COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Noah Carter and Kobe Brown each scored 17 points and Missouri clinched its first double-bye into the Southeastern Conference tournament by edging Mississippi 82-77 in the regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday.
The Tigers will be the No. 4 seed and first-year coach Dennis Gates will make his tournament debut on Friday.
In a second half that seemed determined to remain tied, Missouri took the lead when D’Moi Hodge took a feed from Nick Honor in the corner, pumped faked and allowed his Ole Miss defender to sail past, then calmly stroked the go-ahead 3-pointer. DeAndre Gholston leaped into the lane and added an up-and-under scoop shot to make it a four-point lead, 76-72 with 1:10 left.
After Robert Allen pulled down a long, tipped pass from Matthew Morrell and dunked to halve the Mississippi deficit, Carter took an inbounds pass and powered up a short baseline jumper and added a free throw to give Missouri a two-possession lead, 79-74. Murrell turned a three-point play for the Rebels, but Honor hit two free throws and Hodge added a third in the closing seconds to put the game away.
Missouri (23-8, 11-7) is 8-0 this season in games decided by five points or fewer, and the Tigers matched their all-time best record in SEC play with 11 wins.
Brown finished with seven rebounds and Carter had five boards, three assists and a steal. Gholston and Hodge contributed 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Jaemyn Brakefield led Ole Miss (11-20, 3-15) with 18 points. James White had 14 points and Murrell had 12 points, four assists and three steals. Myles Burns added 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Allen had 10 points, five boards and four assists.