Mizzou Ends Season With A Win
Gardner entered the game second in the Big 12 scoring race with a 19.8 point average. He had a driving left-hand layup that put Missouri (12-15, 5-11) on top 62-61 with 1:06 remaining. After Nebraska's Jason Dourisseau hit two three throws to put the Cornhuskers back up by one, Missouri missed two shots on its end and then fouled Nebraska on the ensuing inbound play. But the Huskers' Wes Wilkinson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the chance to pad the lead.
The Tigers responded by working the ball inside to forward Marshall Brown, who after hesitating, converted a short jump shot to give Missouri the one-point lead with 3.3 seconds remaining. Missouri had a chance to add to that lead in the final seconds after Nebraska's Bronson Schliep threw a full-court baseball pass out of bounds. But Brown missed his own front end of the 1-and-1, giving Nebraska one final shot. Dourisseau narrowly missed a half-court runner, giving the crowd a 9,388 a chance to let out a collective gasp.
Wilkinson led Nebraska (17-12, 7-9) with 17 points. Center Aleks Maric added 16 points, with guard Jamel White contributing 14. With the win, Missouri avoided a last-place Big 12 finish, earning an 11th seed in the upcoming conference tournament. Nebraska is the No. 6 seed.
Missouri took a six-point lead into halftime, 31-25. But the Tigers squandered momentum from that shot, getting outscored by Nebraska 9-2 in the first 3:20 of the second half. Nebraska led by as many as 8 points with 3:20 remaining in the game.
The home victory capped a trying season for Missouri, including the Feb. 10 resignation of coach Quin Snyder, a day after vowing to reporters he would finish the season, his seventh in Columbia. Snyder quit after a string of six consecutive double-digit losses, including a 26-point defeat at last-place Baylor. After an emotional home victory over Kansas State two days later under interim coach Watkins, the Tigers lost four more games before Sunday's contest. Coach Melvin Watkins, a former head coach at Charlotte and Texas A&M, has said he wants to continue coaching Missouri next year.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)