Jimmy McKinney tries to drive around Sam Houston State's Jejuan Plair during Monday night's game.
Nov. 14, 2005
By Brandon Hoops
For the Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)- Ryan Bright hit a pair of 3-pointers late in the second half and finished with 28 points as Sam Houston State beat Missouri 80-77 Monday in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-off.
Bright's biggest basket was a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left that put the Bearkats up 76-71. He also hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 left that gave the Bearkats the lead for good.
Thomas Gardner hit a pair of 3-pointers for Missouri and Jimmy McKinney added another with under a minute left. The Tigers had a chance to send the game into overtime after Sam Houston's Jejuan Plair missed a pair of free throws with 7.2 seconds left, but Jason Horton's 3-pointer fell short as time ran out
Gardner finished with 23 points for the Tigers, and Marshall Brown added 20.
The Bearkats led by as many as 10 in the first half behind the shooting of Bright, last year's Southland Conference Freshman of the Year.
Gardner kept Missouri close by scoring eight straight points during a seven-minute span in the first half. Marcus Watkins cut the lead to 32-27 at the half when he rebounded his own miss and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
It was Missouri's third appearance in the NIT Season Tip-off tournament. The Tigers lost in the first round of the 1998-1999 tournament and in the championship of the 1988-1989 tournament.
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