Nebraska 71, Missouri 64
DALLAS (AP)—Jamel White made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:15 left and followed that with a key rebound, lifting Nebraska to a 71-64 victory over Missouri in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament Thursday night.
The Cornhuskers (18-12) blew a 12-point lead in the second half, but White’s 3-pointer from the right wing broke a 64-all tie. When Thomas Gardner missed a 3-pointer at the other end, White grabbed the rebound and Missouri didn’t score again.
Nebraska won its first Big 12 tournament game since 1999. The Cornhuskers also ended a three-game losing streak that included a 64-63 loss to Missouri (12-16) in the regular season finale Sunday.
Missouri’s first-ever loss in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament finally ended the school’s 100th season of basketball, one that didn’t provide any reason for celebration.
Jason Dourisseau led Nebraska with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including a slam dunk and a free throw after being fouled with 24 seconds left. Aleks Maric finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Nebraska plays No. 22 Oklahoma (20-6) in a quarterfinal game Friday night.
Jimmy McKinney had 15 points and Gardner 13 for the Tigers, who have consecutive losing seasons. Before last year, they had finished under .500 only once since their last back-to-back losing seasons in 1978-79 under coach Norm Stewart.
Coach Quin Snyder resigned Feb. 10, a day after he vowed to finish his seventh season—the first four ended in the NCAAs before NIT appearances the last two years. He said he was told by an athletic department employee that his contract would be terminated after the season.
In what was likely the last game for interim coach Melvin Watkins, the Tigers trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half before Thomas Gardner’s two free throws with 6:42 left pushed them ahead 58-57. That was their first lead since early in the game—and their last.
The Huskers made just 14-of-28 free throws, but Maric hit his second attempt with 6:17 left to tie the game at 58-all. Dourisseau’s one-handed follow-up slam made it 63-60 with 4 minutes left, but Missouri tied it for the last time at 64 when Gardner made two free throws with 1:51 left.
Jason Horton’s 3-pointer put Missouri ahead 11-9 with 13:55 left in the first half, and the Tigers didn’t lead again until Gardner’s free throws at 6:42.
Dourisseau had consecutive layups to start an 18-4 run that included a pair of 3-poitners by Marcus Perry. The Cornhuskers led 27-15 by time Maric made a layup with 4:12 left, and were up by six at halftime.