Alex Oriakhi scored a team-high 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting, leading four players in double figures as the sixth-seeded Missouri Tigers beat Texas A&M 62-50, to win its first-ever Southeastern Conference Tournament game, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Oriakhi also had a game high ten rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. It’s the most double-doubles by a Tiger since Arthur Johnson had 18 during the 2002-03 season. Laurence Bowers, Jabari Brown and Tony Criswell each added in 10 points.
Mizzou led from start to finish in a game that at times was pretty physical and that played right into the hands of the Tigers. That style looked to have an effect on the Aggies midway through the first half. A&M shot just 24% for the game, while Missouri finished at 45%. Many of A&M’s shots were flat and bricks. Mizzou looked quicker.
The Tigers got a nice lift off the bench from Earnest Ross and Tony Criswell who helped spark an early run that put the Tigers up 12-4. Criswell’s layup with just over five to play gave Mizzou their biggest lead of the first half at 26-13.
Missouri played one their best, if not the best, games defensively this season. They were active on the defensive boards and with their perimeter defense and limited SEC First-Teamer Elston Turner to seven points on 3 of 17 shooting as the Tigers opened up a 21 point lead in the second half.
The other key, the offense ran through Phil Pressey and didn’t end with him. He attempted one shot and had four assists.
If there is one area the Tigers (23-9) need to clean up before their game with third-seeded Ole Miss (23-8), they have to eliminate turnovers. At times, they played a little out of control, giving the ball away 19 times. Other than that, not much to complain about in what was a well-rounded win for the Tigers. The game is set for a 9 p.m. CT tip.
Watch Mizzou’s postgame press conference