The Missouri Tigers earned a spot in the semi-finals of the Guardians Classic with a 77-61 win over Houston at Paige Sports Arena Tuesday night. The Tigers struggled through a tough stretch in the first half where they scored just two points in over nine-and-a-half minutes. But the Tigers picked things up scoring 11 points final 3:22 of the first half. That burst continued on into the second half as Mizzou went on a 20-1 run. In their win over Brown the Tigers shot just 35%, but on Tuesday they upped that mark to 50% and hit 12-23 three-pointers. Against Brown, they hit 7-of-26 from behind the arc. The Tigers defense stepped up over the final 20 minutes, holding the Cougars to just 36% from the floor in the second half. Linas Kleiza led Mizzou with 19 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Thomas Gardner had 18 points, Jimmy McKinney had 16 and Jason Conley chipped in 14, hitting 4-of-6 three pointers. While the outside game got a lot of attention, Kevin Young played what head coach Quin Snyder called his best game. Young scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds. Mizzou will face Creighton in the semi-finals in Kansas City on Tuesday….Leo Criswell, a 6-9 forward from Coastal Christian Academy had signed a letter of intent to play at Mizzou. As a junior, Criswell averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. He chose MU over UNLV, Kentucky and St. Johns.
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