No. 5 Missouri 88, Oklahoma St. 70

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 08, 2012
Kim English scored 27 points and led a 26-5 first-half run, and No. 5 Missouri swamped short-handed Oklahoma State 88-70 on Thursday night in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Marcus Denmon added 24 points, and Phil Pressey had 12 assists, one short of Missouri's school record. The Tigers also outrebounded the Cowboys 40-20. The Tigers (28-4), who set a school record with 27 regular-season victories, played much of the game as though they have something to prove while heading out the door for the Southeastern Conference- a move that has earned the animosity of many soon-to-be former Big 12 peers. In the semifinals Friday, they will play the winner of the Texas-Iowa State game with many fans hoping for a championship game showdown Saturday with archrival and third-ranked Kansas. English had 21 of his points in the rapid-fire first half, which ended with Missouri on top 49-24. Denmon, a two-time All-Big 12 guard, had 17 in the second half. Keiton Page had 22 points for Oklahoma State, and Brian Williams had 21. It was 6-all when English drilled a long 3-pointer and set the rout in motion as the Tigers overwhelmed one of the four teams that beat them in the regular season. English had 10 points in a 15-0 spree to stake the Tigers to a 21-6 lead. With 3:08 left in the half, English had 21 points and had personally outscored the Cowboys, who trailed 41-17 after English grabbed Matt Pressey's pass and dropped it through the net for his ninth field goal. Phil Pressey at that point had eight assists and five steals in just 6 minutes. Denmon, a two-time All-Big 12 guard, scored 13 straight points for the Tigers in the second half, getting a three-point play and then knocking in 3-point shots on each of the next two possessions to make it 70-41. After Cezar Guerrero scored for the outclassed Cowboys, Denmon soared high to flush down a teammate's miss and then, after an Oklahoma State miss, made it 74-43 with his ninth basket. But then Page, the Cowboys' career 3-point leader, hit two 3s and ignited a 17-3 counter punch by the Cowboys. Another 3-pointer from Page was followed by baskets from Marek Soucek and Guerrero, slicing it to 77-60 and prompting Missouri to call a timeout with 6:11 to go. Soucek's basket cut it to 77-62 before Ricardo Ratliffe scored inside and English added two free throws and a basket for an 83-62 bulge. Thousands of fans, even some dressed in Kansas blue and Missouri gold, gave Page a standing ovation when he was removed from the game with 48 seconds to go. Oklahoma State (15-18) beat Missouri 79-72 in the regular season, getting 27 points from L'Bryan Nash. But Nash is out for the year with a broken hand, joining injured post-man Philip Jurick on the sideline. By the end of the lopsided first half, Tigers fans were just leaning back and laughing. Andrew Jones, a tight end attending school on a football scholarship, drew a roar when he sank a free throw to make it 45-18. The 6-foot-5 senior had scored only four points all year after answering coach Frank Haith's call for a big body to bang around and lend depth to a thin front line. Jones added another free throw with 40 seconds left. Michael Dixon had 13 points for Missouri, which shot 66.7 percent in the first half and 59 percent for the game.
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