DALLAS (Ticker) -- Oklahoma's endured an embarrassing drought at the end of the Big 12 Conference tournament championship. Amazingly, the Sooners survived.
The sixth-ranked Sooners rode Hollis Price's hot first half to overcome their failure to collect a field goal over the final 15 minutes for a 49-47 victory over hard-charging Missouri.
Oklahoma (24-6) won its third straight Big 12 title, matching Kansas' feat of winning the first three. It looked like the Sooners would win going away after tournament MVP Price opened up a 46-24 advantage on a 3-pointer with 15:05 remaining.
"It's real simple - we didn't make shots," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "If the ball goes in, we don't have this drought."
Missouri (21-10), playing its fourth game in as many days, somehow found the energy to mount a comeback. The Tigers outscored the Sooners, 23-2, and pulled within 48-47 on Travon Bryant's 3-pointer with 1:25 remaining.
After Price missed a desperation 3-pointer that just beat the shot clock, Missouri had a chance to take the lead but Ricky Clemons missed a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left. The Sooners' Quannas White came up with a huge hustle play when he knocked the rebound away from the Tigers' Rickey Paulding and Oklahoma came up with the rebound.
"Ricky's crushed right now," Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. "That's a shot he hits all the time."
But Oklahoma left the door open when Ebi Ere missed a 1-and-1 opportunity with 11 seconds to go. Missouri went to a streaking Paulding, who missed a contested runner with four seconds remaining.
"I thought that we stuck together throughout the game," Paulding said. "We had a chance to pull it off in the end and we missed it."
Ere made a free throw to cap the scoring for Oklahoma.
"We just find a way to win every time," Price said. "We play with our hearts and every time is more exciting. We knew they would make a run and we just had to hit some buckets, which we didn't, but we came up with a last-minute stop."
The Sooners received the top seed in the East Region and will face South Carolina State in the first round.
Price scored 11 of his 14 points in a first half dominated by the Sooners. Oklahoma made 7-of-12 shots from beyond the arc in the first half, including three by Price.
Oklahoma never trailed after bolting to a 10-2 lead on Jabahri Brown's dunk nearly four minutes into the contest. Price nailed two 3-pointers to trigger 15 straight points for a 37-16 cushion and the Sooners took a 37-18 lead into halftime.
"The disparity between the two halves is attributable more to the game of basketball," Snyder said. "Oklahoma was on in the first half."
But the Sooners' shooting went south in the second half as they were a dismal 15 percent (3-of-20) and missed their final 13 shots. Oklahoma was 1-of-10 from beyond the arc over the final 20 minutes.
"I didn't go in at halftime and say, 'Let's get conservative and let this team come back,' I really am encouraging my team to make shots," Sampson said. "The game is full of peaks and valleys. In the first half, I don't know if we're that good offensively, but we're not that bad offensively like the second half."
Freshman Jimmy McKinney keyed a 11-0 surge with seven points to pull Missouri within 46-35 with 9:16 left to play. A pair of free throws by Sooners freshman De'Angelo Alexander made it a 13-point lead 27 seconds later but did nothing to halt Oklahoma's dreadful shooting.
Johnson scored five straight points and Paulding hit a jumper to narrow Missouri's deficit to 48-44 with 3:44 left to play. Meanwhile, Oklahoma ran the shot clock down on nearly every possession before forcing up an ill-advised shot.
White scored 10 points and handed out six assists for Oklahoma, which held a 14-0 advantage in bench points. Brown scored eight points and Ere netted six despite playing with a broken bone in his non-shooting left hand.
"We had open looks and we've got to find a way to get those shots in," Price said. "We've got to be more aggressive down the stretch."
Johnson collected 21 points and 11 rebounds and was the only Tiger in double figures. Clemons made just 2-of-11 shots for five points.
Missouri received an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament as a sixth seed in the Midwest Region and will face Southern Illinois in the first round.