On Saturday, the #25 Missouri Tigers (12-1) closed out the pre-conference portion of their 2013-2014 season with a 69-59 win over the Long Beach State 49ers (4-10).
"In the second half, I thought we really executed," explained Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith. "We made some adjustments attacking that match-up zone, and we got some good looks."
In addition, Missouri did a better job on the boards in the 2nd half, and held LBSU to just 33% from the field for the game. Meanwhile, Missouri shot 52% from the field, as the Tigers got 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from Jabari Brown, and 6 points and 11 rebounds on 3-of-4 shooting from Ryan Rosburg. Missouri outscored LBSU 28-14 in the paint.
After a sluggish start, Missouri trailed for much of the 1st half. But with 7:35 remaining in the 1st half, Tyler Lamb picked up his second foul and went to the bench for the remainder of the half. During his absence from the floor, the Tigers began to cut into the 49ers lead, and Missouri overtook Long Beach State on the scoreboard near the end of the half. Missouri took a 37-34 lead to the halftime locker room.
Missouri opened the 2nd half by attacking the basket, and the Tigers quickly opened up a 45-35 lead with 16:48 remaining in the game. Missouri extended their lead to 51-38 on a 3-PT shot by Wes Clark with 13:39 remaining.
Long Beach State battled back and had cut Missouri's lead to 57-55 when Tony Criswell grabbed a man-size offensive rebound and got fouled on the put-back attempt. Criswell made both FTs to extend Missouri's lead to 59-55 with 5:05 remaining.
Coming out of a timeout, Jabari Brown hit a 3-PT shot to push the Tigers lead out to 64-57 with 2:20 remaining. From there, Earnest Ross made 5-of-6 FTs down the stretch to secure the win for Mizzou.
Following the game, Frank Hath addressed the media about his team's latest victory and answered some questions.
"Obviously, it was a really good win for us. Long Beach State is a really good ball club and well coached. I have a lot of respect for Dan (Monson) and the job he does. Getting (Tyler) Lamb gives him another player who can really score the ball. It was just a really gritty win for us going into league play. I thought we, coming off a break, established ourselves and gave ourselves the opportunity to finish off the game right."
On the changes in rebounding throughout the game…
"We were not alert and they were attacking the glass and we were just not blocking out and offensive rebounding. The first eight minutes they had seven. I thought we did a much better job there at the end of the first half and into the second half. Then, that is one of the struggles of this team is our ability to rebound the ball and we didn't do a good job there. It was one of the first times we have come off a three-day break and I was encouraged how we played. Long Beach State is a really good team. I think they are going to contend for their league championship and if you look at their schedule they played some really good teams on the road."
On the confidence in the team going into league play…
"We are two free throws away from being 13-0. So, I think we are in good shape. We are a stop away from being 13-0. I think we played a really good schedule and I think our BPI is in the top 20 in the country so; we played a really good schedule. I like where we are at right now."
Post Game Notes•
The win improved Mizzou's consecutive non-conference home game win streak to 81, dating back to early in the 2005-06 season.•
Missouri's victory also increased its nation-leading home-court winning streak to 26 games, dating back to the final home game of the 2011-12 season.•
The Tigers improved to 41-1 all-time at Mizzou Arena under Head Coach Frank Haith.•
The Tigers shot 52.2 percent (24-46) from the floor to mark their seventh game shooting at least 50 percent of the year.•
Junior Jabari Brown scored a game high 22 points to post his fourth 20-point outing of the season and the 10th of his college career. Missouri is 10-0 all-time when Brown scores 20+ points.•
Sophomore Ryan Rosburg pulled down a career high 11 rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Rosburg's previous personal best was nine, which he recorded against Southern Illinois on Nov. 12, 2013.•
Brown, senior Earnest Ross and junior Jordan Clarkson all reached double figures in scoring with 22 points, 16 points and 11 points, respectively. The double figure scoring outing was the 13th of the year for both Brown and Clarkson, while Ross scored at least 10 points for the 11th time this season.