UCLA opened up three different 10 point leads, but needed a rally of its own to get the game into overtime before finally knocking off No. 7 Missouri 97-94 late Friday Night in one of those weird, crazy, classic games where Missouri (10-2) was chasing all night long, then blew a nine-point lead in the final minutes.
Phil Pressey simply dominated, scoring 19 points and shattered a school record with 19 assists – just three shy of the NCAA record – but it still wasn’t enough for the Tigers. Flip, the junior point guard, began a 12-0 run that gave the Tigers their biggest lead 86-77 with five straight points. Flip’s 3-pointer put Missouri up 79-77 – the Tigers second lead of the half (the other was 74-73). Back-to-back Earnest Ross and Keion Bell steals and breakaway dunks gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the game up to that point, 83-77. Then a Pressey-to-Bowers slip play + And 1 made it 86-77 and Missouri seemed in control for the first time all night and there was just 5:34 left to play.
But, the Tigers scored just two points the rest of regulation. They had the ball twice with the chance to extend the lead into double figures, but failed to convert, a trend that was all too common down the stretch – where they were plagued with one awful possession after another. UCLA scored the next nine points to tie it back up at 86-86 with 1:45 left. Pressey fell down, maintains his dribble, dribbles into a double team dishes to Bowers for a dunk and a 88-86 with 1:15 to play gave Missouri an 88-86 lead, but Jordan Adams drove the lane and scored on freshman Negus Webster-Chan, who was mysteriously in the game for Pressey, to tie it at 88. Missouri got off two shots in the final five seconds, but none was a good look after Jabari Brown, who made four 3’s in the game, took the inbounds pass and fumbled it. Pressey did not touch the ball.
Shabazz Muhammad, the freshman phenom who dropped 27 points, scored seven of UCLA’s nine points in overtime, including two 3’s – one with just under a minute to play that gave the Bruins a 95-93 lead after Ross had made two FT’s to give the Tigers a lead. Ross missed one of two free throws and Travis Wear hit a turnaround jumper inside for a 97-94 Bruin lead. Pressey missed a potential game-tier and Bowers was way off on a desperation three falling into the Missouri bench, and it was over.
UCLA answered Mizzou opening the game with a 5-0 spurt by taking a 23-11, capped off by a 15-0 run. Missouri clawed back, but still trailed 33-23 with seven minutes left in the half. A 12-4 run tied the game with 3:45 left off a Ross 3, then another one gave Tigers their first lead since 11-10, 44-41, capping off a 16-4 run. Fittingly, after a WILD and CRAZY and very entertaining first half, it was 47-47 at halftime.
The pace continued in the second half, and despite trailing for most of it, Missouri put themselves in position to win the game with the 12-0 run. Yes, the West Coast officiating was awful. But, it had no effect on Missouri scoring just two points in the final 5:34 and blowing a 9-point lead, getting outscored 11-2. Yes, Pressey was intentionally fouled – and it was obvious – at the end of regulation as UCLA was giving their fouls to cut down on some time. Yes, that would have likely won it for Missouri with two free throws and the ball back, but the Tigers still had the ball with a chance to win and didn’t. Missouri lost the game with poor execution down the stretch, which carried over into OT.
Pressey is just so amazing to watch. He was phenomenal again. One game after being the most important player on the court while starting 0-15 from the field and missing 16 shots, he showed his worth again tonight. He had six assists before he even took his first shot and took the ball out of the hands of UCLA bigs twice and went coast-to-coast for a floater and an assist. He simply dominated in the first half and continued to do so for 37 minutes. He sat out at the 2:42 mark of the first half and sat for just two offensive possessions after replacement NWC missed a dribble-drive contested lay-up and then traveled. Just like I said after the Illinois game, Pressey will have to play nearly 40 minutes in close games. Pressey played a role in 15 of the 19 first half field goals – 12 assists and made three shots and contributed for 71.1% of the Tigers offense, making eight of the Tigers 38 shots and assisting on 19 more. He could have had 20 assists, but Bell missed a wide-open chippy in OT. Pressey and Bowers ran the slip to perfection in the first half, as L-Bow scored six of his eight in the half on the play and twice more in the second half. Bowers, in what seemed like a relatively quiet day, scored 17 points and all eight of his makes were set up by Pressey assists.
Bowers also ripped down nine boards. He, like Flip, is having a phenomenal year. Pressey made some mistakes and some very risky passes down the stretch, but that is Flip being Flip. You take that for him. It is what makes him what he is. Anyone that wants to complain about him after the game he had knows nothing about basketball.
- Keion Bell put together his best half of the season in front of the hometown fans, scoring 13 on 6-of-7 shooting, including two tip-ins. The 98% FT shooter, did miss one at the line. He finished with a season-high 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
- Missouri, the No. 1 rebounding team in the nation and third in margin, did it again on the boards with a 50-36 edge.
- At one point in the first half, the Tigers were outscored 17-0 in points off turnovers.
- Pressey’s 12 assists were the Tigers only first-half assists and he had 19 of 20 for the game. The 12 first-half assist tied a career-high.
- Missouri had five players in double-figures, with Ross (16) and Brown (14) joining Pressey, Bowers and Bell.
- Missouri’s transition was defense was atrocious. I mean Mike Anderson atrocious. The Bruins made a living for most of the game at simply beating Missouri down the court and getting easy, open shots. Even when Missouri forced the Bruins into a halfcourt situation, the Wear Twins – Travis and Danny, who combined to score 38 points on 18-27 shooting – were very tough to guard with their face-up shooting.
- UCLA shot 3-14 to start the game, but went 17-30 the rest of the half and shot 50.6% from the field, and it seemed much better than that. Some credit goes to UCLA here, as they were the best offensively skilled team Missouri had faced all year, but the defense was very, very bad.
- Alex Oriakhi had a rough day. He was called for two offensive fouls in two of Missouri’s first three second half possessions and was also T’d up in the first half for his protest of a traveling call and spent much of the second half of the second half on the bench. He had some huge, physical boards, including a follow that tied up the game to end the first half, but seemed to be too amped up. He finished with five points, seven rebounds.
- UCLA opened the second half of a 16-7 run.
- Pressey earned his school record 14th assists at the 14-minute mark of the second half. The previous record holders were Stefhon Hannah and Melvin Booker. The 19 assists tied the SEC single-game record, were the most by a Power 6 Conference player since Mateen Cleaves had 20 in 2000 for Michigan St. and the most by any player since Alabama State’s Brandon Brooks had 20 in 2008. Avery Johnson and Sherman Douglas share the NCAA record of 22. Pressey has five games of 12 or more assist in his career. There have only been four other Tigers to get 12 or more COMBINED in school history.
- The point guard showdown was obviously won by Pressey, but Larry Drew II, son of a former Missouri great, dished out 12 of his own.
- The Tigers shot 47.5 percent and made 12 3-point baskets, but UCLA had only six turnovers to Missouri’s 17.
- Missouri still has just one all-time win against UCLA, as a 12-seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in the 2002 NCAA Tourament.
Up Next: Missouri doesn’t play again for eight days, when Bucknell (12-2) comes to town for a sellout Jan. 5. The game was scheduled for 6 pm, was rescheduled to 3 pm.
|Laurence Bowers, F||35||8-14||0-2||1-1||5||9||0||1||2||2||3||17|
|Alex Oriakhi, F||19||2-3||0-0||1-3||3||7||1||0||2||4||4||5|
|Phil Pressey, G||44||8-22||3-8||0-0||0||3||19||2||0||5||2||19|
|Keion Bell, G||31||8-13||0-1||1-2||4||6||0||1||0||0||2||17|
|Jabari Brown, NA||39||5-13||4-8||0-0||2||7||0||0||0||1||2||14|
|Negus Webster-Chan, G||20||1-5||1-3||0-0||1||3||0||0||0||2||0||3|
|Earnest Ross, G||31||5-8||3-4||3-4||1||7||1||1||0||3||2||16|
|Stefan Jankovic, F||4||1-2||1-2||0-0||0||0||0||0||1||0||2||3|
|Ryan Rosburg, F||2||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Travis Wear, F||37||11-20||0-0||0-0||4||9||1||3||2||0||1||22|
|Larry Drew II, G||40||3-7||0-1||2-2||1||3||10||2||1||3||3||8|
|Norman Powell, G||23||2-4||0-2||0-0||0||1||2||0||2||0||1||4|
|David Wear, F||24||7-7||0-0||2-3||2||6||0||1||1||0||3||16|
Technicals: 1 UCLA ( ) MISSOURI ( A Oriakhi 1 )
Officials: Mike Scyphers, Chris Rastatter, Kevin Brill