Jabari Brown scored 24 points to lead Missouri (15-4, 3-3 SEC), who went on runs of 11 and 16 points in the first half in what looked like a sure blowout before South Carolina (7-12, 0-6) bombed away late in the second half to make things interesting before the Tigers iced it, winning 82-74.
Missouri scored the first 11 points of the game and then after the Frank Martin led Gamecocks pulled with 22-18, scored 16 straight to open up a 20-points, 38-18 lead and took a 38-22 advantage into the second half. South Carolina came out and scored a quick nine points in the first two minutes of the second half and cut the deficit to 11, but Missouri scored the next eight in just 53 seconds, including 3’s from Jordan Clarkson and Brown. Then, like South Carolina did most of the game, struggled offensively, and scored just 11 points the next nine minutes and Missouri led 62-44 with eight minutes left in the game and the blowout that people expected in this game was on.
Fans became uneasy down the stretch as South Carolina cut a once 22-point lead down to six with 1:18 remaining, scoring 30 points in the final eight minutes after scoring just 44 in the first 32 as Brenton Williams said “f*** it” and stated bombing away and was ON FIRE, finishing with a career-high 32-points on 7 3-pointers.
Some more after the jump.
- Jabari Brown: 36 Min, 24 Pts (7-13 FG, 4-6 3PT, 6-7 FT), 6 Reb (1 Off), 6 Ast, 5 TO, 1 PF
- Jordan Clarkson: 35 Min, 22 Pts (6-12 FG, 2-5 3PT, 8-10 FT), 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 PF
- Earnest Ross: 27 Min, 14 Pts (5-10 FG, 1-3 3PT, 3-3 FT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 2 PF
- Johnathan Williams III: 32 Min, 8 Pts (3-4 FG, 2-5 FT), 6 Reb (4 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 PF
- Ryan Rosburg: 31 Min, 8 Pts (4-5 FG, 0-4 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Blk, 2 TO, 3 PF
- Wes Clark: 23 Min, 5 Pts (1-3 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 TO, 4 PF
- Tony Criswell: 6 Min, 1 Pts (1-2 FT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 PF
- Keanau Post: 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 1 Reb, 1 TO, 2 PF
- Shane Rector: 2 Min, 1 PF
- After going just 2-for-9 from 3 in the first half, South Carolina made eight of their first 12 from downtown in the second before missing their last five.
- For South Carolina, Sindarius Thornwell ended the 11-0 shutout with two FT’s and made three of the first four Gamecock FG’s as they trailed 18-9. He finished with 14 points after coming in averaging 25 per the last two games. The second half, though, was Williams.
- Wes Clark finally hit a 3 to extend Missouri’s late first-half run to 15-0. He is 3-21 (2-12 from 3) from the floor in SEC play and has missed his 15 of his last 16 shots inside the 3-point line this season.
- Tony Criwell was sadly MIA again. Well, at least for the first half. He played a 6-minute stretch in the second half and did get on the board after going 1-2 at the FT line. After the game Haith stated that Criswell is not in the doghouse and it was about playing the players who gives the team the best chance to win. Apparently, Criswell, for whatever the reason, doesn’t give Mizzou a chance to win. Instead, Keanau Post was the first big man off the bench and fouled twice in his first three minutes into the game. Typical.
- Speaking of big men, freshman Jordan Williams III and sophomore Ryan Rosburg, both starters, were a combined 7-9 from the floor for 16 points a game after they combined to go 3-10 at LSU. Mizzou needs more, but it was a nice added bonus. But, Rosburg went 0-4 at the FT line in the final 1:30
- How amazing has Jabari Brown been? Wow. Four straight 20-point games, including three in a row of 24 or more and 94 points on 49 shots – including 16-23 from 3 – in the last four games. Wow. Extremely efficient.
- Jordan Clarkson added 22 points and Earnest Ross 14. Clarkson and Brown have scored in double figures in all 19 games this season and Ross has 10 or more in 17 games. The “Big Three” accounted for 73% of the offense. Missouri does not need MUCH production outside of the Big Three, but as the LSU loss proved, it does need SOME. Clarkson also led the team in rebounding (6) and Brown in assists (6). Ross scored 12 of his 14 in the first half.
- Missouri shot 54% and had a season-high 18 assists – this after recording just 12 total assists the previous two games. The Tigers had eight assists on their first 11 makes. Statistically it seemed like Missouri was winning worse than it was.
- Missouri made as many free throws (22) as South Carolina attempted, but shot just 67% (22-33) as opposed to the Gamecocks 81% (18-22).
- South Carolina is 0-6 in league play for the first time since 1998-99 and 0-7 on the road this year.
- Missouri won for the 43rd time in 45 home games during Haith’s tenure. One of the losses came to Martin and Kansas State in 2012, but, Martin is just 1-6 at Mizzou Arena.
- While falling behind 11-0, The Gamecocks waited more than 6 minutes for its first basket and shot 25.9 percent in the first half.
- The attendance of 12,033 was the largest of the season at Mizzou Arena this season.
- Outside of Williams 7-14 effort from downtown, South Carolina went 3-12.
Final Thoughts: Allowing 52 points in one half and 10 3’s to South Carolina is bad. Real bad. South Carolina is bad. Real bad. And, its going to be a long, tough task for Martin to win at South Carolina, to the extent that I don’t think he ever will and will either leave or be fired. But, this game was over at halftime and a combination of Missouri defense/South Carolina offense resulted in 7-for-27 shooting in the first half. So, maybe the Tigers let their guard down a little down the stretch? I’d say so. It’s still concerning that Missouri is unable to put teams away, even though the game was never in doubt…but, it ended up much closer than it needed to be.
Much like last year, close road losses leaves you wondering what if.
Missouri fans seem unhappy with this loss. But, last year Missouri needed a MAMMOTH second half run to beat this same bad team 71-65. If the popular sentiment is this team isn’t very good, then why complain about a win? You can’t say one thing and then deem in unsatisfactory that they didn’t win by more than 20. You can’t have it both ways.
Despite the brutally God awful home loss to Georgia – an inexcusable loss – Missouri is still really, really tough at home and will still be tough to beat home the rest of the way (I know, if you lose to Georgia at home, you can lose to anybody). Now, for that winning on the road thing. Missouri started 2-0 on the road this year, but their one conference road win is against a team that has lost 16 straight SEC games (Auburn) and they lost to a bad Vanderbilt team who has just seven scholarship players and suits just nine guys (but they did just win by 11 in College Station). Now, they get their next chance Tuesday when they head to Walton Arena to take on Suitcase Mike Anderson and Arkansas (13-6, 2-4) in what begins a six-game schedule that will mae a break the Missouri NCAA Tournament fate. After Arkansas is Kentucky at home, at Florida, at Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee. If Missouri wins their home games, they can lose the three road games and be 6-6. Win out at home and you have nine home wins. Find a way to win at Alabama and Georgia (Missouri WILL win this game) and Missouri is 11-7 in the SEC and 23-8. That should be enough to get Missouri into the tournament. Will they do it? I think it is unlikely RIGHT NOW. Can they do it? Sure. I feel better about their chances then I did a week and a half ago.