BOULDER, Colo — Missouri had a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds but things didn’t go the Tigers’ way.
Colorado walked away with a 64-62 victory against Missouri on Wednesday night in a game that came down to the last seconds.
The Buffaloes took a 64-62 lead when Colorado’s Richard Roby hit a 3-pointer with 21.1 seconds left to lift the Colorado crowd. As the shot went through the basket everyone at Coors Events Center leapt to their feet.
On the next possession, the Tigers brought the ball down the court, passed it around and attempted to go inside but the ball went to freshman guard Jason Horton, open behind the 3-point line. He took the shot but it ricocheted off the back of the rim and bounced just out of the reach of sophomore forward Linas Kleiza.
The Buffaloes (10-7, 2-4 Big 12 Conference) got the rebound and headed down to the other side of the court. Missouri fouled but it was too late. They didn’t get another chance at a basket.
Missouri coach Quin Snyder said it was unfortunate that Horton was unable to make his shot but he felt he shouldn’t have been forced to make it. The play before the winning 3-pointer, Snyder said he was looking for a drive to get two easy points or at least a trip to the free-throw line. Instead, with a hand in his face, Jimmy McKinney settled for an off-balance three with a hand init his face that sailed out of bounds.
“We didn’t attack and ended up taking a tough shot,” Snyder said. “Even with that if we make a stop on the other end, we win the game.”
That seemed to be the way things went for Missouri (10-9, 2-4) in the second half.
The Tigers struggled to get things going offensively. Every time they started to get some momentum they would make a turnover or costly foul.
Missouri’s fouling allowed Colorado to hit 13-of-19 free throws in the second period alone.
“It’s something we battle as a group,” Snyder said. “When we turn it over. We miss a shot. How do we respond the next play? I thought that that got (Colorado) where they wanted to be.”
Senior guard Jason Conley said the Tigers got careless with the ball and that was what cost them the game.
Horton said the team lacked the mental toughness in the second half it needed to earn a win. He said the little mental mistakes led to too many turnovers.
“They got a hand on balls because we weren’t making ball fakes and stuff like that,” Horton said.
Missouri excelled at one thing in the second half to stay in the game. The Tigers didn’t have any free-throw attempts in the first half, but took advantage of their chances in the second, hitting 13-of-15, with Linas Kleiza making 5-of-7.
Missouri started strong, hitting 11-of-27 field goals, including 6-of-13 from the 3-point line, but still made costly mistakes.
One glaring error happened when Kleiza jumped into the air to fake a shot. The problem was he forgot that he needed to pass it before coming down. He returned to the floor, ball still in hand and was called for traveling.
One of the Tigers’ most impressive plays came from Missouri junior Jimmy McKinney after Kevin Young got a block that was headed out of bounds. McKinney ran the ball down and, just before stepping out of bounds, corralled it and called a time out to get possession.
Freshman Marshall Brown started the first half hitting all three of his 3-point attempts. The Tigers shot 40.7 percent in the first half.
Good percentages weren’t enough to keep the Tigers ahead, though.
The Tigers walked off the court at halftime leading 31-29, but officials Rick Hartzell, Mike Thibodeaux and Mark Whitehead ruled a last-second 3-pointer by Thomas Gardner didn’t beat the buzzer and the points were removed.
The Tigers still haven’t won a game away from Mizzou Arena but Snyder said there is a way to find success on the road.
“I think we’ve got to stick together more through our mistakes,” Snyder said.