With 24 seconds left, the No. 21 Missouri Tigers (16-6, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) were clinging to a one-point lead. Then they threw it away.
Phil Pressey’s outlet pass to break Texas A&M’s pressure sailed way over the head of Keion Bell giving the Aggies (14-8, 4-5 Southeastern Conference), a chance to take the lead.
Texas A&M’s Fabyon Harris knocked down three of his 17 points with 10 seconds left to seal the 70-68 Aggie victory and hold the Tigers winless on the road.
Phil Pressey’s last turnover, leading to Harris’s three from the wing, may have been the straw that broke the Tigers’ back, but so too may have been the technical foul assessed to senior forward Alex Oriakhi that put a momentary kibosh on MU’s comeback.
With 6:21 to play, Missouri had cut the Texas A&M lead to single digits before Oriakhi got tangled up with Harris going for a rebound. Oriakhi was pegged with a loose-ball foul, then a technical as he swatted away the hand of Harris’s teammate who stepped in to quell the altercation.
Elston Turner knocked in one of two free throws assessed for the foul, stretching the Aggie lead to 10 and sucking the momentum out of a resurgent MU comeback.
Or, perhaps, deficient defense did the Tigers in; Texas A&M shot 50 percent from the field on the game, including 50 percent from three-point range. A J’Mychal Reese three gave the Aggies their first double-digit lead not even seven minutes into the game.
After MU cut the lead to six at intermission, the Aggies opened up a 10-2 run to open the second half and take a 42-36 lead.
Whatever the case, the Tigers’ 14-2 run that eventually gave them the lead with 50 seconds left, proved for naught.
Senior forward Laurence Bowers knocked down a triple from the corner to cap the run that lasted four minutes and featured seven of Pressey’s 13 points, two of Jabari Brown’s 11 and three of Bowers’ seven.
Then Oriakhi stripped Harris in the post and Pressey worked to set up the ensuing possession, lobbing an outlet pass into the stands as coach Frank Haith looked on in disbelief.
Harris’s three for the win will surely knock MU out of the top 25 rankings unless they can stave off Ole Miss at home on Saturday and dealt a significant blow to Pressey’s Cousy Award and Wooden Award aspirations.
Named to both the preseason watch lists for the honors dubbing the nation’s top point guard and player, respectively, earlier Thursday Pressey was named to the Cousy Award’s final 12 members. Among them is Louisville senior Peyton Siva, who out-dueled Pressey in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in November.