With 72-67 win over Gamecocks, Mizzou has a winning streak
COLUMBIA, Mo. — For Missouri coach Kim Anderson, Tuesday night’s 72-67 victory over South Carolina marked not one, but two milestones.
It surpasses his win total from a year ago, when the Tigers finished 9-23, including a 13-game losing streak. It also gives Anderson his first back-to-back Southeastern Conference victories.
"It’s nice," Anderson said. "Three weeks ago, we would have lost that game. So, I think it says something about the maturity level that our guys have gotten to at this point. But we’ve got to keep going. We don’t have a lot of time to celebrate."
Ryan Rosburg scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds, marking his fourth consecutive game in double figures.
It’s the first time this season the Gamecocks (21-5, 8-5 SEC) have lost back-to-back games, after falling 89-62 Saturday to No. 22 Kentucky.
"Down the stretch, we were all clicking," Rosburg said. "We had so much energy tonight. I think that’s why we won. It felt like we expected to win and we knew we were going to win. When we went down, there was no panic in our eyes."
Duane Notice led all scorers, finishing with 21 points and six rebounds for the Gamecocks, and leading scorer Michael Carrera had 14 points and 10 rebounds, marking his eighth double-double of the season.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin credited Missouri’s resolve.
"They just beat us," Martin said. "They’re playing their tails off at the time of year where a lot people start throwing in the towel. That’s called coaching. That’s Kim Anderson’s personality starting to come through with these kids."
Missouri’s Terrence Phillips had 15 points, including five in the final two minutes, to go with seven rebounds and four assists.
Missouri (10-16, 3-10) took advantage of South Carolina’s early shooting woes, building a 33-25 halftime lead as the Gamecocks shot 9 of 37 from the field in the first half. With 9:40 left in the half, Namon Wright hit a 3-pointer in transition to give Missouri a 23-8 lead, its largest of the night. With 0.3 seconds remaining in the half, Rosburg fouled South Carolina’s Chris Silva, who sank two free throws, capping a 16-7 run to end the half.
Wright finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. He was just 2 of 7 from the field but shot 5 of 5 from the free-throw line. Silva had four points and six rebounds.
"The past couple of games, it’s felt like a different team," Wright said. "We just want to try to win all five games (remaining.) That’s the plan."
The Tigers teetered around a 10-point lead for much of the second half. After a 7-0 run by Missouri, Martin called a timeout and the Gamecocks responded with a 16-4 run, taking a 65-64 lead. On the ensuing possession, Phillips converted a 3-point play to give the Tigers a 67-65 lead. A jump shot by South Carolina’s P.J. Dozier tied the game at 67, but the Gamecocks would miss their last three shots, allowing Missouri to score the final five points of the game. Dozier had 12 points and four rebounds.
Tramaine Isabell and K.J. Walton each finished with 10 points. Isabell scored all of his points in the first half, while Walton added eight second-half points.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks ranked first in the SEC in offensive rebounding heading into the game, averaging 14.4 per game. … Guard John Ragin has missed the last three games with an undisclosed illness.
Missouri: The Tigers are now 10-0 when leading at halftime.
Prior to the game, Missouri announced that junior guard Wes Clark has been dismissed from the team.
"Wes Clark has failed to meet the academic expectations of the Mizzou Athletics Department and is no longer a member of the men’s basketball program," a school statement read. "Due to this issue relating to academics, Mizzou Athletics will have no further comment."
Clark averaged 9.8 points per game and three rebounds this season, and started in the Tigers’ first 25 games.
Trailing 70-67 with 24 seconds remaining, Carerra lost the ball out of bounds, but officials saw Rosburg in the area and ruled the ball last touched by Missouri. After reviewing the play on the monitor, officials reversed the call, awarding Missouri possession.
Missouri: Visits Arkansas on Saturday.