Mizzou suffers deflating 67-64 loss to Eastern Illinois
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- What was supposed to be a four-hour bus ride for Eastern Illinois coach Jay Spoonhour and his team turned into a 12-hour interstate fiasco as a winter storm made I-70 a standstill for many weekend travelers.
An impromptu taco run and a monumental road victory made the journey more than worthwhile, as the Panthers defeated Missouri 67-64 Saturday.
Montell Goodwin scored 22 points, including 15 in the second half, to help Eastern Illinois beat Missouri for the first time in four attempts.
"It's a really big win for us," Spoonhour said. "There was a long stretch in there where I didn't know if guys thought they could win the game. We were kind of looking around for somebody else to do it, and eventually, we made a few shots, and that was kind of it."
Spoonhour described being stuck on the interstate for nearly seven hours with thousands of other travelers and a bus full of athletes, which happened to be yards away from a Mexican restaurant.
"About three hours in, the guys said 'hey coach, man, can we get some tacos?'" Spoonhour recalled. "We're on the interstate, and I said 'no, it's illegal.' I thought it was really wise to not do that. About six and half hours into the trip, I said, 'hey, who wants to go get 50 tacos?'"
Demetrius McReynolds added 16 points and six rebounds, and Ray Crossland added eight points and six rebounds. McReynolds scored 10 of his points in the first half after starting 3-for-4 from the field, but from there made only 2 of 13 attempts.
The Panthers (7-4) took a 4-0 lead in the first two minutes before the Tigers mustered an 18-4 run, giving them a 10-point lead, the largest lead of the game. Despite shooting 26.5 percent in the first half, including 1-for-15 from three-point range, Eastern Illinois battled back and cut Missouri's lead to only two by halftime, 32-30.
In the second half, Eastern Illinois caught fire, led by Goodwin, who shot 6-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range.
"I thought they outplayed us," Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. "Especially in the second half, I thought we really, really struggled to keep them off the boards. You've got to give them credit. 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."
Every time Missouri attempted a run, Eastern Illinois would answer with an even bigger play. With 3:14 remaining, Frankie Hughes gave Missouri a 63-61 lead with a fast-break dunk, but the Panthers immediately answered with a three-pointer from McReynolds. The next shot to fall was a three-pointer from Goodwin with 1:39 remaining. Hughes finished with five points on 2-for-6 shooting.
The Tigers (5-5) did not make a field goal for the final 3:31, while the Panthers closed the game on a 6-1 run. Terrence Phillips was fouled with under a minute left, but made only 1 of 2 free-throw attempts. Phillips finished with eight points, seven assists and three rebounds.
K.J. Walton and Willie Jackson each scored nine points for the Tigers, and Kevin Puryear added eight points and six rebounds.
St. Louis native Jordan Barnett made his Missouri debut, having sat out for the last year after transferring from Texas. He finished with three points and five rebounds, including a two-handed breakaway dunk to give the Tigers a 55-54 lead with 7:31 remaining. His last collegiate game was Dec. 8, 2015 against University of Texas-San Antonio. He had 12 points and five rebounds in that game.
Spoonhour was an assistant coach at Missouri from 2004-06. Missouri assistant coach Emanuel Dildy played at Eastern Illinois from 2004-05, and was also an assistant coach for the Panthers in 2011-12, Spoonhour's first season.
Eastern Illinois: This is a signature win for the Panthers, who have no other Power-5 opponents on their schedule. Missouri had won the previous three contests between the schools, including the most recent meeting, which Missouri won 68-56 on Dec. 28, 2005.
Missouri: The Tigers shot 16.7 percent from 3-point range, a season low. Missouri's previous three-point shooting low was 18.8 percent on Nov. 18 in a 70-55 loss to Davidson.
Eastern Illinois: Hosts Fontbonne University Monday.
Missouri: Travels to St. Louis Wednesday for the 36th annual Bud Light Braggin' Rights game against Illinois in the Scottrade Center. The Tigers lost last year's meeting 68-63.