The latest “Bracketology” had the Missouri men’s basketball team as a 7th seed. I’ve disagreed with that assessment even before last Saturday’s game, but following that ugly road loss at LSU, I tweeted this was a bubble team at best.
Initial hot take:
Road game or not. This was a bad loss when you look at the missed FTs and gimmies around the rim.
This loss makes a strong argument why this is a bubble team at best #Mizzou
— Bill Pollock (@missourisports) February 17, 2018
Tuesday night confirmed my suspicion.
Facing an Ole Miss squad that had lost seven straight and were playing under an interim coach, the Missouri Tigers lost at home in overtime 90-87. The Tigers committed 21 turnovers, which the Rebels converted into 19 points and Missouri missed five-of-eight free throw attempts in the OT period.
The Tigers trailed by as many as 13 with 5:46 to play in the first half, but started to chip away at the deficit in the second half as the Rebels hot shooting cooled. Kassius Roberton led the Tigers with 16 points, while Jordan Barnett scored 15. In fact, six players scored in double figured for Missouri, who fell to 18-and-10 for the season and 8-and-7 in the SEC.
As we’ve seen so often this season, the Tigers couldn’t close the game out.
“Same things it’s usually been,” said Barnett. “Couldn’t close out the game, turnovers down the stretch.”
The Tigers last field goal in regulation came with 2:13 to play when Jordan Barnett dunked to give Mizzou an 81-76 lead. The Tigers committed three turnovers from that point on and never even attempted another field goal attempt. Jordan Geist was 3-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 29 seconds of regulation. Mizzou then went 3-for-8 at the free throw line in overtime for their only points in the extra five minutes. In fact, the last time that the Tigers made an actual jump shot in the game (not a free throw or a score on a dunk), came with 3:28 to play in the 2nd half when Porter’s three-pointer gave Mizzou their biggest lead of the game at 77-71. The Tigers went 1-for-9 the rest of the game.
“Inexcusable, lack of focus, lack of toughness,” was how Kevin Puryear described the Tigers latest setback.
Breein Tyree scored 25 points, including a game-tying basket in regulation, to lead the Rebels. Terence Davis finished with 19 points. Coach Cuonzo Martin is stressing that Mizzou needs to get off to better starts.
Mizzou will play Saturday at Kentucky.