Despite a late push by the Tigers, Missouri fell just short of victory in a back-and-forth affair against Georgia at Mizzou Arena last night.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 16 with 9:42 remaining in the contest, capping their 17-0 run. Shortly after, the Tigers began to chip away at the deficit, trimming the deficit to only three with 54 seconds to go.
In the end, Mizzou couldn’t knock down clutch shots, suffering a 60-57 defeat at the hands of Georgia.
While it’s easy to jump to Georgia’s run, Missouri coach Kim Anderson tags the loss on missed opportunities early on.
“I think the game was lost in the first half. That’s the time where we had an opportunity to get a lead and make them play from behind, and we didn’t do that.”
Georgia challenged Missouri offensively in the second half, where the Bulldogs opened up a large lead. Yante Maten led UGA with 21 points and 12 boards, adding six blocks as well.
“Our focus was on trying to play efficiently on offense,” said Georgia coach Mark Fox. “We didn’t panic…I knew that we would eventually come back with the rhythm we’ve been playing with.”
Missouri’s recent scorer, Wes Clark, played just 21 minutes, most of those coming in the second half, due to early foul trouble. The junior guard committed two fouls in the first three minutes.
“It’s not very intelligent,” said Anderson. “They were not very good fouls. He’s our most experienced ball-handler. We need him in the game.”
“It certainly helped our cause,” echoed Fox.
With the loss, Mizzou moves to 8-10 (1-4 in SEC play) on the season. Terrence Phillips and Namon Wright shared the team high with 12 points while Puryear totaled seven rebounds to lead Mizzou.
The Tigers will travel to College Station for a difficult matchup against tenth-ranked Texas A&M, who Kim Anderson says is “playing the best [in the SEC].”
“I think we’ve made some good progress.,” said freshman forward Kevin Puryear. “Sadly there are no moral victories in college basketball.”