GLENDALE, Ariz. – A career night by J.T. Tiller put Missouri one win away from its first trip to the Final Four. Memphis’ 27-game winning streak, meanwhile, is history.
Tiller scored a career-high 23 points – 15 more than his season average – and Missouri held off Memphis’ frantic rally for a 102-91 win Thursday night in the semifinals of the West Regional.
Third-seeded Missouri led by 24 points with 16 minutes left, then saw Memphis close within six with 2:14 to play. Mizzou put it away from the foul line.
Missouri (31-6) advanced to play top-seeded Connecticut for the West title on Saturday.
“We came out and kind of took the fight to Memphis early on, and before you know it, our guys had a little confidence,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said.
Tyreke Evans scored 33 for second-seeded Memphis (33-4). The Tigers shot 18 for 32 from the foul line – last year, a poor showing at the foul line cost them in an overtime title game loss to Kansas.
Missouri’s Marcus Denman had the game’s’ most jaw-dropping basket, a swish from three-quarters court at the halftime buzzer for a 13-point lead.
Tiller made 10 of 16 shots and had three steals.
All five Missouri starters reached double figures.
A whopping 77 free throws were taken, with Missouri making 30 of 45.
Robert Dozier had 19 points and 16 rebounds in Memphis’ first loss since a Dec. 20 setback against Syracuse. Antonio Anderson scored 18 in his last game for Memphis.