Missouri 89, Murray St. 85
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ Sammie Haley scored a career-high 31 points, including the decisive basket with 16 seconds left, as Missouri beat Murray State 89-85 Wednesday in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament.
Missouri will play the winner of the Illinois-Alabama first round game.
The Tigers had to overcome a 52-35 rebounding edge for Murray State.
Down 88-85, Murray State had a chance to tie, but Missouri’s Kendrick Moore forced a jump ball with 8.2 seconds left. Missouri took the alternating possession and Jason Sutherland made one of two free throws with 3.6 seconds left to ice the win.
Haley, whose previous career best was 24 points against Nebraska on Feb. 22, had 19 at the half. He was 17-25 from the free throw line, a school record for attempts.
Missouri led 52-47 at halftime before the Racers went on an 8-0 run to take the lead. After Missouri went up 60-57, the lead switched hands several times before Murray State’s Quennon Echols fouled Haley and then was called for a technical foul.
Haley hit two free throws on the foul and then Derek Grimm hit both of the technical shots as Missouri took a 85-80 lead with 2:58 left, but the Tigers could not convert on the possesion as Kelly Thames stepped out of bounds.
Then at the 1:53 mark Murray State’s bench was called for a technical after Vincent Rainey fouled Haley. Haley missed both free throws and Grimm missed one and then Haley was charged with a foul on the ensuing position with the Tigers up 86-82. Kenneth Taylor hit one of two free throws to make the score 86-83.
Murray State was led by Marcus Brown with 30 points and Rainey with 24 points and 15 rebounds.