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Pippen Jr. Leads Commodores over Tigers

The Tigers put up a valiant effort in the second half, but in the end, they just didn’t have enough gas in the tank and fell on the road.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to build some momentum after beating Texas A&M over the weekend, Missouri headed to Nashville, but ran into Scotty Pippen, Jr. Pippen Jr., the son of NBA Hall of Famer and Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen, led the Commodores with 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half when the Commodores needed them most.

“He’s a scorer,” Missouri Head Coach Cuonzo Martin said after the game of Pippen’s stellar performance. “Anytime you have a guy like that on your team, in any conference, you have a chance to win games.”

For a while, it looked like that stellar second half from Pippen would put Missouri away without much of a fight, but what started as a slow game became very interesting when Missouri erased an 11-point second half Commodore lead to take a 1-point lead with 4:52 to play thanks to a holistic team effort.

“Our defense really led to offense,” Javon Pickett said after the game about the Tigers’ second half push. “We got a lot of pressure, we got out in transition going to the basket a lot, and just finishing around the basket.”

However, once they started trailing, the Commodores almost instantly regained their mojo to finish the game on a 13-4 run, and much like their performance against Florida, the Tiger offense disappeared down the stretch to lose 70-62.

While the end of the second half may have been thrilling, the first half certainly wasn’t. Neither team had a pretty performance. Combined, Vanderbilt and Missouri shot just 19-55 from the field 3-22 from three including an 0-11 Missouri performance from deep.

The only player who seemed to find any success for either team in the first period was Javon Pickett. After returning from a brief injury that kept the senior guard out of Missouri’s last two games, Pickett announced his return with 9 first half points on 4-4 shooting, and finished with 15 points.

“He’s just an experienced ballplayer,” Cuonzo Martin said of the importance of Pickett’s return. “He understands what’s going on and he was aggressive at the rim.”

After the game, one of the biggest disparities that stood out statistically was the the 35-12 difference in free-throws in favor of Vanderbilt. Stark differences in free-throw attempts have become somewhat common in Missouri games, and in previous games, Cuonzo Martin has voiced some politically correct displeasure with the refereeing, but that was not the case tonight.

“I don’t think the game was poorly officiated; I don’t think that was the case at all,” Martin said after the game.

After dropping this game, the Tigers now move to 9-14 this season and will begin to prepare for Ole Miss on Saturday back at Mizzou Arena for the annual Rally for Rhyan game.