DENVER (AP) _ Lamont Long hit a jumper in the lane with 5.5 seconds left that gave New Mexico a 61-59 victory over Missouri in the first round of the NCAA West Regional on Thursday night.
New Mexico (25-8) moved into the second round for the fourth straight year.
After Long beat Missouri’s John Woods on the go-ahead basket, the Tigers (20-9) got the ball upcourt and guard Brian Grawer put up an off-balance 3-pointer that came up short.
Missouri’s bench complained vehemently that the clock didn’t stop after Long’s basket. The rules say the clock must stop after each made basket in the final minute of the game.
Long finished with 17 points and bailed out New Mexico, which nearly squandered a late six-point lead.
Lobos star Kenny Thomas, who scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half, picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in a 30-second span late in the game. The Tigers converted the fouls into a three-point play by 6-foot-11, 335-pound center Monte Hardge and a pair of free throws by Dooling that tied the game at 59 with 1:31 left.
Missouri had three chances to take the lead in the final minute. Dooling missed a driving layup after a steal. Teammate Albert White rebounded the miss and missed a dunk, and Dooling gave the Lobos the final shot when he missed on the baseline drive.
White led the Tigers with 16 points and Woods scored 11.