I mentioned on my sports reports today that it would take time for the 15th ranked Missouri Tigers to come together as a team with so many new faces and on Thursday night, during the season opener with Western Illinois, the Tigers showed that inconsistency as times. However, MU came up big at the end to come away with a 66-61 win at Mizzou Arena.

The Tigers shot just 41% from the floor and 52% from the free throw line. WIU led for over four minutes into the game going up 9-7 until Marcus Denmon’s three pointer gave the Tigers their first lead with 14:12 to play after a sloppy start by Mizzou. The Tigers wouldn’t regain the lead until Steve Moore hit a jump shot with 7:43 to play to go up 19-17. Moore would hit his first career three pointer at the end of the first half to build a 34-29 lead.

Mizzou opened that lead nine in the first minute of the second half, but WIU kept the game within reach until 8:31 to go when the Tigers were up 52-43. Back came WIU on a 12-3 run to tie the game at 55-55 with 5:18 to play on two free throws from Kamarr Price. With 3:02 to play, Price’s layup gave WIU their first lead since the first half at 57-55..

From that point on, WIU went 1 for 6 from the field and the Tigers went 9 of 13 from the free throw line to close out the Leathernecks. Laurence Bowers, Denmon, Moore and Freshmen Phil Pressey all finished with nine points. Bowers had 10 rebounds.