Mizzou drops heartbreaker to Texas at home

Freshman T.J. Ford drove around, through and over the Missouri Tigers to lead Texas to a 72-70 victory at Hearnes. Mizzou's deficiencies at point guard have never been so evident.

It's not that Missouri's defense hadn't be exposed before this season. It just hadn't been so utterly sliced apart, seemingly at will, for 3/4 of a game by one player.

Point guard T.J. Ford ended the game with 18 points, 12 assists and 5 steals.

Missouri had few answers on the defensive end of the court all day. Time and time again, freshman Ford set up on the left side of the halfcourt, dribbled past a screen at the top of the key, and went right down the lane to either score or get an assist.

Now, let's be clear is a very good player and currently leads the nation in assists per game (8.6). However, he had a field day against a Tigers team that doesn't have an effective point guard of its own.

Texas lead by as many as 12 points in the first half and still held a double digit lead midway through the second half when Ricky Paulding caught fire for the Tigers.

Paulding lead the Tigers with 16 points on a 5-9 shooting effort. Paulding was cool and efficient, pulling up for outside shots during the second half run, and driving the lane and dishing at other times.

Paulding's 16 points were produced in stark contrast to teammate Kareem Rush's 16 points.

Rush shot 4-19 against Texas, with many of the missed shots taken at odd angles, early in the possession or too far away from the basket to be considered a high percentage attempt.

Arthur Johnson scored 14 points for the Tigers and gathered in 9 rebounds.

Clarence Gilbert apparently exhausted himself trying to defend T.J. Ford. Gilbert went 1-4 on the day and finished with eight points. In the waning moments of the game Texas gave Missouri three different opportunities to win or tie the game being down by only one point.

The first opportuntity was squandered by Rush on a quick, long shot that should have never been taken.

The second was two missed free throws by Paulding.

The last straw came on an inbounds play initiated by Rush. Instead of finding a WIDE OPEN Arthur Johnson standing under the basket, Rush threw the inbounds pass wide to Paulding who came down on the out-of-bounds line.

The loss drops Missouri into fourth place in the conference at 18-8.

Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories