Who knew it was possible for a team to outgun Missouri?

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It just one of those nights for No. 2 Missouri.

The Tigers – fresh off a win at Baylor and at their highest in the AP poll since 1989-90 – simply couldn’t contain a hot-shooting team Wednesday night, losing 79-72 at Oklahoma State. Usually that’s what happens to the Tigers’ foes.

Mizzou entered the game with the nation’s most efficient offense, small-ball (it starts three guards and uses 6-6 wing Kim English as a power forward) that blends uncanny shooting (39.3 percent from deep; an eFG% of 58.1) and ball-handling (only three teams take better care of the ball), not to mention a defense with more than a few remnants of Mike Anderson’s tenure still evident in their number of steals.

The Tigers didn’t deviate from their usual style Wednesday; it just didn’t have the same result.

Mizzou (18-2) couldn’t hit from outside (4 of 19), but didn’t attempt any more 3s than normal. It committed 10 turnovers on about 70 possessions, which is standard for them. The Cowboys lost about one in every five possessions, also at Mizzou’s average.

The biggest difference, by far, was how the Cowboys shot. They hit 59.6 percent from the field, which is so far from ordinary for them, it’s shocking. Coach Frank Haith said his team lacked focus to win on the road, which means the players probably overlooked the Cowboys (10-10, 3-4 in the Big 12).

“I expected it to be a hard-fought game,” Haith said. “This is Big 12 basketball. There’s good players. We didn’t do what we needed to do to finish the game out once we got control of the game.”

That would be due to freshmen Brian Williams (22 points) and LeBryan Nash (27). Nash scored 13 points, mostly on 3s, during a 17-4 Oklahoma State run that carried the Cowboys down the stretch. Hard to contain a guy who gets hot. Ask Ohio State.

Also, this tends to excite the home team.

It’d be easy to write off Missouri as a team too dependent on 3s and too small to be a serious contender in March. But if as we’ve seen this season, this was the type of game that happens to Top 10 teams, no matter how experienced or talented they are. The Tigers could just as easily be the team on the other side, hitting shot after shot and gunning 3s.

They’ll keep gunning and keep beating teams. But these nights will happen, making the Tigers the ultimate hit-or-miss pick in March. I’d be willing to take my chances with Marcus Denmon & Co., though. They haven’t given me much reason to doubt them yet.

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Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)