The Big 12 again had a favorable showing on Friday. Following Thursday's 3-1 conference record in the NCAA tournament, the Big 12 went 2-1 on Friday.
The best game of the Friday trio was the one in which the league ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, where Georgia Tech defeated Oklahoma St. In what could have been Big 12 Player of the Year James Anderson's final game in college, the Tech D held him to 11 pts on 3-12 shooting.
In the first game of the day for the conference, Missouri came back from an early 9 point deficit to hand Clemson an 8 point loss. That game was followed up by Texas A&M beating another set of Aggies, from Utah State, handily.
See all the scores, recaps and players of the games after The Jump.
Missouri (10) - 86
Clemson (7) - 78
Trevor Booker's stellar career at Clemson ended on a sour note. You can thank "The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" for that.
and Keith Ramsey each scored 20 points, and Missouri's swarming defense lived up to its reputation during an 86-78 victory over Clemson in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday.
Missouri's defense -- small, swift and smart -- played at a high level. It forced 20 turnovers, nabbed 15 steals and stifled Booker for 35 minutes. Everybody who played for Clemson had at least one turnover.
"We scored 86 points but only had nine turnovers. That's efficient basketball," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "We had 15 steals, forced 20 turnovers and they outrebounded us by 15. I thought we imposed our will on a very good Clemson team.
"It ain't the X's and O's. It's who wants it the most. I thought our guys displayed that today."
Ramsey, a junior-college transfer, picked the perfect moment for a memorable game. He finished with a career high in points, grabbed eight rebounds, had four assists with no turnovers, and made three steals in playing a team-high 34 minutes.
More importantly, he helped keep Booker at bay.
Player of the Game: Keith Ramsey, Missouri, 20 pts, 8 reb, 3 assists
Up Next: Missouri vs No. 2 West Virginia
Texas A&M (5) - 69
Utah State (12) - 53
When Texas A&M guard Derrick Roland broke his leg in December, it forced some drastic lineup changes for the Aggies, including freshman Khris Middleton being moved into the starting lineup.
He played OK, then averaged a solid 15 points in three Big 12 tournament games.
But Middleton erupted for a career-high 19 points as fifth-seeded Texas A&M crushed 12th seed Utah State 69-53 Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament's South Regional.
"Going into the game, I was a little nervous," the 6-foot-7 Middleton said. "But as we started, I was less nervous and just played."
Making your first four 3-pointers will do that. Middleton made 7 of 10 shots, including 5 of 6 3-point attempts, in 25 minutes. He came in averaging 7.0 points per game and shooting 29 percent from 3-point range.
Texas A&M (24-9) advanced to the second round for the fifth consecutive year and will face No. 4 seed Purdue on Sunday.
Player of the Game: Khris Middleton, Texas A&M, 19 pts, 4 reb
Up Next: Texas A&M vs No. 4 Purdue
Georgia Tech (10) - 64
Oklahoma St (7) - 59
The Georgia Tech players earned themselves some extra credit the next time coach Paul Hewitt holds one of his little free throw games.
Gani Lawal scored 14 points, Derrick Favors came within a rebound of a double-double and the free throw-challenged Yellow Jackets scored their last 13 points at the line Friday night to hold off seventh-seeded Oklahoma State 64-59 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Yellow Jackets (23-12) didn't make a field goal the last 8:19 of the game. But they finished 24 of 25 from the line -- pretty good numbers for a team that came in shooting less than 65 percent.
"We've had some tough nights this year, but we had a good night tonight," Lawal said. "When we're in the NCAA tournament, it's huge. It's huge. We're practicing all the time. We want to keep playing."
The 10th-seeded Yellow Jackets were the eighth double-digit seed to win a game, and the third to do it Friday. They will now play the winner of UC Santa Barbara-Ohio State on Sunday, and they have to like their chances. With Friday's victory, Georgia Tech improved to 5-0 in NCAA tournament games at the Bradley Center.
Player of the Game: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech, 12 pts, 9 reb
Up Next: Georgia Tech vs No. 2 Ohio State