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Battle Of The Tigers: Missouri Victorious Over LSU

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Missouri's Alex Oriakhi, top, dunks the ball over LSU's Andrew Del Piero, left, and Johnny O'Bryant III, bottom, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Missouri’s Alex Oriakhi, top, dunks the ball over LSU’s Andrew Del Piero, left, and Johnny O’Bryant III, bottom, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

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COLUMBIA (KMOX) — The Missouri Tigers played Saturday’s contest against LSU less than 48 hours after an impressive win on the road at South Carolina. Coach Frank Haith’s team was looking to keep the momentum going as they returned to Mizzou Arena to face the Louisiana State University Tigers.

Mizzou found themselves in an early deficit, trailing LSU by 13 points with 10 minutes and 31 seconds remaining in the first half. However, the Tigers found their rhythm in a hurry, leading at the half by a score of 43 to 39.  Missouri was able to bounce back thanks to 18 second chance points.

Coach Haith’s squad further established their dominance in the second half by making 18 of 29 field goals. They also took command in the paint, scoring 52 points and only allowing LSU 24 points. The Tigers won the game by a final score of 89 to 76.

Laurence Bowers continued his hot streak of play by scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Bowers represented one of five Mizzou players to score double digits against LSU. Alex Oriakhi also turned in a strong performance with 18 points and 10 boards.

Coach Haith spoke about the way Oriakhi and Bowers complimented one another, saying “with Laurence and Alex playing together, we do have a good chance to have a really good front line.” Haith went on to say, “Alex emerged as a player when L-Bow (Laurence Bowers) was out, and you saw him become more of a factor in our offense. Now L-Bow had to find his niche to get back in there where we get both of those guys playing at a high level.” Mizzou has proven to have much more success in the paint when both Bowers and Oriakhi are playing well.

Point guard Phil Pressey seemed to find a happy medium between scoring and assisting. Pressey took 11 shots for himself in addition to orchestrating plays for his team. He picked up 8 dishes, accompanied by 15 points.

Their latest win improves the Tigers’ record to 21 wins and 8 losses on the season (10-6 in SEC play).

In Missouri’s final home game of the season, the Tigers will play Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks Tuesday night. Coach Haith emphasized the importance of finishing their home schedule strong. “It’s an important game for us as we continue to get where we want to be in March.”

- A. Kastman

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