KANSAS CITY — The scene Wednesday featuring guard Michael Dixon Jr. was all too familiar.
With 18.1 seconds remaining and the Missouri men's basketball team holding an 86-84 lead over Texas Tech in its first game of the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center, Dixon was fouled and sent to the free-throw line.
Dixon looked up at the basket. It was before this same basket, in this same building, at the same end of the court, that Dixon had a chance to secure a victory over Georgetown three months ago. In that game, he failed.
But standing at the free-throw line in Wednesday night’s game, he made the first free throw to give Missouri a 3-point cushion.
Then, after Texas Tech guard John Roberson missed a hurried layup, the ball bounced around between players. Missouri’s Marcus Denmon came up with it. He ran in circles, and for nearly 10 seconds, no Texas Tech player could catch him.
Finally, Texas Tech forward Mike Singletary fouled Denmon and sent him to the line, where Denmon made one more free throw to seal Missouri’s 88-84 victory.
The sixth-seeded Tigers advance to play third-seeded Texas A&M in Thursday's second round.
Denmon led the Tigers with 20 points, five assists and five steals. Dixon had 17 points; guard Kim English scored 15.
Missouri players said before the game that they were worried the Texas Tech players would come out with extra motivation because their coach, Pat Knight, was fired on Monday after three unsuccessful seasons with the Red Raiders.
Within the game's first 10 minutes, Texas Tech gained a seven-point lead and began making highlight reel-worthy plays including alley-oop dunks.
After Texas Tech’s fast start, Missouri came back, and it appeared the Tigers would take over when they began the second half with an 8-0 run. However, Texas Tech never went away and was able to keep the game close until the final moments.