A one-point Missouri lead in the second-half faded quicky, and the Tigers fell one game short of reaching the Final Four for the first time in program history.
Missouri players and coaches spent as much time telling stories and cracking jokes as they did breaking down their Saturday matchup with Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight.
Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet, the 7-foot-3 Big East Defensive Player of the Year, might be a big problem for the Missouri men's basketball team in Saturday night's NCAA West Regional final.
The senior guard scored 23 points, and the Tigers held off a furious Memphis comeback in the second half for a 102-91 win.
For the second straight game, Missouri secured a big first-half lead then held on in the second half to earn a victory.
The Tigers coach, who is in his third year at Missouri, has been mentioned as a candidate for vacancies at Alabama and Georgia
The Missouri men's basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2002 with a 102-91 victory against Memphis on Thursday night in Glendale, Ariz.
Hasheem Thabeet, a 7-foot-3 junior from Tanzania, scored 15 points and had 15 rebounds to help Connecticut defeat Purdue 72-60 in the semifinal of the NCAA West regional in Glendale, Ariz. The Huskies meet Missouri in the reional final Saturday.
Missouri's victory over Memphis on Thursday and Elite Eight game on Saturday afternoon have faithful Tiger fans euphoric and businesses expecting large crowds.
Memphis and Missouri have more in common than being in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and sharing the same nickname.
Missouri coach Mike Anderson and Memphis coach John Calipari were familiar foes when the two coached against each other in the Conference USA.
Fans of all ages crowded into the Clinton Room at Mizzou Arena on Tuesday to wish the Missouri men's basketball team good luck on the journey to Arizona for the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.
Zaire Taylor said the team might even benefit from the quiet campus in preparing for the Memphis Tigers.
English scored a career-high 17 points off the bench in the Tigers' victory.
Trailing by four points with 1:59 left in the game against Marquette, junior guard Zaire Taylor pulled the Tigers into a huddle and told them, "This ain't nothing. We've been here before."
The 83-79 win sends the Tigers to the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Find out all you need to know before the Tigers tip-off against the Eagles on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
This season is the fourth time Anderson has visited Boise as a coach in the NCAA Tournament. He has lost second-round games the past three times.
When Dominic James, a point guard for the Marquette men's basketball team, broke his foot on Feb. 25 against Connecticut, the Golden Eagles lost their senior leader.