Mizzou takes wrong turn at Texas A&M, ends up in SEC cellar
For a half at Texas A&M on Wednesday night, the Missouri Tigers looked ready to win their first road game since last Jan. 28.
But they had to play the second half, too, and the Tigers proved no match for the Aggies in the end. A 62-50 loss extended Missouri’s road losing streak to nine games and dropped the Tigers into a tie for last place in the Southeastern Conference.
Missouri was up 31-24 at the intermission and held a 36-29 lead after 2 1/2 minutes of the second half before Texas A&M went to work. The Aggies scored 10 straight points in 2 1/2 minutes and rolled from there. The Tigers hit five of eight 3-pointers and shot 52 percent (12 for 23) in the first half but managed to make only eight of 24 shots in the second.
Beginning Saturday with Arkansas, the Tigers play their next three games at home. Their next chance for a road win is Feb. 4 at Alabama.
Sophomore guard Wes Clark wasn’t the best player on the floor all night, but he was for the first 20 minutes. Clark led both teams with 12 points at the intermission on five-of-six shooting. Two points came on an impressive layup that followed one of his four steals in the half. The Aggies put a taller defender on Clark in the second half and slowed him down, though he still finished with a career-high 18 points.
POST GETS A START
Senior big man Keanau Post was in the starting lineup for the first time this season mainly because he earned a chance, though the recent unproductive play of freshman Jakeenan Gant likely contributed to the change. Post didn’t do a whole lot with his chance, although he blocked three shots and outplayed Gant. Post made two of three shots, grabbed two rebounds and spent most of the second half in foul trouble. He picked up his third a minute into the second half and went to the bench. When he returned with less than 10 minutes to go, he picked up his fourth 20 seconds later but stayed in the game until he fouled out with 4:29 left.
FREE THROWS HARD TO COME BY
Based on my TV viewing, the officials seemed to let a lot of fouls go uncalled on both sides. Still, a disturbing trend continued for the Tigers. They shot only five free throws, making it three straight games that they haven’t shot more than eight in a game. As a team. They shot more (20) in an 85-79 loss at Auburn on Jan. 10 than they have in the past three games. In those contests, the Tigers have been out-attempted at the free-throw line by a whopping 70-19 margin. No coincidence, they are averaging only 46 points in that stretch.
While it would be convenient to fault the officiating for the disparity, an ineffective inside attack is a more likely cause. Johnathan Williams III, the Tigers’ best inside threat, has gone four straight games without reaching 10 points. He came close against A&M, though, with nine points on four-of-10 shooting.