NCAA: Missouri 83, Marquette 79
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Four unbelievable minutes. Two gargantuan free throws.
Freshman Kim English came off the bench to "pinch shoot" for the hurting J.T. Tiller and made two free throws with 5.5 seconds left Sunday to give Missouri the go-ahead points in an 83-79 victory over Marquette in the NCAA tournament.
It was quite an encore for English, who had an out-of-body 4 1/2-minute shooting spree in the first half, scoring 15 points and helping third-seeded Mizzou (30-6) turn a six-point deficit into a 16-point lead.
English was on the bench for most of the second half, watching sixth-seeded Marquette chip away at the lead and eventually go ahead. But when Tiller fell hard after being fouled with the score tied at 79, coach Mike Anderson took advantage of the college rule that allows teams to substitute for an injured free-throw shooter.
He chose English, who made both.
Marquette's Lazar Hayward stepped over the baseline on the ensuing inbounds pass, and the Golden Eagles (25-10) were forced to foul. Leo Lyons made two more free throws to ice the game and Missouri moved onto the West Regional semifinals to play Memphis.
It ruined a wonderful effort from Marquette's Jerel McNeal, who matched his career high with 30 points, and Wesley Matthews, who scored 24.
It also brought lusty boos from the Marquette fans and others in the crowd, especially when they saw Tiller re-enter the game a second later to help the Tigers run out the clock.
What they may not have known is that Tiller is a 76 percent free-throw shooter this season while English, icing on the bench for most of the second half, shoots only 65 percent.
But he came through when it counted most -- and well before.
In six extremely well-spent minutes in the first half, English came one point short of his career high. He went 6-for-8 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, added a rebound.
Then he came back for 1 second -- literally -- and won the game.
Missouri's usual stars weren't bad, either. DeMarre Carroll finished with 15 points and Lyons led the Tigers with 18, including a nifty spin under the basket for a three-point play that gave Missouri a 79-78 lead with 48.7 seconds left after they'd trailed by four.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)