Crafton Hits Last Second Free Throw for Tigers First Road Win
OXFORD, MS -- Sydney Crafton sunk the game winning free throw with 1.7 seconds left on the clock to give Missouri the 73-72 win in Sunday's overtime contest in Oxford, Mississippi. The Tigers improve to 13-6 overall, 2-3 SEC with the victory. Crafton finished the day with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. As a team, Missouri assisted on 17 of its 27 field goals in the contest. Junior Bri Kulas contributed four of those assists as well, a career high mark.
Junior Bri Kulas scored a career-high 23 points and earned her third double-double of the season in Missouri's first road win of the year. Senior Liz Smith also stood out for the Tigers, earning her fifth double-figure scoring game of the season with xx points in the contest.
Missouri had a slow start to the game, trailing the Rebels for the first few minutes. Down 10-5 with just over 13 minutes in the half, junior Bri Kulas scored five in a row to tie the contest at 10. Liz Smith then added a bucket to give the Tigers the 12-10 lead. Sophomore Morgan Eye added a three pointer before the media timeout to help Mizzou pull away a bit.
The Tigers held on to their lead until the Rebels were able to tie the game at 20 with about eight and a half minutes left in the first half. Kulas didn't let them take the lead, and Smith helped her out, putting the Tigers back on top, 24-20 into the under eight media timeout. The Rebels tied the game again with just over two minutes in the half, and Valencia McFarland put Ole Miss ahead of Mizzou, 28-26. Again, Kulas came to the rescue with a minute to play, hitting a three for the Tiger lead. Another three from Kulas put Mizzou up 32-30 just before the half, but Ole Miss hit a bucket at the buzzer to tie the game at 32 sending the teams into the locker room tied up. IT's the first time that the Tigers have seen a tie game at the half this season.
Missouri and Ole Miss went back and forth to start the second half, but back-to-back threes from Eye and Kulas combined with a layup from Smith helped the Tigers pull away. With just under 12 minutes in the game, the Tigers led 50-46. Doty hit a layup out of the media timeout to keep the Tigers ahead 52-46. Ole Miss was able to bring it within one, 52-51 with less than 10 minutes to play, but Crafton made one from the charity stripe making it 53-51, Tigers.
Ole Miss came back at the Tigers with a free throw, but the Rebels sent Kulas to the free throw line almost immediately. She made one, giving the Tigers the 54-52 advantage.
Ole Miss pulled ahead with less than six minutes to play, but Maddie Stock was sent to the free throw line for the Tigers. She tied the game at 55, and Kulas added a layup out of a Missouri timeout to stay on top. Doty made a free throw to put the Tigers up by three going into the final media timeout of the game.
Ole Miss's Tia Faleru made two free throws to reduce the Rebels' lead to just one, and she followed up with a bucket to give the Rebels the 59-58 lead with two minutes left. Crafton hit a layup to take back the lead almost immediately. The Rebels made a free throw with 1:15 on the clock to tie it back up at 60. Smith hit a jumper out of a Missouri timeout to again give the Tigers the lead.
At the end of regulation, the Tigers and the Rebels were tied at 62 apiece. Eye sunk a trey for the Tigers making it 65-62 right away, but Ole Miss responded with another bucket. The Tigers send Valencia McFarland to the line, and after she made her two free throws, Crafton put another on the board for Mizzou. Liene Priede followed that with a three-pointer, and the Tigers had the 70-66 lead. Two Ole Miss free throws made it 70-68 heading into a media timeout.
Crafton was sent to the line out of the timeout, and after making both of her free throws she gave the Tigers the 72-68 advantage. Ole Miss made a three to follow up, and tied it up at 72 with a free throw. Crafton was fouled with 1.7 seconds on the clock, and used the advantage to give the Tigers the win.
Mizzou returns to Columbia to host the Arkansas Razorbacks in a televised contest at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24. The game will air on Fox Sports Midwest PLUS.
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