The University of Missouri basketball team went into Saturday’s game against visiting Eastern Illinois with a 31-1 record against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference in the program’s history.
Make that 31-2.
The Tigers suffered their second stunning non-conference loss in five games as Eastern Illinois pulled off the 67-64 upset of the Tigers at Mizzou Arena.
“Eastern Illinois played great,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson told reporters. “I thought they outplayed us. In the second half I thought we really, really struggled to keep them off the board. Actually the whole game. … I’m not sure why we didn’t have the energy that we needed to play this game, but we’re certainly going to try to find it by Wednesday.”
Missouri fell to 5-5 on the season — the third straight season, under Anderson, the Tigers have started 5-5 — going into Wednesday’s Braggin' Rights game against rival Illinois.
Mizzou was led Saturday by nine points apiece off the bench from freshman forward Willie Jackson and sophomore guard K.J. Walton. Sophomore point guard Terrence Phillips added eight points and seven assists. Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear had eight points and six assists.
Junior forward Jordan Barnett, making his much-anticipated debut after sitting out following his transfer from Texas, had three points (on one-of-six shooting), five rebounds, one assist and one turnover in 24 minutes.
The Tigers shot 41.1 percent from the field (23-56), 16.7 percent from 3-point range (3-18) and 62.5 percent from the free throw line (15-24) for the game and each of those percentages dipped in the second half.
Missouri didn’t make a field goal in the final 3 minutes 31 seconds, missed seven of their final eight attempts and each of their final five. The Eastern Illinois victory was sealed after Phillips missed a hurried 3-point try in the final seconds after Missouri opted against calling a timeout to set up a play.
Eastern Illinois (7-4) got a game-high 22 points from Montell Goodwin and 16 from Demetrius McReynolds. The Panthers, who have lost to Troy, Saint Louis, Bradley and Northern Kentucky this season, shot 33.3 percent from the field (22-66) for the game but made seven 3-pointers in the second half.
“I watched every one of (Missouri’s) games,” EIU coach Jay Spoonhour told reporters. “They try to guard. I feel like they are working together. The ball has to go in. And if the ball doesn’t go in — I’ve said it about our team, it’s like trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip — and that’s kind of how it feels sometimes. When the ball doesn’t go in, it’s hard.”
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