Mizzou Wins Championship

Missouri made a furious comeback to erase a 14-point second half deficit to defeat Iowa in the championship game of the Guardians Classic 78-77. Predictably, standing in the eye of the storm was senior guard Clarence Gilbert, who sank the winning free throw, carried the young Tigers on his back through much of the tournament, and deservedly won the tournament's MVP trophy.

If you wanted to ignore the scoreboard for a moment, you could say that Iowa lead almost every statistical category in this game:

Rebounds: Iowa 37, Missouri 27

Field Goal percentage: Iowa 48.2%, Missouri 41%

Free Throws: Iowa 20-27, Missouri 16-21

Oh yes, for all of the post-game complaining coming from the Iowa camp about Missouri home cooking for the referees in Kemper Arena, Missouri once again got to the line fewer times than the Hawkeyes.

Unlike last year's game in Iowa City, at least the disparity wasn't 5x!

It was comical to hear Steve Alford's comments after the game saying that he'd never seen anything like the mugging Luke Recker received at the end of the game.

What was funny about that was that we don't remember hearing Quin Synder complaining about the 50+ times Iowa was escorted to the free throw line against Missouri last year in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. I complained about it, yes...Snyder didn't.

While Alford complained, his star senior guard, the same Luke Recker, took responsibility for not making more shots and didn't make any excuses. Obviouisly, Alford could learn a thing or two from Recker.

What this game boiled down to was Missouri's ability at the end of the game to shrug off a poorly played game and go to what they do best: bombing from long range; Gilbert did it, Ricky Paulding did it.

Quin Snyder also decided to go to a full-court press which created opportunities and heightened the intensity level on defense. Missouri caused several key turnovers in the second half that allowed them to close a double-digit deficit against a very good Iowa squad.

And it shouldn't get lost in the post-game controversy that Wesley Stokes played himself a very good game, and had a very solid tournament. Stokes scored 17 quiet points against Iowa.

Arthur Johnson also battled hard inside against the best power forward in the nation, Reggie Evans. AJ's scoring totals aren't great, but the sophomore grabbed four boards and blocked four shots inside.

Iowa will get another shot at Missouri when they travel to Columbia on December 15th.

In the meantime, make sure there's a nice place in the trophy case at Hearnes for the latest piece of hardware! Congratulations to the Missouri Tigers!

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