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Updated: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 12:39 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Missouri 93, (6) Oklahoma St 92 (2ot)

COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Missouri seniors Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson may dance again.

Paulding scored a season-high 31 points and Johnson added 29 as Missouri won its fifth straight game, a thrilling 93-92 double overtime victory over sixth-ranked Oklahoma State in a Big 12 Conference matchup.

Missouri (14-10, 8-5 Big 12) has been a major disappointment this season but has caught fire at the right time, putting itself in position to secure an NCAA Tournament bid.

"We've been talking about (stepping it up) the whole year," Johnson said. "That's five in a row for us, now it's starting to pay off and we've just got to keep it going. This is a crucial time of the year."

Johnson sank two free throws with 26 seconds left to give the Tigers a 93-92 lead. The Cowboys went without a timeout, and John Lucas dribbled out the clock with Missouri's Travon Bryant playing agressive defense on him, before launching a 3-pointer from the top of the key that just missed as time expired.

"I'm supposed to hit those shots," Lucas said. "Coach depends on me and I didn't come through for him today."

The Tigers appeared to have the game in hand in regulation, but the Cowboys used an 11-2 run over the final five minutes, tying the contest at 73-73.

"It is really deflating when you have an eight point lead and the ball with three minutes to go in the game," Missouri coach Quinn Snyder said. "For us to be able to come back ... I thought our team showed a lot of character and heart."

At the end of the first overtime, the Tigers were the ones to rally as Thomas Gardner's 3-pointer with 24 seconds left tied the game at 82-82.

Paulding scored 19 points in the first half, helping the Tigers build a 50-39 advantage.

"I think we're really confident right now," Paulding said. "I don't think we're at a place where we're satisfied. I think we're going to learn from this game and really enjoy it. But come practice Thursday, we're going to strap it on and get ready for K-State."

Lucas scored 30 points and Tony Allen added 24 and nine rebounds for the Cowboys (21-3, 11-2), who had an 11-game winning streak stopped.

"This was a tough setting," Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said. "I thought the crowd played the part of sixth man. They were great. Missouri is an outstanding ballclub. If they played like that, they wouldn't have lost the games that they have."


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