Mizzou Explodes Offensively, Defeats Memphis

Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

COLUMBIA, MO - JANUARY 16: Jimmy McKinney #1 of the Missouri Tigers drives the ball upcourt against the Kansas Jayhawks on January 16,2006 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri. Missouri defeated Kansas 89-86 in overtime. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Everyone assumed that the Selection Committee put Connecticut and Memphis in the same bracket so they would meet to prove who really deserved the No. 1 seed in the West region.

What they did not count on was Missouri ruining that story for everyone, as the No. 3 Mizzou Tigers defeated the Memphis Tigers 102-91 to advance to Saturday's regional final against Connecticut.

I bet no one thought Mizzou would surpass the century mark either.

Trailing 28-26 in the first, Mizzou (31-6) went on a 23-8 run, capped off by a 65-foot swish by Marcus Denmon right before the half to make it a 49-36 Mizzou lead.

It only got worse for Memphis, as the Big XII Champs opened the first four minutes of the second stanza with a 15-4 run to extend the lead to 64-40.

Memphis would not go quietly, however, as they answered with a run of their own. Memphis went on an 11-0 run to trim the lead to 64-51.

Down 83-68, Memphis went on a run again. Memphis used a 15-6 run to cut the lead to 89-83. The Tigers simply ran out of gas, and free throws doomed Memphis' hopes of returning to the Final Four this season.

J.T. Tiller scored a career-high 23 points for Mizzou on 10-16 shooting. He was one of five Mizzou Tigers to score in double figures. The starters combined for 82 of the team's 102 points.

For Memphis, Tyreke Evans, the nation's best freshman, scored a game-high 33 points in the defeat.

Fans figured they would have a battle on their hands in this one, but what they saw was nothing short of an impressive offensive performance from both Tiger teams.

Missouri advances to face the top-seeded Connecticut Huskies on Saturday at 4:40 p.m.