Missouri needs overtime to dispatch Cornhuskers

Thursday, February 14, 2008
Missouri's DeMarre Carroll took a shot during the second half Wednesday in Lincoln, Neb. The Tigers won 86-78 in overtime. (DAVE WEAVER ~ Associated Press)

The Tigers jumped on Nebraska early in overtime to earn the win.

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Missouri coach Mike Anderson was a happy, relieved man Wednesday night after his Tigers scored nine straight points to open overtime and down Nebraska 86-78.

"We'll take that one," Anderson said. "It's overtime here again. That's becoming a theme."

Last February in Lincoln, Missouri lost to Nebraska 82-77 in overtime.

Anderson attributed Wednesday's win to perseverance and to his bench, praising players like Leo Lyons, who had six of his 12 points in overtime.

"I think it's a credit to our team," Anderson said. "We've got some depth. I saw a basketball team tonight from start to finish. They wouldn't quit. What I saw was a sense of urgency."

Missouri (14-11, 4-6 Big 12) got a pair of free throws from Lyons to open overtime and never trailed from there, going up 80-71 on Jason Horton's free throws with 1 minute, 9 seconds left.

Nebraska (14-8, 3-6) got its first points of overtime on Ryan Anderson's 3-pointer with a minute remaining to cut the Tigers' lead to six. His second 3-pointer brought the Huskers to within four at 82-78 with 32 seconds left.

But a pair of J.T. Tiller free throws and a Lyons dunk sealed the win for Missouri.

Nebraska made just one field goal in the final 11 minutes of regulation. But the Huskers made 16-of-22 free throws in the last 8:34, including a pair by Steve Harley that tied the game at 71-71 with 5 seconds remaining.

Missouri, which finished the first half on a 20-2 run to go up by 11, led by as many as 13 early in the second half, taking a 47-34 lead on Matt Lawrence's 3-pointer with 17:49 remaining.

Aleks Maric, who had 24 of his 32 points in the second half, shredded the Tigers' man-to-man defense, scoring eight points in a 10-0 Huskers run that cut the Missouri lead to 47-44 with 14:06 left.

"He's a helluva player," said Missouri's DeMarre Carroll, who fouled out guarding Maric. "If he gets position, there's not much you can do. He's going to score."

Nebraska took its only lead of the second half and overtime on Maric's free throws with 4:48 left that made the score 62-61. But Missouri hit two straight baskets, the second a Jason Horton 3-pointer, building a five-point advantage.

Missouri didn't score in the final 1:34 of regulation, and Nebraska hit 4-of-6 free throws in that time to tie the game.

But the Huskers misfired through the first four minutes of overtime.

"We got into overtime and Aleks doesn't touch the basketball," Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said. "That was a big loss for us, and we have to give them credit for stopping that."

Carroll expressed the opposite feeling.

"To win in overtime on somebody else's floor shows you've got guys who step up and make plays when the pressure is on," Carroll said. "It shows this team what we're made of."

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