The rout was on early, as Missouri held Mississippi State scoreless for the first 9 minutes and 18 seconds of the game, at which point the Tigers had jumped out to a 14-3 lead. Missouri played improved defense on the road, and the Tigers held the Bulldogs to just 10 points in the first half, and to just 24% from the field for the game.
"I thought our defense in general was outstanding in the first half," said Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith, following his team's first road win this season.
Missouri out-rebounded Mississippi State 46-25, and outscored the Bulldogs 32-12 in the paint.
At the beginning of the game, Mississippi State was playing pretty aggressive defense by extending their half-court defensive pressure. Missouri was playing solidly on the defensive end, as well, and neither team was having success putting the ball in the basket. Then, Phil Pressey found Jabari Brown for a wide-open three to dent the scoreboard. It was the Missouri junior point guard’s 500th career assist. Keion Bell and Laurence Bowers each scored a layup, Bowers’ off of another Pressey assist, and Missouri led 7-0, with 15:25 remaining in the first half.
Missouri was playing good, solid defense, including doing a good job with their help defense, and they were timely with their defensive rotations. The Tigers were holding Mississippi State to one shot, and they were getting some easy buckets in transition, or at least on the secondary break before the Bulldogs could set their defense. Mississippi State finally got on the board when 6’8” 231-pound junior forward Colin Borchert hit a wide-open three. Missouri went into the second media break leading 17-3, with 9:50 remaining in the first half.
Both teams had substituted, or at least first-year Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Ray had subbed as much as he can with his limited active roster. A couple of minutes later, Missouri led 21-4, with 7:46 remaining in the half.
The two teams swapped baskets, and Missouri had maintained their lead at 25-8, with 3:37 remaining in the first half.
After another round of substitutions, Missouri was regularly beating Mississippi State in transition. Bell was having a big half getting to the basket in transition, as well as in the half court. The Tigers closed out the half leading 34-10.
Bell led the way for Missouri with 16 first-half points. The Tigers had out-rebounded the Bulldogs by a 29-17 margin in the first half, and through the first 20 minutes, Missouri had outscored Mississippi State 22-4 in the paint.
The Bulldogs had shot just 16% from the field in the first half. Missouri gets some of the credit for that poor shooting percentage because of their defensive intensity and focus, but the Bulldogs missed open shots, as well.
In the first half, Missouri had made hay by playing pretty solid team defense, controlling the boards, and often beating Mississippi State down the court for easy baskets.
Mississippi State began the second half with a little more poise and focus of their own, and they hit a few of those open shots. Missouri wasn’t defending as well, either. The Tigers had relaxed, and had lost some of their focus. Missouri led 42-22, with 15:10 remaining in the game.
Coach Haith had really gotten after his team during the timeout, and Missouri came back out and played with more defensive intensity and focus. Jabari Brown hit three jump shots in a row, forcing Coach Ray to call a time out. The Tigers had extended their lead to 51-23, with 13:33 remaining.
Less than 2 minutes later, the Tigers led 54-23, with 11:46 remaining.
Coach Haith continued to substitute liberally throughout the remainder of the game. Ryan Rosburg was back in the game, along with Negus Webster-Chan, and Tony Criswell. The Tigers came up with a steal, and Bell finished with a three-sixty dunk. Then, the Tigers came up with another steal, and Pressey went for a high-degree of difficulty, behind-the-head assist, instead of the easy one ahead to Bell. Coach Haith immediately sent Pressey’s replacement to the scorer’s table, and then walked to the center of the court during the timeout. Missouri led 63-26, with 7:51 remaining, but Coach Haith was not pleased with his point guard.
Stefan Jankovic was in the game, along with Corey Haith. Missouri led 71-31, with 3:16 remaining.
Dominique Bull and Danny Feldman got into the game.
Mississippi State was led in scoring by 6’0” 182-pound sophomore guard Trivante Bloodman, with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting