Scores

Final

Texas A&M 54

(17-7, 7-6 Big 12)

Missouri 51

(11-13, 4-9 Big 12)

    8:00 PM ET, February 21, 2006

    Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Missouri

    1 2 T
    TA&M 28 2654
    MIZZ 33 1851

    Top Performers

    Texas A&M: A. Law IV 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Missouri: T. Gardner 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Stl

    Texas A&M 54, Missouri 51

    COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Kalen Grimes snatched the rebound, and the 6-foot-8 sophomore went up for the uncontested dunk that might have put the exclamation point on a Missouri upset.

    He didn't get up quite high enough. The ball clanged hard off the rim and turned into a momentum swing that changed the game and may have saved Texas A&M's NCAA tournament hopes as the Aggies (17-6, 7-6 Big 12) rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit Tuesday to beat Missouri 54-51.

    "It was a real ugly win for us, and that's what we specialize in," Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie said.

    Dominique Kirk scored eight points during the final 9:51 of the game, including the 3-pointer from the corner that put Texas A&M ahead 52-51 with 2:55 to play. The Aggies extended the lead to three before Missouri's Thomas Gardner's last-second 3-point try bounced off the rim.

    Kirk, averaging 6.7 points per game, had just three points before leading the comeback, and ended with 11. Acie Law had 15 for Texas A&M.

    Gardner had 21 for Missouri (11-13, 4-9), but just two on 1-for-9 shooting in the second half. Jimmy McKinney had 14.

    The loss added to Missouri's misery. The Tigers have lost eight of nine games and are 1-2 under interim coach Melvin Watkins, who took over Feb. 10 after Quin Snyder resigned.

    "We tend to beat ourselves," Watkins said. "We tend to get a little hesitant and I just can't figure out why."

    Missouri trailed 16-11 midway through the first half, then went on a 15-0 run thanks in part to an 0-for-10 shooting span by Texas A&M -- the Aggies went scoreless for 7:20. Gardner was 8-for-11 in the first half as Missouri was up 33-28 at the break.

    The Tigers were ahead 45-37 when Grimes missed the gimme dunk with 12:19 to play. After extending the lead to 10 on their next possession, the bottom fell out. The Tigers would score just four points the rest of the way.

    "I've never seen him miss that one," Missouri's Kevin Young said. "Maybe he should have just laid it up, but he was pumped up and he wanted to make a big play."

    Watkins said of Grimes, "I know he felt bad about it. He knows we needed that bucket and he tried to dunk it and it just bounced off. Had he had a chance to do it over he might use two hands."

    Kirk began the comeback with a basket with 9:51 to play. Chris Walker closed the gap to 51-49 on a 3-pointer with 4:55 to play. Two minutes later, Kirk's 3-pointer put the Aggies ahead for good.

    The Aggies have won four straight and moved into sole possession of fifth place in the conference, a half-game ahead of Nebraska. But unless Texas A&M moves up in the standings with games remaining against Nebraska, Texas and Texas Tech, or has a strong showing in the Big 12 tournament, the question is whether fifth place is good enough to get into the tournament in what is generally considered a down year for the conference.

    Barring a miracle run in the conference tourney, Missouri's tumultuous season is winding to a merciful close. The Tigers were overachieving at 10-5 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12 after beating Kansas in overtime on Jan. 16.

    Since then, Missouri has lost eight of nine, with seven of the losses by double-digits, and dropped to next-to-last in the Big 12. They've also lost their coach amid a soap opera that has embarrassed the university.

    Snyder said on Feb. 9 he would not resign, but did so a day later after a talk with Gary Link, an associate of athletic director Mike Alden. Snyder said he was told in no uncertain terms that he could step aside or be fired.

    Alden at first denied that he sent Link to see if Snyder might want to resign. But in an interview for his radio show Monday, he seemed to back away from that statement, saying he wished he had not sent Link.

    Chancellor Brady Deaton performed an initial investigation, concluding there were communications mistakes but nothing more. But several Missouri curators were unconvinced. On Monday, university president Elson Floyd ordered a second, independent investigation.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    TA&M
    MIZZ
    Points 54 51
    FG Made-Attempted 20-48 (.417) 19-54 (.352)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-24 (.333) 2-16 (.125)
    FT Made-Attempted 6-11 (.545) 11-14 (.786)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 10

    2005-06 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Feb 21, 2006 TA&M 54, @MIZZ 51Recap