Missouri's Rally Comes Up Short

FAYETTEVILLE -- Sporting a black suit with a gold tie, Quin Snyder looked like a caged Missouri Tiger pacing back and forth in front of his bench during Friday's 66-63 loss against Arkansas in Bud Walton Arena.

The oft-animated coach has mellowed in his seventh year at Missouri. Snyder kept a calm, cool demeanor throughout most of regulation, rekindling his usual excited state on only a few occasions late.

"He was trying to keep us calm," said Tigers forward Thomas Gardner, who had 11 points. "We knew that if we stayed together, they were going to let us back into the game. We had to stay poised to give us an opportunity to get back in it and that's what happened."

It did. In the closing second, Marcus Watkins' three-point attempt after a missed free throw would have sent the game in overtime had it not bounced off the front of the rim.

"That last look was the best look any coach can draw up, but you can't draw up a play like that," said Missouri point guard Jason Horton, who missed the front end of two one-and-ones in the final 12 seconds. "It just didn't fall for us. The game shouldn't have came down to that. There was a lot of other things that happened that shouldn't have."

A relaxed Snyder leaned back in his chair after Gardner's three-pointer from the top of the key gave the Tigers an early 8-6 advantage. He kept an even keel even after Eric Ferguson's layup spiked a 10-1 Arkansas run.

He even stayed composed when his team didn't. After a double technical foul on Horton and Arkansas' Eric Ferguson, Snyder put both hands out in front of him as if to say, "Stay calm, it's OK."

"That's exactly what he was saying (during timeouts)," Gardner said. "He kept telling us not to worry and that it's going to be OK."

The best example of Snyder's calmness came after back-to-back dunks by Ronnie Brewer and Dontell Jefferson. That gave the Razorbacks a 53-39 lead, equaling their largest of the second half. However, Snyder responded by quietly walking onto the floor and leaning over to pick up a piece of trash which had blown onto the court.

He never panicked and players followed their coach's lead.

"Individually, our guys showed a lot of poise," Snyder said. "I think we get wrapped up, and some of it's youth and some of it's discipline, when something bad happens. We've got to be able to get quicker to the next play.

"Whether it's a tough call or a mistake and our reactions, those things lead to runs. There were a couple of runs (Friday) that had a big impact on the game."

Missouri patiently worked its way back into the game with a 16-2 run of its own after being down by as many as 14 points in the second half. A three-pointer by Horton and an 11-foot jumper by Gardner evened the score at 55-all with 4:29 remaining in regulation.

That momentarily spawned the old Snyder into action. He cracked a wry smile after Gardner's bucket and promptly began wildly waving his arms while yelling into official's ears or at players on the court.

Another Horton three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining gave the Tigers a 58-57 lead, their first since the early 8-6 lead.

"Our team grew up a little bit as far as playing together," Snyder said. "I thought our main guys were trying to do things too much on their own early. When we started playing together in the second half, things started clicking for us on the offensive end."

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