Mizzou Explodes Offensively, Defeats Memphis

Chris BrooksCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2009

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.

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