Tigers falter, but hold on against Arkansas at home
Missouri basketball home game. Middling visiting SEC rival. Double-digit lead in the second half. What could possibly go wrong?
There’s a lede that could’ve been used several times over the course of this season, most recently against Texas A&M this past weekend. Unlike that forgettable outcome, however, Cuonzo Martin’s Tigers were able to hold on against Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks, outlasting Daniel Gafford and Isaiah Joe to win 79-78.
This time, the Tigers buckled but never broke, hanging on to edge the Razorbacks 79-78. Arkansas, down by 14 in both halves, got within a point with 10 seconds left then got another possession after an offensive foul, but all the Razorbacks could manage was a off-balanced shot that Jeremiah Tilmon pulled down for a game-clinching rebound.
Tilmon did more than just pull down the winning rebound too. The sophomore was once again dominant in his return from a wisdom tooth related injury, scoring 21 points on 8-11 shooting to go along with five rebounds and three blocks. Jordan Geist added 18 points and five boards, while walk-on Ronnie Suggs scored the five biggest points of his career late in the second half.
With Arkansas trailing by four, walk-on Ronnie Suggs hit a corner three with five minutes left that put MU up 70-63. Gafford continued to keep the Hogs within two possessions, as MU failed to draw his fourth foul and as a result, repeatedly sent him to the free-throw line. Isaiah Joe’s three with three minutes remaining cut Missouri’s lead to two, Pinson and Suggs responded with a pair of floaters.
Sam will have more in Study Hall later.
While it’s encouraging to see Missouri close out a win against a decent team, it’s pretty clear the Tigers miss Mark Smith desperately.
Mizzou has been shooting 28 percent from deep without Mark Smith. They were at 40.0 in the first half. Once those stopped dropping, the efficiency slipped. Arkansas’ PPS, though, has stayed around 1.22.— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) February 13, 2019
While Missouri has the talent to sometimes make up for Smith’s shooting, the sophomore provides more two-way consistency than anyone else on the roster. Martin continues to be dodgy about when Smith will return, though he was seen without his walking boot before the game. I’m still of the opinion he shouldn’t be rushed, even if that means having to miss another game or two.
Missouri will head to Oxford this weekend to take on Ole Miss, who has won two in a row after a four-game slide. The Rebels are good, but Missouri has to grab a road win if it wants to maintain any hope of reaching the NIT.
Barry Odom puts Tennessee — and other rivals — on blast
One of the major concerns surrounding the recent NCAA sanctions has been the fact that Mizzou’s seniors are now able to transfer wherever they want without penalty. And according to Barry Odom, there are quite a few schools trying to take advantage.
Odom said Tuesday that his 19 seniors are being “contacted and bombarded non-stop” by teams taking advantage of NCAA bylaws that allow rising seniors from programs hit with a postseason bans to transfer without penalty.
This is [braces for impact] actually understandable. Kelly Bryant has reaffirmed his commitment to remain at Missouri, but there are seniors at Missouri who may be inclined to play their final season elsewhere for many other reasons. Maybe they want to play in a bowl or maybe they’re unhappy with their roles on the team now. Whatever it may be, they have until August to make up their minds.
The real kicker of this story came when Odom singled out one of the Tigers’ SEC rivals.
“Everybody is going to have a bad day,” Odom said, expressing his frustration with keeping his players from transferring. “You combine that with somebody that -- who’d we beat 51-17 this year? Tennessee? Yeah, those guys. They are non-stop reaching out daily [saying], ‘Hey, come here.’ The grass is not always greener somewhere else.”
This quote is (a) extremely frustrating (b) also extremely pleasing? Everyone outside the state of Tennessee recognizes that the Volunteers are somewhat of an also-ran at this point, so it would induce severe heartburn to see any players leave for a school who the Tigers have taken to the woodshed two years in a row. Still, I have to admit that it’s pretty sweet to see Jeremy Pruitt desperately trying to poach from Missouri’s talent pool. If you can’t beat them, take their players!
I’ll just sit back and wait for all the Volunteers fans to angrily tweet about their last great recruiting class.
Yesterday at Rock M
- ROCK M RADIO: Opponents Alley with Sam Snelling and guest Kory Keys
- Game thread: Missouri looks to avoid third three-game losing streak of SEC play
- Missouri holds on to beat Arkansas
- CBS Sports and NFL.com both released new mock drafts yesterday. Both have Drew Lock going in the top half of the first round to different teams.
- Yesterday Sophie Cunningham was named one of 30 finalists for the Player of the Year. Today, she was named the SEC Player of the Week.
◼️ 24.5 PPG— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouWBB) February 12, 2019
◼️ 10.0 RPG
◼️ 12th career double-double
◼️ Career-high 7 threes vs. Vanderbilt
◼️ 43rd & 44th-career 20-point games
@sophaller is the @SEC Player of the Week!#MIZ #OurTownOurTeam pic.twitter.com/ehy6WHm7F9
- Speaking of Mizzou basketball stars, alumnus BreAnna Brock is continuing her esteemed international career in Australia.
- Hearnes Center got a makeover and she’s looking reeeeeeeeeeal fine.
- Mizzou is giving away the nameplates from this year’s Mizzou vs. Vanderbilt game to family members of the listed veterans. Cool gesture from the school.