STILLWATER, Okla. — Freshman swingman Le'Bryan Nash scored a career-high 27 points, Brian Williams added a career-best 22 and Oklahoma State knocked off No. 2 Missouri 79-72 on Wednesday night.
Nash, a McDonald's All-American, scored 13 points during a 17-4 burst that sent the Cowboys into the lead in the final 4 minutes and the Tigers (18-2, 5-2 Big 12) didn't have a response.
Nash hit a jumper and a 3-pointer to get it going, then nailed another 3 from the left side to give the Cowboys (10-10, 3-4) a 65-64 lead with 3:23 to play. He connected on another 29 seconds later and ran to the opposite end of the court when Missouri called timeout to encourage a student section that was already hopping up and down to bring it on.
When the clock hit zero, the students rushed the court and huddled around Oklahoma State's players at midcourt.
Ricardo Ratliffe had 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead Missouri, which allowed OSU to shoot a season-best 59 percent. The Cowboys had not surpassed 49 percent against an NCAA opponent all season.
Missouri got steals on three straight possessions to fuel a 10-2 run in the first 5 minutes of the second half, taking a 48-41 lead when Ratliffe waited out two defenders leaping prematurely to block his shot at the left block before scoring the basket.
Ratliffe's three-point play off a spinning bucket at the right block gave the Tigers their largest lead at 53-45 with 14:22 to play, but the Cowboys weren't done yet.
Nash had a bucket off a baseline inbounds pass and another off a post-up move against Kim English to get Oklahoma State within striking distance.
Markel Brown added another energizing play with a right-handed dunk off an alley-oop but got called for his second technical foul for getting in Matt Pressey's face and was ejected. Marcus Denmon hit the two free throws from the technical and Ratliffe added two more off a third-chance opportunity, but the Cowboys didn't miss a beat.
After Nash's big spurt, Williams had a two-handed dunk in transition and a three-point play to help preserve the lead down the stretch.
It continued a rough stretch for Top 25 Missouri teams in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Tigers have lost six straight games while ranked in Stillwater, dating back to 1992, and may not be visiting again anytime soon with next season's move to the Southeastern Conference.
Four of those six losses have come at the hands of unranked Oklahoma State teams. It was the Cowboys' biggest win since taking down top-ranked Kansas two seasons ago.
Brown provided a boost right from the start with a thunderous right-handed jam on Oklahoma State's first possession after winning the tip. He picked up a technical foul 90 seconds into the game that seemed inconsequential at the time but eventually led to his dismissal.
OSU made an uncharacteristic 57 percent of its shots while leading most of the first half. Keiton Page's step-back jumper from the left elbow provided the Cowboys a 37-36 lead at the break.
The first half marked the third-best shooting performance in a half this season for Oklahoma State, the Big 12's worst shooting team at 41 percent, only to be outdone by a 62 percent mark after halftime.