COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri had been getting used to close contests before Saturday.
After playing three consecutive games that came down to the final possession, including two that went to overtime, the No. 11 Tigers took control early and went on to a 70-55 win over Presbyterian College.
Justin Safford, the team’s lone senior, had 14 points and six rebounds to lead Missouri (8-1).
“That’s the senior that’s going to help our team,” coach Mike Anderson said. “He looked really fluid out there and I thought he let the game come to him.”
Phil Pressey, a freshman, had a career-high 9 assists for Missouri — the same amount he had in his previous six games combined — and the Tigers had a season-high 23 as a team.
Pressey, son of former NBA player Paul Pressey, was one of Anderson’s most heralded recruits entering this season. He says he’s noticed the freshman point guard’s struggles over the last few games.
“That’s what we brought him here to do,” he said. “Hopefully Pressey aint pressing no more.”
Two of those assists came on electrifying alley-oop passes, including one to Justin Safford from near the half-court line that warranted the loudest ovation of the afternoon. Safford said after the game he was surprised the freshman saw him from such a distance.
“You know, he just makes the game easier,” Safford said. “Being out there on the floor like that with a guy who creates for everybody.”
Kim English also added 14 for the Tigers, including four 3-pointers. The Tigers connected on eight shots from beyond the arc in the first half alone.
Ryan Hargrave led the Presbyterian College Blue Hose (3-6) with 14 points, while Al’Lonzo Coleman and Jake Troyli each had 10. Hargrave came in averaging only four points.
(Copyright: The Associated Press)