The Missouri Tigers topped Nebraska 70-67 in round one of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City Thursday afternoon. Mizzou built a 16 point lead when Linas Kleiza hit two free throws at the 15:39 mark of the second half. Kleiza was 10-of-11 from the line and finished with a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds. Nebraska was able to whittle the lead down and trailed 69-67 with nine seconds to go, when Kleiza was sent to the free throw line. He missed his first free throw of the day on the front end of the one-and-one. He made the second and the Cornhuskers rushed down court, where freshman Joe McCray launched a three-pointer which bounced of the rim and Jason Conley grabbed the rebound to end the game.
Thomas Gardner scored 13 points and led the Tigers with four assists. Jimmy McKinney had eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds. McCray led NU with 20 points, while Jason Dourisseau chipped in 18.
Missouri improved to 16-15 on the season and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will meet top-seeded Oklahoma. The Tigers beat the Sooners 68-65 on February 12, in their only regular season meeting. That contest was in Columbia. It was only one of four losses OU suffered in the Big 12 this season.