3:20 PM ET, March 14, 2003
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Kansas 89, Iowa State 74
Missouri's Travon Bryant, right, celebrates his game-winning shot Friday.
Teammate Jimmy McKinney drove to the basket to attempt a game-winning shot, but the ball got knocked away in traffic. It bounced off the shoulder of Oklahoma State's Tony Allen and through the arms of other Cowboys, straight to Bryant."My first instinct was to put it up,'' Bryant said. "When I saw Jimmy drive, I knew the ball was going up, I knew I had to get in position for the rebound.'' Officially, it wasn't a rebound. McKinney got credited with an assist instead of a missed shot. The Tigers had 35 seconds left after Oklahoma State's Melvin Sanders missed a 3-pointer from the right corner. Missouri was given the ball when it went out of bounds in the scramble for the rebound. While Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton was arguing with officials that the ball went off a Missouri player, the Tigers called a timeout and set up their final play. "I thought we had the ball,'' Cowboys forward Melvin Sanders said. McKinney and Ricky Clemons handled the ball outside the 3-point line before McKinney started his drive to the basket with about five seconds left. Bryant had just enough time to grab the ball and put up a shot, which left his hand just before the buzzer sounded. "I tell our players all of the time, late in the game, usually when you go for one shot like Mizzou did, it's not the first shot that beats you, it's the second one,'' Sutton said. In this case, officially at least, it was the first one. Oklahoma State (21-9) has lost eight of 12 since its 15-game winning streak, but the Cowboys still seem certain to make the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight time. "We'll have to correct our mistakes and get ready for the Big Dance,'' Cowboys guard Victor Williams said. "We'll go home and have two-a-day practices. We're on spring break, there's no 20-hour rule. It's a coach's dream.'' The Tigers (20-9) had been confident of making the NCAA Tournament field for the fourth straight year under Snyder, even before the Big 12 tournament. With two wins this week, Missouri now appears to be a lock no matter what happens over the weekend. "I think our team has grown up to be able to win a game of that magnitude,'' Snyder said. McKinney led the Tigers with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Bryant finished with nine points. The Tigers play fourth-ranked Kansas, the Big 12 regular-season champion, in the first semifinal game Saturday. The Jayhawks (25-6) beat Iowa State 89-74 in their quarterfinal game Friday. Kansas beat Missouri 79-74 in the regular season finale Sunday, the Tigers' only loss at home this season. Arthur Johnson had 12 points and Clemons, who missed the Tigers' 76-56 loss to Oklahoma State in January while serving a one-game suspension, scored 11. Rickey Paulding had 11 points. Victor Williams led Oklahoma State with 12 points, while Sanders and Andre Williams both had 10. Ivan McFarlin had 14 rebounds. After the teams traded long scoring spurts twice in the first half, the margin never got larger than four points. There were nine lead changes in the final 14 minutes. Victor Williams' second straight 3-pointer tied it at 55 with 3:12 left. Those were the last field goals of the game for the Cowboys, who shot just 38 percent. Paulding was called for a foul on Sanders with 2:09 left when, after he was stripped by McFarlin, he tried to recover the ball. Sanders made his first free throw for a 58-55 lead. McKinney tied it at 58 just 22 seconds later when he found a seam and drove the baseline for a basket, then made the free throw after being fouled by McFarlin. Both teams missed short shots before the final sequence.