Missouri’s second-half comeback sinks Minnesota

Sean East II made a go-ahead, three-point play with 9.9 seconds remaining as Missouri stormed back for a 70-68 win over Minnesota on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

East’s key play capped a wild rally for Missouri (3-1), which trailed by 20 points in the second half. The Tigers closed the game on a 31-9 run and took their first lead on the final basket.

Cam Christie missed a last-second shot for Minnesota (2-1). He and his teammates bent over in anguish as the buzzer sounded.

Nick Honor led Missouri with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Noah Carter finished with 13 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds.

Dawson Garcia scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Golden Gophers. Isaiah Ihnen and Pharrel Payne tallied 10 points apiece, and Braeden Carrington pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.

Minnesota surged to a 59-39 lead with 11:25 remaining in the second half. Mike Mitchell Jr. buried a 3-pointer to finish a 13-0 scoring run that included six free throws and two layups.

Missouri refused to give in despite the sizeable deficit. Honor started the comeback effort when he sank a 3-pointer to make it 59-42 and snap a scoring drought that spanned 4:21.

Honor added a jumper and a 3-pointer to pull the Tigers within 59-47.

As the minutes ticked down, the pressure ticked up for Minnesota. Carter completed a three-point play to pull Missouri within 65-59 with 5:21 remaining.

That was part of a 9-0 run that eventually cut the deficit to 65-63.

Garcia made a pair of free throws to give the Golden Gophers a 67-63 lead with 3:15 to play.

The Tigers kept clawing and it tied the game at 67-all on a free throw by Tamar Bates with 1:56 remaining. That marked Bates’ fourth straight free throw, which included three in a row on the previous possession after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.

Garcia made 1 of 2 free-throw attempts to give Minnesota a 68-67 advantage with 1:25 left.

Then came East’s go-ahead jump shot and free throw, followed by Christie’s final miss.