. It shows us we can play with
anybody. We still have a long ways to go. ... This team's hungry.
This team's hungry for wins."
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