KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Terrell Everett seems to be in the right place at the right time whenever Oklahoma needs him.
The 6-foot-4 junior had 18 points, seven assists and two steals Friday in leading the Sooners to an 83-79 victory over Missouri in a second-round Big 12 game that could stand as a clinic in the art of shooting free throws.It was the seventh straight victory for the top-seeded Sooners, who have not lost since dropping a 68-65 overtime decision to Missouri on Feb. 12. Everett, who was virtually ignored during all-conference voting, averaged 15 points during the first six games of the streak."If there's anybody playing better in our league right now, I don't know who it is," said Missouri coach Quin Snyder.One who might be is Missouri's Linas Kleiza. The hefty 6-8 junior had 26 points in Missouri's first-round victory over Nebraska and hit a career-high 33, including 17-of-19 free throws, against the Sooners."Kleiza, he is just a hard matchup," said Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson. "He is a tough cover for us. He puts us in a tough position."The eighth-seeded Tigers (16-16) used runs of 12-2 in the first half and 10-1 in the second to keep abreast of the co-champion Sooners (24-6), who will meet Texas Tech in the semifinals on Saturday. The fourth-seeded Red Raiders beat Iowa State 64-56.Missouri hit 33-of-36 free throws, a Big 12 tournament record of 91.7 percent. The Tigers had tied a team record by hitting 23 straight free throws before Kleiza missed the front end of a two-shot foul with 22 seconds left. He made the second, slicing the lead to 80-77.But after David Godbold's free throw for Oklahoma, the Tigers only had time for two more foul shots by Jason Conley.Oklahoma was almost as sharp as Missouri from the foul line, hitting 28-of-33."We played a great game," said Kleiza, who set a tournament record for free throws attempted and made. "It came down to the last play and we couldn't make that play."Drew Lavender had 17 points for Oklahoma and Lawrence McKenzie had 11, including three 3-pointers.Taj Gray converted a nice pass underneath from Everett for a layup and a 77-76 Oklahoma lead with 59 seconds left, and then Missouri's Thomas Gardner dribbled the ball out of bounds.On the inbounds play, Jaison Williams hit a streaking Everett, who raced to the basket for a layup, got fouled and sank the free throw for an 80-76 lead."We were just playing basketball," said Everett. "If I wasn't going to get my shot, I thought someone would help me. I'm just doing whatever it takes to win basketball games."Sampson said the inbounds is called the "X2" in the Sooners' playbook."Missouri was taking away our basket and our kids did a really good job of executing," he said. "Terrell is hard to keep in front of you. He can pass. He can shoot. He can score."Lavender's two free throws gave Oklahoma a 63-55 lead with 7:25 left, but less than three minutes later Kleiza's only 3-pointer capped a 10-1 run and made it 65-64, the Tigers' first lead."For us to come back from that deficit shows us how far this group has come," Snyder said. "Oklahoma made great plays to win the game."Jimmy McKinney had 14 points for Missouri and Gardner had 13.Jason Horton, who was held out of Missouri's regular-season finale for disciplinary reasons, drew a foul under the basket in the first half and then immediately was given a technical foul. Snyder then argued and drew another technical.Lavender sank all four free throws and then Oklahoma's Johnnie Gilbert hit a short jumper for a 23-8 lead.