Sophomore walk-on Nick Berandini escaped a mob at Mizzou Arena and rushed towards the MU locker room, clenching both fists above his head, screaming, “Do not stop believing! Do not stop believing!”
His team didn’t and as a result, they pulled one of the most improbable wins in school history. Missouri’s 89-86 overtime win over Kansas on Monday at Mizzou Arena was improbable when one considers the mountain the Tigers had to climb just to force overtime. Improbable when one considers the luck the Tigers had to get to force overtime.
Missouri (10-5, 3-1) trailed Kansas (10-6, 1-2) 72-63 with 1:54 to go in regulation when KU’s Mario Chalmers hit a jumper. A free throw from Christian Moody gave the Jayhawks a 74-67 lead with 39 seconds remaining. As it turned out, Moody’s free-throw shooting prevented his team from winning.
Thomas Gardner cut the lead to 74-70 with a three pointer, his sixth of the night. Gardner finished the game with a career high 40 points.
Chalmers hit a free throw with 29 seconds to go to give KU a 75-70 lead. Back-to-back jumpers by Jimmy McKinney cut the lead to 75-74 with 15 seconds remaining. Mizzou fouled Russell Robinson after allowing just two seconds to tick off the clock. He hit two free throws to move the KU lead to 77-74.
Gardner, who had been the hero all night, was the hero again, when he nailed a three pointer with four seconds to go. The Jayhawks responded with a quick strike down the court. Moody got a pass underneath the basket and went up for a layup, when he was fouled by McKinney with two seconds remaining.
Seemingly Mizzou’s night was over.
That’s when Moody’s nightmare began. With less than a second to go, he missed both free throws and overtime, which on many occasions seemed laughable, was now necessary.
In OT, the two teams went back and forth for four minutes. With one minute to go, Gardner was sent to the free throw line, with MU trailing 86-85. Gardner hit both free throws to give MU an 87-86 lead. They never trailed again.
McKinney scored 19 points, had four rebounds and dished out four assists. Kevin Young had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Marshall Brown pitched in 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The Jayhawks were led by Chalmers, who had 22 points. Kansas City native Brandon Rush scored 14 for KU.
The win marked the first time Quin Snyder has ever won back-to-back games against the Jayhawks.