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Nash leads OSU to upset of No. 2 Missouri

Jan 26, 2012 - 7:12 AM Stillwater, OK (Sports Network) - Le'Bryan Nash kept rising up and firing from beyond the arc, and as each shot went down, the anticipation of an upset grew larger at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Nash hit three treys and scored 13 points during a late, game-changing 17-4 run as Oklahoma State shocked No. 2 Missouri, 79-72.

The freshman swingman Nash finished with a career-high 27 points while Brian Williams added 22 points for the Cowboys (10-10, 3-4 Big 12), who had lost three in a row coming in. Oklahoma State shot a season-best 59.6 percent from the floor.

"I just tried to get in a aggressive (mode) in the second half, you know," Nash said. "I talked to my coaches and they said 'You need to get more aggressive. Don't try to let the ball come to you, go get the ball.' My teammates got me the ball in good situations. Once it started rolling, the shots started falling, and we got better."

Ricardo Ratliffe had a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Tigers (18-2, 5-2), who were coming off an emotional high with an 89-88 victory over then No. 3 Baylor on Saturday. Missouri had its four-game winning streak snapped.

"We allowed Oklahoma State to dictate the tempo of the game in how they were running their offense, and I thought too many loose balls. We didn't play the way we normally play, in terms of being active and aggressive and coming after loose balls," Missouri head coach Frank Haith said.

A pair of Ratliffe free throws gave the Tigers a 60-53 lead with 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the game before Nash began the 17-4 surge with a jumper and a three-pointer on consecutive possessions.

After a Phil Pressey layup gave the Tigers a 64-62 advantage with 3:54 to play, Nash nailed back-to-back three-pointers to send Stillwater into complete euphoria.

Nash's trey from the left corner gave the Cowboys their first lead, 65-64, since the opening seconds of the second stanza.

Following a Philip Jurick block of Pressey in the paint, Nash received the ball in transition. Without hesitation, he pulled up from the right wing and nailed another trey, giving the Cowboys a four-point advantage with 2:54 to play.

A bit later, a Pressey turnover resulted in Williams throwing down a two- handed flush for a 72-66 lead with 1:20 remaining.

The flustered Tigers got within four, but didn't get any closer in the final minute as the Oklahoma State students flooded the floor at the final buzzer.

"Tonight was a product of us getting better each and every day. It was a product of our team staying positive and not slumping their shoulders and being negative. They've come to work every day having good, hard practices. After games, they focus on what they did wrong so they can get better, not to be negative. They want to win more than anybody anywhere," Ford said.

Keiton Page nailed a step back jumper from the left elbow at the first-half buzzer to give the Cowboys a 37-36 advantage heading into the locker room.

The Cowboys shot a blistering 57.1 percent in the first 20 minutes, while the Tigers were just 41.2 percent from the field. But Missouri committed only three turnovers and scored 12 points off eight Oklahoma State giveaways.

Missouri found its groove to start the second half, as Ratliffe's layup capped a 12-4 run to give the Tigers a 48-41 lead with 15:40 to play in the game.

Game Notes

Missouri hasn't been this high in the Top 25 rankings this late in the year since the Tigers were ranked first on February 19, 1990...The Tigers still lead the all-time series, 75-41, but moved to 21-29 in Stillwater.