After trailing by as many as 20 points in the first half, Mizzou Men’s Basketball (2-3) cut the lead to as little as three points with under a minute to play, but fell 67-62 to Northwestern (4-1) on Saturday in the consolation round of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Freshman guard Terrance Phillips (Orange County, Calif.) lead the charge in the second half, posting season-highs in points (16), rebounds (6, matching last night’s total), and assists (4). Thirteen of Phillips’ 16 points came in the second half of the setback at the Sprint Center.
“I’m proud of these guys for staying with it and turning it around in the second half,” head coach Kim Anderson said. “We had the necessary opportunities to come away with a victory, but just couldn’t convert. I’m proud of these guys’ effort.”
Joining Phillips in double figures was freshman forward Kevin Puryear (Blue Springs, Mo.) with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Tuesday was the fourth time in five games Puryear has posted double-digits in scoring. Senior forward Ryan Rosburg (Chesterfield, Mo.), who started his 50th game as a Tiger on Tuesday, led the team with nine rebounds, the most rebounds he has recorded since grabbing 12 against Georgia on Feb. 25, 2014.
In the first half, Northwestern connected on 6-of-7 field goal attempts during a 22-4 run to open a 31-11 lead in the game’s first 13 minutes. After the under-eight media timeout, Mizzou went on a 6-0 run of its own to cut the deficit to 14. Puryear scored the first four points of the run, followed by a two-handed slam from Rosburg off a pick-and-roll. Despite connecting on only four more shots than Mizzou in the half (13-9), seven of the Wildcats’ shots came from beyond the arc and Northwestern took a 14-point lead into the locker room at halftime, 38-24.
The Tigers came out of the gates firing in the second half, opening the half on a 5-0 run thanks to a three-pointer from junior guard Wes Clark (Detroit, Mich.) and a steal from Phillips on the defensive end which resulted in a layup for him in transition on the other end. Mizzou cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the 12:39 mark in the first half when Phillips connected on a three-pointer off an out-of-bounds save from freshman guard Cullen VanLeer (Pacific, Mo.) with 12:46 left in the game. After trading baskets back-and-forth, Puryear connected on a free throw with 34 seconds to play to cut Northwestern’s lead to three. It would be the closest the Tigers would get, as Northwestern converted 2-of-4 free throws in the final 30 seconds to pull out a 67-62 nail biter.
Mizzou will take a six-day break away from action and return to Mizzou Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 1, when the Tigers host Arkansas State. The game is slated to tipoff at 8 p.m., on the SEC Network.