Missouri guard Kim English scores a free throw in front of guard Marcus Denmon in the final seconds to help defeat Marquette 83-79 Sunday.
Missouri guard Kim English scores a free throw in front of guard Marcus Denmon in the final seconds to help defeat Marquette 83-79 Sunday.

BOISE, Idaho — For four unbelievable minutes early, Kim English turned the basketball court in Boise into his own private Idaho.

During two excruciating free throws late, it was his personal little pressure cooker.

The Missouri freshman was brilliant through all of it — and never more clutch than when he came off the bench to “pinch shoot” for the injured J.T. Tiller with 5.5 seconds left Sunday.

English made both free throws to give the Tigers the go-ahead points in an 83-79 victory over Marquette.

He had what can only be described as an out-of-body experience during a 41/2-minute shooting spree in the first half. He made three 3-pointers and scored 15 points during that stretch to help third-seeded Mizzou (30-6) turn a six-point deficit into a 16-point lead.

Still, English was on the bench for most of the second half, watching sixth-seeded Marquette chip away at the lead and eventually go ahead.

But when Tiller fell hard and hurt his right wrist after being fouled with the score tied at 79, Anderson took advantage of the college rule that allows teams to substitute for an injured free-throw shooter.

He chose English, who made both.

“He just said, ‘Kimmie,’ and I knew what that meant,” English said. “I’m so happy that he had faith in me to get up there and knock them down. I think anybody on the bench would’ve knocked them down, actually.”

After the English free throws, Marquette’s Lazar Hayward turned it over by stepping over the baseline on the ensuing inbounds pass, and the Golden Eagles (25-10) were forced to foul. Leo Lyons made two more free throws to ice the game and Missouri moved onto the West Regional semifinals to play Memphis, next Thursday in Glendale, Ariz..

It ruined a wonderful effort from Marquette senior Jerel McNeal, who matched his career high with 30 points, and Wesley Matthews, who scored 24.

During a stretch of 41/2 extremely well-spent minutes, English came one point short of his career high. He went 6-for-8 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, added a rebound.

Then he came back for 1 second — literally — and won the game. He finished with 17 points.

Missouri’s usual stars weren’t bad, either.

DeMarre Carroll finished with 15 points, Lawrence had 16 and Lyons led the Tigers with 18, including a nifty spin under the basket for a three-point play that gave Missouri a 79-78 lead with 48.7 seconds left after they’d trailed by four.

McNeal came back to make one of two free throws to tie the game and set up the wacky finish.