It was January 15 when Texas A&M came to Columbia, and the Aggies had put together a great non-conference schedule and hoped to continue their hot start to conference play. They came away with a close win over the Tigers after trailing most of the game, winning 67-64. Mizzou felt like that one got away from them, and revenge was on their mind going into today’s matchup in College Station.
Both sides were desperately in need of a win as well. Missouri had lost their previous four games by a total five points, and A&M had lost five straight, including four straight SEC losses.
Cuonzo Martin, in his postgame interview, emphasized how he had been telling his team recently. “There will be a tomorrow, will you be ready?”
The Tigers were ready.
Boogie Coleman started the game aggressively, taking three shots from 3-point land and making two of them. That inspired a strong start from the Tiger offense, as Kobe Brown, Ronnie DeGray III, and Amari Davis got into the mix as well.
However, the Aggies kept pace, and the score was knotted at fifteen when the under twelve timeout came along.
Coleman continued to shoot well from outside, but Kobe Brown began to take over. He had 11 early points and just out-hustled TAMU in getting to the rim.
Their efforts provided a spark to allow the Tigers to extend their lead out to eight as the half approached its end. The Aggies cut it to five at the break, but a 37-32 advantage pointed in favor of the road team.
Both teams made great plays on offense because it was necessary. These defenses forced each team to make tough shot after tough shot, and they responded.
Coleman (9 points) and Kobe Brown (13) converted for Mizzou, while Henry Coleman III led the way for TAMU with 11. Mizzou shot 59% from the floor, while TAMU was a solid 41.7%.
This was yet another physical and tight game that Mizzou found themselves in, and so, the only question that nobody knew the answer to yet: Could the Tigers finish this one?
Trevon Brazile was the star at the start of the second half. He had two great put-backs and he attacked the glass and got some deflections to boot.
The Tigers held a lead at the under-12 timeout, but then the Aggies were able to seize momentum. Sophomore Hayden Hefner continued his hot shooting with a few three pointers, and two untimely Mizzou turnovers gave the Aggies back-to-back fast break dunks taking their first lead since early in the first half.
The Tigers continued to battle, led by a strong finish from Kobe Brown. He scored or assisted on virtually every Tigers bucket, and the Aggies had to focus all of their attention on him on the defensive side of the floor.
Texas A&M had a chance to tie it at the free throw line with under 15 seconds, but Quentin Jackson left the front end of a 1-and 1 short, and the Tigers would salt the game away from the charity stripe.
The stars showed up for Mizzou. Kobe Brown played a complete game, finishing with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assits. Boogie Coleman was hot from outside, going 4/8 from 3-point land as well.
“I wasn’t going out there trying to score, I was just doing what I needed to,” Brown said. “Coach put together a couple of things to get me isolated.”
“Kobe does a great job with poise, when two defenders come being able to read it and make the right decision,” DeGray said. “Sometimes when it’s two guys, he can still score, which I guess is just weight room for him.”
Trevon Brazile had one of his better halves of the season in the second. He was getting buckets off his hustle on the boards and cuts, and his presence on the defensive end was monstrous. His eight points and three rebounds were complimented by two blocks and countless affected shots.
Best of all, this team finally came out on top in a tight game. They nearly gave it away on a shaky offensive possession with under 20 seconds to play, but they appeared to get over that mental hurdle in this one. From start to finish, Mizzou was the aggressor.
“After the last couple games, we kept going into practice and one of the biggest points was getting rid of our mental lapses and mistakes,” Brown explained.
Cuonzo Martin agreed. “I’m happy for our guys’ resiliency, and their ability to fight,” Martin said. “They’ve done a great job to endure what happens after those tough losses, and we’ve grown from them. I’m really proud.”
The Tigers will travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt on Tuesday, February 8th. The Commodores sit right above Missouri in the conference standings and are led by star Scottie Pippen Jr., who averages 19 points per game and 3 assists. Tune in to the SEC Network at 8:00 CST to watch this one.