Houston locked up the No. 2 seed in the AAC Tournament and dealt a crushing blow to Memphis' hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday when Tramon Mark banked in a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the No. 9 Cougars to a 67-64 victory. Mark's heroic shot capped a dramatic game between two of the league's top teams playing for the first time this season in the regular-season finale for both.
The game-winner came just after Memphis guard Boogie Ellis hit a heroic shot of his own to tie the game with 1.7 seconds left. After the shot by Ellis, it seemed the game might head to overtime with the Tigers (15-7, 11-4 AAC) holding the momentum after erasing a late five-point deficit.
But Houston's Marcus Sasser threw a bounce pass to halfcourt that Mark fielded. After a couple of dribbles, the 6-foot-5 guard unleashed a contested heave that somehow managed to find the basket as the buzzer sounded. The Houston bench erupted in celebration and swarmed Mark, who had made just 2 of 11 shots before the buzzer beater.
The outcome means Memphis will be the No. 3 seed in the AAC Tournament, and it also means the Tigers will need a strong showing in the event to make the NCAA Tournament. They entered Sunday's game as a bubble team, according to Jerry Palm's Bracketology, and were looking for their first Quad 1 win of the season against the Cougars. Instead, they were dealt a crushing blow that could leave them needing to win the AAC Tournament in order to make the Big Dance.