- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Zaire Taylor scored a season-high 19 points and Leo Lyons added 12 of his 15 points in the second half as No. 14 Missouri beat Oklahoma State 67-59 to move on to the Big 12 championship game.

It was a clash between two of the nation’s highest-scoring offenses, but it sure didn’t look that way. The teams combined to shoot only 18 percent from 3-point range, making just 10 of 55 long-range shots on the night.

Kim English scored four points in an 8-0 burst that put Missouri ahead midway through the second half, and the Tigers (27-6) pushed the lead to 54-47 when Matt Lawrence connected on a rare 3-pointer from the right corner with 5:21 to play.

The Tigers hung on from there to earn a spot in Saturday’s title game against ninth-seeded Baylor.

James Anderson scored 20 points to lead Oklahoma State (22-11), and Marshall Moses had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The Cowboys, who average the fifth-most 3-pointers in the nation with 9.5 per game, misfired on their first 16 attempts _ but Missouri didn’t fare much better.

The Tigers started out 4-for-28 from 3-point range before Lawrence hit two late to help put the game away. Missouri’s 31 attempted 3s were a season-high.

Taylor carried the load in the first half as Carroll and the rest of the Tigers couldn’t get anything going offensively. Taylor was 4-for-8, while everyone else combined to go 4-for-23 from the field and 0-for-12 from 3-point range.

He hit a 3-pointer just over 2 minutes into the second half to put Missouri up for the first time since it was 4-2, and the Tigers finally created some distance on consecutive baskets by DeMarre Carroll, Will Denmon and English.

Obi Muonelo finally broke Oklahoma State’s 3-point drought when he connected from the right side to cut the deficit to 49-47 with 6:14 remaining, but Lyons answered with a jumper from the right wing before Lawrence came through with the first of his two big shots down the stretch.

Missouri advanced to the Big 12 title game for only the third time, having lost its only two previous appearances in 1997 and 2003.

Muonelo finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Oklahoma State wound up 4-for-24 from 3-point range.

The Cowboys lost Terrel Harris to his third foul less than 9 minutes in, and point guard Byron Eaton hobbled off the floor with 9:32 left before halftime after spraining his left foot. He hopped on his right leg, putting no weight at all on his left foot, as two trainers helped him to the bench.

He was able to return and play all 20 minutes after halftime.

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