Columbia (KMOX) – The Tigers faced the Arkansas Razorbacks Tuesday night in front of a sell-out crowd for their final home game of the season. Emotions were running high.
Arkansas was being led by ex-Missouri coach Mike Anderson, who returned to Mizzou Arena for the first time since leaving the Tigers on a sour note in 2011. His return, coupled with the fact that it was senior night for Mizzou players, contributed to a fervent atmosphere.
The Tigers got off to a strong start, leading at the half by a score of 48-22. The coaches showed heightened emotions in a confrontation that both Haith and Anderson later identified as a miscommunication.
Missouri was less successful on defense in the second half, allowing the Hogs to score 41 points. However, that didn’t stop them from producing on offense. Coach Haith’s team put up another 45 points, winning by a final score of 93-63. Mizzou sustained a 58% field goal percentage throughout the game, and they held Arkansas to 43.3%.
Laurence Bowers stayed red hot as he scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for another double-double. Following the game, Bowers emphasized that the NCAA tournament is a focus of the Tigers’ right now, saying “we have our eyes on the prize.”
Coach Haith and the rest of the team praised fans for their dedication throughout the season. Seniors Alex Oriakhi and Keion Bell expressed their gratitude to Mizzou Nation for being supportive. Even though many of the players were getting recognition for their accomplishments, Haith singled out one. He stressed just how important Laurence Bowers has been, not only as an effective player, but as an influential teammate and leader, saying “you root for all of your guys, but you really root for Laurence Bowers.”
With their win on Tuesday night, the Tigers improved to 22-8 on the season (11-6 in SEC play). Mizzou has just one more regular season game at Tennessee on Saturday, March 9th. Then Missouri will play in its first SEC tournament, followed by the NCAA Tournament. Coach Haith’s team will look to keep up their quality of play in order to make a run at a title.
March promises to be a thrilling month. If this season in college hoops has had a theme, it’s that anything can happen.
- A. Kastman
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