COLUMBIA (KMOX) — Head coach Frank Haith had harsh words for his team following their defeat in Baton Rouge last week. He discussed their need for passion, toughness, and their struggles with listening. One week after that disappointing loss at LSU, the 21st ranked Tigers looked to be in trouble again early against the Aggies. Missouri’s trip to College Station was an important test of the their ability to handle adversity.

And after a tough battle, the Tigers fell. Mizzou trailed for the majority of the game until the final minute. Senior Laurence Bowers sunk a 3-pointer that put the Tigers up 68-67 with just 50 seconds remaining. This play was followed by a turnover, which all but ensured Missouri the chance to win. All they had to do was wait for Texas A&M to foul them. It appeared as though head coach Frank Haith’s team would overcome their biggest obstacle.

The Tigers were finally going to get their first SEC road win.

But then point guard Phil Pressey dribbled the ball up the court, awaiting a foul, and attempted to pass the ball to Keion Bell. The ball sailed over Bell’s head, out of bounds. A crushing mistake. Texas A&M’s Fabyon Harris quickly netted a 3-pointer that put the Aggies up 70-68. This would be the final score of the game. Another Tigers loss on the road.

In a season rife with ups and downs for almost every team, Missouri’s road woes are preventing them from establishing consistency. While Tigers have proven their ability to be dominant in the friendly confines of Mizzou Arena, they can’t seem to translate those performances into road wins. Their latest loss leaves them with a record of 16-6, already one more loss than the 2011-2012 Mizzou team (whose regular season record was 30-5).

The bad news for the Tigers is that Phil Pressey continues to have his enigmatic moments. While he managed to create 13 points and 4 assists, he also turned the ball over 7 times. If Mizzou wants to succeed, Pressey has to take better care of the ball.

The good news for Mizzou (and there is good news) is that Alex Oriakhi had his best road performance yet. The 6’9″ transfer lead the team with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. If he can keep contributing like that, especially during away games, it could generate a spark for the whole team. The other good news is that none of the top teams seem to be able to put together a significant winning streak. As long as this trend persists, Missouri will have the chance to hang around. But for the Tigers to truly succeed come March, they’ll have to prove themselves on the road. Because unfortunately for Mizzou, there are no home games in the NCAA tournament.

–A. Kastman


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