Texas A&M 54, Missouri 51
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)—Dominique Kirk scored eight points during the final 9:51 of the game Tuesday night, helping Texas A&M overcome a 10-point deficit and beat Missouri 54-51—a win that gives a boost to the Aggies’ NCAA tournament hopes.
Kirk, averaging 6.7 points per game, had just three points before leading a comeback that may have salvaged the Aggies’ season. Missouri (11-13, 4-9 Big 12) led 47-37 with 11:34 to play but scored just four points the rest of the way.
Acie Law scored 15 for Texas A&M (17-7, 7-6) and Kirk finished with 11.
Thomas Gardner scored 21 points for Missouri, but only two in the second half. Jimmy McKinney had 14.
Texas A&M closed the margin to two points on Chris Walker’s 3-pointer with 4:55 to play. After a Missouri miss, Kirk hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 2:55 to play to put the Aggies ahead for good.
After Walker missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Missouri had one last chance with 1.2 seconds to play, but Gardner’s 3-pointer banged off the rim.
Texas A&M took a 16-11 lead before going 7:20 between points in the first half. Missouri’s 15-0 run during that span put the Tigers up 26-16. The Aggies, who missed 10 straight shots during the cold spell, managed to close the gap to 33-28 by halftime.
The Aggies moved into sole possession of fifth place in the conference, a half-game ahead of Nebraska. But unless Texas A&M moves up in the standings or has a strong showing in the Big 12 tournament, the question it faces is whether five Big 12 teams will earn berths in the NCAA tournament in what is generally considered a down year for the conference.
Barring a miracle run in the conference tourney, Missouri’s tumultuous season is winding to a merciful close. The Tigers were overachieving at 10-5 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12 after beating Kansas in overtime Jan. 16.
Since then, Missouri has lost eight of nine, with seven of the losses by double-digits, and dropped to next-to-last in the Big 12. The Tigers also lost their coach amid a soap opera that has embarrassed the university.
Quin Snyder said on Feb. 9 he would not resign, but did so a day later after a talk with Gary Link, an associate of athletic director Mike Alden. Snyder said he was told in no uncertain terms that he could step aside or be fired.
Alden at first denied that he sent Link to see if Snyder might want to resign. But in an interview for his radio show Monday, he seemed to back away from that statement, saying he wished he had not sent Link.
Chancellor Brady Deaton performed an initial investigation, concluding there were communications mistakes but nothing more. But several Missouri curators were unconvinced. On Monday, university president Elson Floyd ordered a second, independent investigation.