Monday, January 30, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Missouri 67, Texas 66
By Carter Strickland
How the game was won: Missouri got to the rim when it wanted to and, more importantly, when it needed to.
And trailing by 66-65 with less than 50 seconds left, the No. 4 Tigers desperately needed to get a basket. Michael Dixon Jr. came through, taking it down the left side and using his left hand to float in a layup to give Missouri the 67-66 win at the Frank Erwin Center on Monday night.
The layup capped off a furious stretch in which Dixon went from goat to hero. One possession earlier Dixon had been whistled for a flagrant foul on offense. That foul gave Texas two free throws and possession. The Longhorns took advantage with four points and took the lead, 66-65.
It didn't last.
Dixon went right to the rack on the next play and converted the layup for the lead.
It was over when:J'Covan Brown passed on the final shot of the game. Texas was within one with the ball and 27 seconds left. After milling around at the top of the key, Texas got the ball to Brown, the Big 12's leading scorer, with 12 seconds left. Rather than make a move, Brown threw a wild pass across the court to freshman Myck Kabongo. The freshman tried to drive the baseline but short-armed a shot that barely hit the bottom of the rim.
Stat of the game: Texas is now 0-7 in games decided by two possessions or less. Three of those losses have come against top-10 teams -- Kansas, Baylor and now Missouri. Just like it did against Kansas, Texas had the lead late only to lose the game. Against Missouri, Texas crawled back from a dozen down to take the lead with 55 seconds left. But when it came down to a final shot, Texas could not convert.
What it means for Texas: Rick Barnes gathered his coaches at the start of the month and told them these 31 days could be rough. He proved to be prophetic. Texas, which had dropped only two nonconference games, went 3-6 in January. The latest loss, although respectable just like the Kansas and Baylor games, may have pushed Texas right off the bubble for the NCAA tournament.
What it means for Missouri: The Tigers have been suspect as of late, losing to Oklahoma State and not being all that impressive against Texas Tech. But the Tigers, who have yet to face Kansas, have now notched two tough road wins at Baylor and against Texas. But in order for Missouri to grab a No. 1 seed, it is going to have to beat Kansas and win the Big 12 Conference.