WACO, Texas - To the victor go the chuckles.
As he sat down to face the media, Baylor guard LaceDarius Dunn had an opening comment: "Yeah, I missed the free throw because I wanted my man Ekpe to be the hero again."
A few minutes later, Bears coach Scott Drew provided evidence that he and his players had their stories straight. "In the timeout, there was six seconds left and that was too much time," Drew said. "Lace said he was gonna make the first, miss the second, we were gonna knock it down to one or two seconds and then score."
Funny how things work out. No. 24 Baylor trailed only twice all afternoon but the Bears erased that final deficit when Ekpe Udoh tipped in the game winner with 1.3 seconds remaining. Udoh's second hero shot in four days gave Baylor a 64-62 victory over the Tigers.
Missouri scored on its first possession to take a 2-0 lead. The Tigers didn't lead again until Kim English's run-out layup and an intentional foul on Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn with 46.9 seconds remaining. English made one of two free throws for a 62-61 lead.
Because of the intentional foul, Missouri kept possession. With 12 seconds remaining, J.T. Tiller missed a contested reverse layup.
"We had a layup," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "Any coach would be happy with a layup in that situation."
Dunn raced down the floor and was fouled in the lane by English with 6.2 seconds remaining. After deadlocking the game at 62 with his first free throw, his second attempt bounced long - a bit surprising for an 85 percent free throw shooter.
"When Lace is shooting, you think he's gonna make it and you're not gonna pursue the ball," Drew said. "It shows how important it is to keep attacking."
Sophomore Quincy Acy (12 points, 11 rebounds) grabbed the long rebound and immediately fired up an eight-footer. That missed and Dunn crashed the boards but missed a point-blank follow shot. Udoh was there for the tip-in - just his second basket of the game. His jump hook with 25 seconds remaining provided the winning points in Baylor's victory at Nebraska Wednesday
"I just had more heart, I wanted that ball more," said the 6-10 Udoh, who finished with six points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. "In the waning minutes, Lace calls me Kobe. I knew I had a chance to tip it … it was Kobe time."
The 6-10 Udoh had Missouri's 6-8 Justin Safford and 6-3 J.T. Tiller contesting him for the rebound. Here's how Tiller explained the winning basket: "Just a lot of trees, really. Everybody was in there trying to get that last tip. We just weren't on the receiving end of it."
Trees is a good way of describing Baylor's 2-3 zone. The Bears have the nation's second-tallest roster and their length can often force teams into firing from 3-point range. The Tigers, though, displayed exemplary patience to probe and find the openings.
Missouri shot 45.1 percent from the field and made 6-of-14 3-pointers plus had 15 assists on 23 field goals.
"On the road you have to play smarter and we have to play smarter today," Anderson said. "We played efficient basketball, shared it and took care of it."
The Bears made seven consecutive shots and went up 22-14 midway through the first half. Baylor was never able to get the lead to double digits. Safford's jumper on an out-of-bounds play pulled Missouri to within 34-32 with 1:44 before halftime but Baylor's Tweety Carter scored the last four points for a 38-32 halftime edge.
The Bears never led by more than six points in the second half. The teams combined to score just 13 points over the last seven minutes. Baylor missed seven consecutive shots down the stretch before Udoh's game-winning tip.
"We might have wore down a little bit there in the final minutes," said Drew, who evened his Baylor record at 100-100. "Missouri gets credit for that because of how hard they play. There was no celebrating from our team in the locker room. They left it all on the court."
After Udoh's tip, Missouri had to go the length of the court in 1.3 seconds. English, who finished with 13 points, launched a running 3-pointer just across mid court. It hit the front of the rim.
"We had the chance to steal one on the road and this would have been a great one to win," Anderson said. "On the road, you want to put yourself in position to win and we did that."