Ross, Missouri hold off Texas A&M 57-56Texas A&M's Blake McDonald (10) gets tangled up with Missouri's Jabari Brown as they vie for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Earnest Ross converted two free throws with 7.3 seconds remaining to give Missouri its first lead of the night and help the Tigers survive a scare from Texas A&M with a 57-56 win on Wednesday night.
Ross, honored before the game for Senior Night, only scored five points before hitting his game-winning shots. With 2.2 ticks left, Ross broke up a pass from Texas A&M's Alex Caruso's inbounds pass, and the Aggies couldn't put up another attempt.
Missouri (21-9, 9-8 SEC) overcame 26.9 percent shooting in the first half and trailed by no more than four points during the final 10 minutes, but never caught Texas A&M until the final seconds.
Jamal Jones led the Aggies (17-13, 8-9) with 16 points, but committed a turnover with 17.4 seconds remaining and missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 with 8.1 seconds left.
Missouri's last-minute comeback revived hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive season with just Saturday's matchup at Tennessee remaining in the regular season.
Kourtney Roberson finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for Texas A&M, which took a step back in trying to reach the postseason for the first time in three seasons under Billy Kennedy. The Aggies entered the contest having won five of their last eight games.
The Aggies fell to 1-11 away from Reed Arena, where they are 16-2 this season. Texas A&M limited Missouri to 34 percent shooting a game after the Tigers shot a season-high 62 percent from the field.
Missouri started 1 of 9 from the field and entered the locker room with more turnovers (9) than field goals (7). The Tigers then started the second half 6 of 10 from the field, and got a spark from freshman Torren Jones.
Jones, who didn't play before the break, entered the game and converted a traditional three-point play to get the Tigers within 41-35 with 13:22 remaining. He then stole a pass from Texas A&M's Blake McDonald on the next possession, which led to a dunk by Johnathan Williams III.
Jones' plays highlighted a 12-2 Missouri run that narrowed the deficit to 43-42 with 9:16 remaining. But Jamal Jones' steal and fast break layup ended the streak, and the teams traded baskets until the final seconds.
Torren Jones finished with five points after garnering a career-high eight in last Saturday's 85-66 win against Mississippi State. All seven of Ross' points came in the final 1:06.