For an uncontrollable situation with 2.5 seconds left on the clock, host Oklahoma's last chance to forge overtime against No. 4 Missouri went about as well as it could — until Steven Pledger's three-point shot refused to go down. Pledger slumped to the ground and put his hands over his face after his potential tying shot clanged off the rim to end the Sooners' 71-68 loss.
Romero Osby was forced to miss a free throw with 2.5 seconds left to set up one last unlikely shot for Oklahoma, and Pledger got the ball when the offensive rebound was tapped back to him on the right wing.
"It was perfect. The play was designed to miss the free throw and get the tip-out, and we actually got the tip-out," said Pledger, who led the Sooners with 22 points. "It was on line. It felt good when it left my hand. It didn't go in."
Marcus Denmon scored 25 points, and Ricardo Ratliffe added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Missouri, which claimed first place in the Big 12 with the victory. The Tigers (22-2, 9-2 Big 12) had moved into a tie for first with No. 6 Baylor and No. 7 Kansas by beating the archrival Jayhawks on Saturday night.
"We understand that this game was just as important as the last one," Denmon said. "Pretty much, we have a veteran group, and we just wanted to make sure everybody came out and understood how important this game would be for us to play after a big win like the one at home against Kansas."
Oklahoma (13-10, 3-8) still had the ball with a chance to tie with five seconds left after Michael Dixon missed on a drive to the basket. Osby was fouled with 2.5 seconds left and missed both free throws, the second one intentionally.
That completed an uncharacteristic night when Oklahoma missed 14 of 23 free throws, after making 75 percent on the season. Missouri, fifth in the nation at 77 percent, wasn't much better at 10-for-18.
Grant suspends Mitchell
Alabama Coach Anthony Grant has suspended forward Tony Mitchell indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. Grant said Monday the suspension came about because of an accumulation of things and not one incident. He didn't elaborate but said the decision was made after Saturday night's double-overtime win over Mississippi.
It was the first game this season that Mitchell hasn't started. Mitchell is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 13.1 points and 7.0 boards.
Cremins out of gas
Bobby Cremins knew he had nothing left to give his College of Charleston players when he walked away from the game last month. Cremins said Monday he was physically exhausted and advised by his doctor to make drastic changes or risk jeopardizing his long-term health. That's when the popular coach knew he'd have to make one of the most difficult decisions of his career.
"I had nothing. I had no gas. The tank was empty," Cremins said Monday.
So Cremins went on an indefinite medical leave of absence — one that the 64-year-old coach didn't seem ready to end any time soon.
"My energy level is still not where it needs to be, but I'm definitely feeling a lot better," he said.
Eastern Illinois 64, Eastern Kentucky 51: Sydney Mitchell finished with a game-high 23 points, and the host Panthers stayed undefeated in the Ohio Valley Conference with their 13th straight win. Raechele Gray (Shelby Co.) led EKU (11-12, 6-6 OVC) with 13 points.
Morehead State 73, SIU-Edwardsville 70: Courtney Lumpkin had 32 points and five assists as visiting Morehead State snapped a five-game losing streak. Linda Dixon (North Hardin) added 15 points and five assists.