Without star De’Vion Harmon, the Oklahoma Sooners held on to defeat Missouri to advance to the Round of 32.
The Oklahoma Sooners entered the NCAA Tournament at a bit of a disadvantage. Sophomore guard De’Vion Harmon, was ruled out for the first two games of March Madness after he tested positive for COVID-19. Considering he averaged the second-most points per game (12.9) on the team, No. 8 Oklahoma would have their work cut out for them against No. 9 Missouri.
Despite a brief scare, the Sooners defeated the Tigers 72-68 on Saturday to advance to the Round of 32.
Without Harmon, Oklahoma fends off Missouri in Round of 64
Oklahoma and Missouri fought tooth and nail through 40-minutes in a back and forth affair. The Sooners managed to gain a 69-61 lead with a little over a minute remaining, but Missouri senior guard Dru Smith cut into their lead with two clutch three-pointers. But, it just was not enough for Missouri to break out of the first round.
Senior guard Austin Reaves led the way for the Sooners, as he tallied 23 points (6-for-16 from field, 10-for-12 from free throw line), six assists and four rebounds. Senior forward Brady Manek scored 19 points, 15 of which came on five successful three-point attempts.
Smith scored 22 points (6-of-15 from field, four-for-four on free throws), tallied three steals, dished out two assists and grabbed two rebounds for Missouri. Senior forward Jeremiah Tilmon nothced a double-double with 16 points (6-for-11 on field goals, four-for-six from free-throw line) and 12 rebounds.
Oklahoma now faces the winner of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 16 Norfolk State on Monday.
For more NCAA basketball news, analysis, opinion and features, check out more from the FanSided college basketball section to stay on top of the latest action.