The final minute of Missouri’s 73-72 loss to Jackson State was not Dennis Gates’ brand of basketball. It’s safe to say that Mizzou pulled an Arkansas, after being a 20-plus point favorite.
Back to the final 60 seconds. Following a foul on Jackson State’s Ken Evans, Jordan Butler went to the free throw line with a chance to put Mizzou up two possessions, which highly increases the chances of coming away with a victory.
He missed the first one.
Okay, making just one would force Jackson State to have to come down on the other end and convert on a 3-pointer to tie the game, but the true freshman from Greenville, South Carolina clanked the second one as well from the charity stripe.
“Jordan Butler, you know, I know he feels bad for missing the two free throws, but more importantly, his teammates were there to make sure his chin was up,” Dennis Gates said.
Evans, who committed the foul on Butler, redeemed himself shortly thereafter off a Caleb Grill turnover with a game-tying layup with under ten seconds to go, a part of his team-high 22 points. With either overtime or a game winner on everyone’s minds, Nick Honor quickly possessed the ball, but was fouled by none other than Evans, who picked up his third while sending Mizzou’s veteran point guard to the free throw line.
Honor, a career 84.2% free throw shooter, like Butler, clanked the first one, but the second one went in giving Mizzou a one-point lead. But by missing the first one, Jackson State was no longer playing for a tie, but for a win.
With the ball in his hands, Chase Adams drove all the way down into the paint and stopped in his tracks before delivering a fadeaway jumper for his sixth, but most important point. Jackson State’s players and personnel jubilantly rushed the court, the only sounds heard from Mizzou Arena. The final score on MU’s newly installed (and 50% bigger) scoreboard favored the 0-5 visitors from Jackson, MS, 73-72.
“I’ve known Chase Adams since he was in seventh grade,” Gates said. “He’s a Chicago kid. One of the first recruits that I ever signed was Jerome Randle. Jerome Randle was like a big brother to Chase....(Chase Adams) goes into the mix no different than those guys, he’s got the heart of a lion and was tremendous for his team tonight.”
Jackson State storms into Columbia and UPSETS Missouri.— CBB Content (@CBBcontent) November 20, 2023
The Tigers were favored by 22.5 points. pic.twitter.com/mskpccaiYm
Missouri, which seemed to regain its composure with after a 20-point comeback in Minneapolis on Thursday Night fell to 3-2 on the season. What was supposed to be what some would consider an easy victory turned into a devasting loss. Following Mizzou’s next two games, they have a tough five game stretch coming up against Wichita State, Kansas, Seton Hall, and Illinois, where it’s likely going to have to steal not only one, but now maybe two or three.
A team that prides itself on a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, wasn’t its true self on the court on Sunday evening. Against Jackson State, Mizzou committed a total of 18 turnovers after committing just 17 total last week against SIU-Edwardsville and Minnesota. Gates credited Jackson State’s gameplan, which he also calls a NCAA Tournament-caliber team.
“Great game plan by Jackson State,” Gates said. “I credit Coach Mo Williams and his program. They did a tremendous job executing down the stretch, but more specifically, scrapping. I don’t think we won a 50-50 loose ball. I think they were the first on the floor for every loose ball, which is very uncharacteristic of us but again, I credit coach Mo Williams, and his program and like I said before the game, they’re the best 0-5 team in the country.”
To make matters worse, Jackson State was able to convert off of Mizzou’s turnovers winning that battle by a 26-17 margin.
“They converted those turnovers to live ball turnovers. It’s a big difference when you have turnovers that go out of bounds versus live ball turnovers,” Gates said. “They converted our 18 turnovers to 26 points, and it started early in the game.”
Missouri was able to take a multiple possession lead in the second half, partly thanks to Caleb Grill, who finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Every single one of his points came in the second half, including this electrifying reverse two-handed slam.
Grill also went 50% from behind the arc on three-of-six shooting. The Iowa State transfer has been a plus from 3-point land with a career 33.6 clip from behind the arc.
But, Missouri did not register a basket for the last 3:11 of the contest and the team didn’t help itself from the charity stripe. While Mizzou shot 49% from the field, including 38% from behind the arc, they finished at a 64% conversion rate from the free throw line. Jackson State fared no better, shooting 69%, but Missouri going 7-from-11 the free throw line is not expected from this team, especially in an area that, along with turnovers, also prides itself in.
“We’ve got to be able to convert,” Gates said. “I think we were 1-4 from the free throw line in last minutes. You’re not going to win games that way and there’s no defense in that situation so that’s all on us to convert those free throws.”
Mizzou will be hoping to get this bad taste out of its mouth soon. MU returns to the court on Wednesday as South Carolina State comes to Mizzou Arena at 6 p.m. on SEC Network Plus.