With 6:12 remaining in the game, Phil Pressey found Laurence Bowers right at the basket. Bowers was fouled on the shot attempt and completed the conventional three-point play to put Missouri ahead 76-60. From there, LSU went on a 3-PT barrage, with a pair of three-pointers from 6’4” 187-pound senior guard Charles Carmouche, and another three-pointer from 5’11” 178-pound sophomore Anthony Hickey, to cut Missouri’s lead to 78-69 with 4:30 remaining in the game.
It was then that Missouri dug in on the defensive end, and held LSU to just 3 made free throws over the next three-and-a-half minutes to extend Missouri’s lead and close out the hard-fought victory.
“Offensively, we were really good the whole game,” said Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith. “Laurence (Bowers) gave us a nice lift there in the first half when (LSU) went zone………………………………………. It was a good win! LSU’s a very good team. They played well here.”
Laurence Bowers led all scorers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Alex Oriakhi also posted a double-double, with 18 points and 10 rebounds for Missouri, as the Missouri Tigers out-rebounded the LSU Tigers by a 35-30 margin, and outscored LSU 52-24 in the paint, and 24-13 on second-chance points.
LSU outscored Missouri 36-15 from behind the 3-PT line, but Missouri committed just 11 turnovers against LSU, shot 58% from the field, and assisted on 17 of their 36 made baskets.
Missouri got off to a good start with a 6-0 run to open the game, but then the Tigers quit moving on offense, and LSU’s Hickey hit a 3-PT shot over Phil Pressey. Missouri led 6-5, with 15:33 remaining in the first half.
Missouri quit moving on defense, too. LSU’s guards were beating Missouri off of the dribble on the perimeter, and they were finding open teammates underneath or wide open at the 3-PT line. Coach Haith substituted in an attempt to find 5 guys who would guard. LSU had pushed their lead out to 25-12, with 10:10 remaining in the first half.
Missouri continued to struggle on the defensive end. Offensively, Missouri got back to going inside and attacking the basket, and Missouri cut into LSU’s lead. Both teams had substituted again, and Missouri started to play better defense. LSU led 27-19, with 7:52 remaining in the first half.
Missouri was doing a little bit better job on the defensive end. On the offensive end, Keion Bell drove into the paint and kicked it out to Earnest Ross in the corner for a three. Then, Ross made a layup in transition and was fouled for a conventional three-point play. Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi each scored on put backs. Missouri had come back to take a 38-33 lead, with 3:10 remaining in the first half.
A free throw and an elbow jumper from Bowers quickly pushed Missouri’s lead to 41-33. But Missouri failed to cover Hickey from the 3-PT line, and the nation’s leader in steals made Missouri pay, as he hit a pair of three-pointers to cut Missouri’s lead to 43-39 at the half.
Hickey had scored 17 points in the first half on 5-of-8 from behind the 3-PT line.
For Missouri, Bowers had 11 point and 7 boards in the first half, but he had gone to halftime with 2 fouls. Ross had 10 points for Missouri in a first half that was marked by scoring runs from each team.
As the second half got underway, Phil Pressey hit a three, then he came back with a layup high off the glass. On the other end, 6’9” 256-pound sophomore forward Johnny O’Bryant III got inside for a basket, and Carmouche was left open for a three. Pressey found Oriakhi underneath, and Missouri led 57-47, with 15:48 remaining in the game.
LSU continued to go inside to O’Bryant, and Carmouche posted up Negus Webster-Chan for a conventional three-point play. But Missouri came back down, and Pressey found Ross in the corner for a three, then Ross passed up a shot on the wing and found Webster-Chan in the corner for a better 3-PT shot. Missouri led 67-54, with 11:49 remaining.
Both teams were working to get the ball inside. Oriakhi and Bowers each had point blank buckets, and Missouri led 73-60, with 6:58 remaining in the game.
Missouri finished with 5 double-digits scorers, including Bowers, Oriakhi, Pressey (15 points, 8 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 steals), Ross (13 points), and Bell (11 points).
For first-year LSU Head Coach Johnny Jones, his Tigers were led by Anthony Hickey with 22 points, including 6-of-14 from 3-PT range. Charles Carmouche was 5-of-8 from 3-PT range for 21 points, and Johnny O’Bryant finished with 18 points and 8 rebounds.
“The last couple of games, we’ve been really good (offensively),” explained Coach Haith, talking about where his Missouri Tigers are as a team at present. “Guys are sharing the ball, we’ve got good movement in our offense…………………………………… We’re able to score some points! If we can shore up our defense consistently, we’ve got a chance to be pretty good.”