Tigers Edge Sooners, 72-68, Behind Keon Lawrence's Clutch Shooting

MUTIGERS.COM Missouri's Kalen Grimes battles Oklahoma's Taylor Griffin for a loose ball during the first half.
Missouri's Kalen Grimes battles Oklahoma's Taylor Griffin for a loose ball during the first half.

Feb. 20, 2007

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Freshman Keon Lawrence hit the go-ahead basket in the lane with 47 seconds to go and added four insurance free throws in the final 12 seconds, helping Missouri hold off Oklahoma 72-68 on Tuesday night.

Stefhon Hannah had 16 points and Leo Lyons 14 for the Tigers (17-9, 6-7 Big 12), who have won three in a row for the first time in conference play this season and four of five overall. Missouri also got 11 points apiece from Keon and Matt Lawrence.

Michael Neal had 18 points for Oklahoma (15-11, 6-7), which has lost three in a row overall and four straight against Missouri. The Sooners rallied from an 11-point deficit to take the lead in the second half, but never were ahead by more than a point.

Keon Lawrence, Missouri's top recruit this season, had a strong finish after struggling most of the game. He scored nine points in the second half after missing all five of his shots in the first half.

In the previous four games since cracking the starting lineup, Keon Lawrence had been averaging 15 points. Missouri is 4-1 since elevating him and demoting Jason Horton.

Oklahoma lost despite tying its season best for 3-pointers, going 11-for-24, to compensate for overall 40.7 percent accuracy. Neal had four 3-pointers and David Godbold and Austin Johnson had three each.

Nate Carter added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Godbold had 10 points.

Keon Lawrence's turnaround jumper near the free throw line put Missouri ahead 66-64 with 47 seconds left, the 10th lead change of the half. He hit two free throws with 12.6 seconds left for a 70-65 lead, then another pair with 3.3 seconds to go after Johnson's 3-pointer had cut the deficit to two.

Oklahoma is 1-6 in conference play on the road, and 0-9 when trailing at halftime.

Missouri was at a point-a-minute pace for the first 10 minutes, finally getting the offense in gear on a 12-0 run that turned a six-point deficit into a 28-22 lead with 3:36 to go in the half. Hannah and Matt Lawrence hit consecutive 3-pointers in the flurry, and the Tigers went up by as many as 11 on Lyons' dunk on a fast break with 44 seconds left before Oklahoma hit a pair of baskets in the final seven seconds of the half.

Before the late four points, Oklahoma had been limited two a pair of free throws in nearly seven minutes. The Sooners built on the late momentum early in the second half, completing a 16-4 run capped by O'Neal's 3-pointer with about 16 minutes left that put the Sooners ahead 40-39.



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