Late steal leads Missouri past Vandy, 85-82

COLUMBIA, MO-- Tied at 82 with five seconds remaining in overtime, a home crowd of 11,168 watched as Marcus Denmon stole the ball and then drove the court before being fouled as he made a layup. The spectacular defensive play vaulted Missouri to an 85-82 win over Vanderbilt. Brad Tinsley's 3-point shot missed its mark as the final buzzer sounded.

Deadlocked at 72 going into overtime, Missouri's Laurence Bowers made two free throws to put the Tigers up, 74-72. However, the Commodores took the lead with 2:55 remaining, 75-74, on two free throws by Lance Goulbourne. After the two teams traded baskets, a free throw by Matthew Safford tied the game at 77 with 1:58 to play. A driving layup by Goulbourne then put the Commodores back up, 79-77, with 1:40 to play but a 3-pointer by Denmon allowed the Tigers to go back up by one with 1:17 remaining.

Festus Ezeli was fouled while making a layup with just under a minute to play and made the ensuing free throw to put Vandy back in front, 82-80. The Tiger's Michael Dixon answered with a layup to tie the score at 82.

On Missouri's winning steal, Tinsley threw a lazy pass to Jeffery Taylor which Denmon quickly jumped on in full stride. Vanderbilt gave up 17 turnovers on the night. Although the turnovers were costly, the Commodores likely lost this game at the free throw line where they were an atrocious 11-of-22.

The lead changed 11 times and the score was tied six times. Vanderbilt built their biggest lead at 54-48 on a dunk by Taylor with 13 minutes remaining in the game. However, a turnover by Taylor followed by a missed layup by Tinsley allowed Missouri to regain the momentum. Tinsley, who finished 1-of-4 from 3-point range, also missed a 3-point shot at the end of regulation which would have won the game for Vandy.

The Tigers biggest lead was seven just minutes into the game and the Tigers went on to lead 40-37 at the half. John Jenkins led the Commodores with 23 points and made 5-of-10 from 3-point range. Vanderbilt's Taylor finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points and pulling down 10 rebounds but struggled handling the ball, giving up six turnovers including several that were unforced.

Ezeli finished with 18 points and had several thunderous dunks along with six blocks. However, after showing improvement in previous games, the junior struggled at the three throw line, making just 4-of-10 shots.

Vanderbilt was out-rebounded, 45-40.

"We got badly outplayed on the boards and certainly just didn't make free throws, we could have (put) the game away with some free throw makes." said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. "Nevertheless, our guys really competed hard."

Despite the loss, Stallings was pleased how his team handled Missouri's pressure defense..

"I was very pleased with the way we handled the ball against their press." said the 12th year head coach. "We did what we wanted to do. Jeff [Taylor], Brad [Tinsley], and Kyle [Fuller] particularly did a nice job handling the ball for us."

Vanderbilt falls to 7-2. Despite the loss, Vanderbilt still leads its all-time series with the Tigers, 3-2. The Commodores will get a 10-day break before hosting Southwestern Louisiana on Saturday, December 18. Missouri improves to 7-1. The Tigers will host Presbyterian on Saturday.

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