COLUMBIA — Missouri players were surprised, and their fans were shocked. Tyrel Reed was neither.
“I told Coach I was gonna knock it down,” Reed said.
The Missouri men's basketball team will be the No. 6 seed at the Big 12 Tournament and will play No. 11 seed Texas Tech in the first round at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
The winner of the Missouri vs. Texas Tech game will play No. 3 seed Texas A&M in the second round on Thursday.
Missouri and Colorado tied for fifth place in the regular season standings with 8-8 conference records. However, Colorado won the tiebreaker because it won both of its games against Kansas State, and Missouri split with Kansas State.
During a timeout, Reed predicted he would make the 3-pointer that derailed the Missouri men’s basketball team’s hope of catching Kansas. He delivered, and the Jayhawks remained ahead of the Tigers for the final minute of their 70-66 win Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
The shot came when Reed’s team needed it the most.
Missouri had whittled Kansas’s lead from 15 points down to four with a minute and a half left to play. In a physical game that was riddled with fouls and whistles, the Tigers were severely outmatched in the battle for rebounds. On a night when Missouri was making only one third of its shots, the Tigers had fueled a comeback off of Jayhawks' turnovers.
Three-point baskets had been hard to come by for Missouri, and the Tigers finished the game with only three successful 3-point shots on 23 attempts. But, none of that mattered when Missouri junior guard Marcus Denmon got a rare one to fall with 1:32 left in the game. to pull within 63-59.
The Tigers had a chance and a whole lot of momentum. Kansas coach Bill Self wanted a timeout. No, he needed one. His team was in trouble.
“We had nothing going,” Self said. “No juice with a minute left, and Tyrel makes the biggest shot of the game.”
With his players huddled around him, Self picked the play.
Kansas would make a series of short side-to-side passes at the top of the 3-point line. Meanwhile, a screen would be set for Reed, and he would move to bottom corner of the court.
Reed told Self he would make the shot.
“He did,” Self confirmed.
Missouri junior forward Laurence Bowers, who led Missouri with 22 points, said he expected Kansas to run a backdoor cut instead of the screen.
“They did a fade screen. It kind of took us by surprise,” Bowers said.
The surprise showed. Reed was open, and his perfectly-lofted shot from the corner proved his prediction true.
When the net caught the ball, he turned to face the Missouri student section.
The players around him ran to the other end of the court, ready to move on to the fouls and free throws that would occupy the final minute of the game.
Reed lingered to savor the moment.
His toes touched the baseline, his clenched right fist thumped against his inflated chest, and his scream bellowed out.
No one screamed back.
What had been a stadium surging in hopes of an upset was suddenly silent.
Finally, Reed ended his celebration. He turned his back and he headed toward the other end of the court.
Missouri fans across the stadium turned their backs, too.
They were headed for the exits.