(Photo Credit: Clayton Hotze- MUTigers.com)
The Missouri shooting woes continued Saturday night as the Tigers fell to the Tennessee Volunteers 59-51, white shooting a meager 36 percent from the field. The Volunteers used a 13-5 run in the final five minutes to pull away with the victory.
A 15-point, 11 rebound performance from Armani Moore gave the Volunteers the boost they needed to come away with their seventh win in the last eight games. The loss to Tennessee, who’s second in the conference with a record of 11-5, is another missed opportunity for the Tigers to garner a much needed statement win.
After missing out on late chances against Illinois and Oklahoma State, the Tigers appeared to be on the right track after earning a quality win against LSU. Though three straight losses to tough SEC opponents has Missouri back on the downfall with a conference worst 7-10 overall record.
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm early on as they combined for a dismal 1-9 from the field to open the game. The opening half remained relatively uneventful until the Tigers used a six-point run to take a 21-17 lead with 4:17 remaining. However the Volunteers connected on their final three shots and picked up a pair of free throws to hold a 26-24 lead at halftime.
A second half surge from Moore gave Tennessee a six-point advantage with 10:18 remaining. Though the Tigers sparked some offense minutes later and a three-point jumper from Tramaine Isabell tied the game up 41-41.
The final minute came down to free throws as Tennessee went 7 of 8 from the charity stripe to pull away with the victory 59-51. The Volunteers went 18 of 20 from the line, while Missouri made 3 of its 6 attempts, which came to be the difference maker.
This was another game that got away for the Tigers down the stretch, as they were unable to come through when it counted. Namon Wright was the only Missouri player in double figures as he registered a career-high 13 points. The Tigers three leading scorers Johnathan Williams III, Wes Clark, and Keith Shamburger went a combined 8-27 from the field for 21 points.
If Missouri wants to have any chance at winning games the top scorers need to make their shots. The live and die by the three-point shot isn’t working like it has in past years for Missouri so its time they try a new system. The Tigers also need to attack the basket more and use their big men down low to draw fouls and get points in the paint. Its imperative the Tigers convert on second chance opportunities and get to the line.
Missouri is next in action at Texas A&M on Wednesday Jan. 21. The Tigers don’t have a win on the road yet this season.
Deuce Bello (Missouri)– Missouri head coach Kim Anderson reinstated Bello after suspending the junior guard for five games for academic reasons. However, Bello was inactive Saturday as he rested a sprained ankle.
Montaque Gill-Caesar (Missouri)– Caesar returned to the Missouri lineup in limited action following a back injury, but went scoreless in nine minutes of play.
Kevin Punter (Tennessee)– The Tennessee guard registered 12 points and three steals for the Volunteers. Punter was originally committed to the Tigers last spring, but later decommitted following the departure of former Missouri head coach Frank Haith.
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