COLUMBIA (KMOX) — Coach Frank Haith’s squad has been rock solid at Mizzou Arena this season (14-0), but the road has been unkind to the Tigers (0-5). Missouri was finally able to break that barrier Wednesday night. In fact, they shattered it, defeating the Mississippi State Bulldogs 78-36.
The Tigers have struggled to be tough on defense when playing away games, but this game was an entirely different story. Mizzou held Mississippi State scoreless for the first 9 minutes and 17 seconds of the contest. Missouri led by a score of 34-10 at the half.
Not only were the Tigers relentless on defense, they also shared the ball offensively. As a team, Mizzou had 21 assists to go along with a solid 43 rebounds. While Mississippi State may not be the most talented team in the SEC, this first road win could play a big role in Missouri’s confidence for upcoming games (4 of their final 7 games in the regular season are on the road).
The Tigers had several players deliver big performances during their victory. Pepperdine transfer Keion Bell led the team with 24 points, matching his season high. Oregon transfer Jabari Brown also contributed with 20 points of his own. Meanwhile, junior PG Phil Pressey (whose quality of play is often key to Mizzou’s success) managed to dish 8 assists. Connecticut transfer Alex Oriakhi dominated the boards as usual with 10 rebounds. Frank Haith’s son, freshman walk-on Corey Haith, was even able to play a part in the Tigers’ win by putting up 5 points.
Coach Haith’s team has a tough test ahead of them, facing Florida, Kentucky and Arkansas (twice) in their last set of games. But if the past two games are any indication, Mizzou’s level of play could be dangerous entering the final stretch of the season, and then the NCAA tournament. The Tigers seem to be finding their rhythm just in time for the big dance.
– A. Kastman
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