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Live Game Thread: Missouri heads east to Pitt looking to remain undefeated on the road

Missouri travels to face a tough Pittsburgh team in the inaugural ACC-SEC Challenge

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 71, Pittsburgh 64 (Final)

First Half

  • Starters for Mizzou: Aidan Shaw, Nick Honor, Niah Carter, Sean East II, and Tamar Bates.
  • Pittsburgh gets on the board first with a free throw.
  • Noah Carter responds with a bucket on the other end. 2-1.
  • Blake Hinson registers the first bucket for Pitt. 3-2 Panthers.
  • Aidan Shaw finishes tough underneath the bucket.
  • He proceeded to collect a block on the defensive end, but Tamar Bates was swatted while attempting a layup on the Tigers next offensive possession.
  • Tamar Bates knocks down a 3-pointer extending the lead to 5-7.
  • Caleb Grill checks into the game and immediately makes and impact finishing strong off a nice pass from Sean East II.
  • Anthony Robinson scores his first bucket of the night giving Mizzou the lead back.
  • Followed by a response from Carlton Carrington. 12-11 Pitt.
  • Sean East II buries a 3-pointer. Pitt gets an and one on the other heading into the second TV timeout. It is all tied up at 14.
  • Caleb Grill buries another 3-pointer and Mizzou certainly doesn’t look rattled in this one.
  • Guillermo Diaz Graham adds a dunk on the other end. It’s still tied but at 17.
  • Nick Honor throws a bad pass resulting it a turnover. Caleb Grill avenges him on the other end and draws a foul while rebounding a Connor Vanover miss.
  • Pittsburgh already in the bonus at the 8:13 mark. Ishmael Leggett knocks in a pair and Pittsburgh leads 21-17.
  • Connor Vanover received a beautiful pass from Noah Carter. Missouri’s 14.6 assists per game ranks seventh in the SEC.
  • Sean East II cuts Pittsburgh’s leads to two with a midway jumper, but a Hinson 3-pointer extends it back to five.
  • East brings it back to within three with a quick answer on the other end.
  • A wide-open Zach Austin buries a 3-pointer, but Noah Carter finishes strong on the other end. Pittsburgh still leads 29-25.
  • Noah Carter knocks down a 3-pointer. Missouri has made five of its last six shots. Pitt lead cut to one.
  • Following a Pitt score, Bates hit a tough mid-range jumper, but the freshman Jaland Lowe scores on the other end.
  • Bates ties it up with a 3-pointer at 33.
  • And Bates gives Mizzou the lead with a pair of free throws. 35-33 Tigers.
  • Carlton Carrington ties it up, but Sean East II buried a triple on the other end with under 35 seconds to go.
  • Halftime: Missouri 38, Pittsburgh 35.

Second Half

  • Noah Carter opens the scoring for the Tigers in the second half. 40-35 Mizzou.
  • Nick Honor just collected his third foul. Leads to a pair of free throws by Pitt.
  • Bates knocks down another jumper he’s up to 12 points on the night. 42-37 Mizzou.
  • Carrington hits a step back three cutting Mizzou’s lead to two.
  • A turnover by East leads to a Mizzou foul on the other end. Tie game at 42.
  • Pittsburgh regains the lead with a dunk by Hinson. 44-42 Pitt. The Panthers are on a 7-0 run.
  • Anthony Robinson II collects a bucket and a foul. Tigers back up one.
  • Noah Carter extends the lead to 47-44.
  • East with another jumper. Missouri is up 50-44.
  • Ishmael Leggett breaks an 8-0 run by Mizzou.
  • Hinson cuts it to three with a 3-pointer.
  • A step back 3-pointer by Caleb Grill makes it 55-49 in Mizzou’s advantage.
  • A finger roll layup by East extends stops brief momentum by Pitt. 57-50 Tigers.
  • Following two free throws by Pitt, both teams trade possessions. Connor Vanover adds a nice dunk off of a beautiful pass from Nick Honor. 59-52 with under eight to play.
  • Nick Honor picked up his fourth foul but Pitt missed both free throws.
  • East knocked down a 3-pointer on the other end. Largest lead for the Tigers at 62-52.
  • Aidan Shaw with a monster slam dunk. 64-54. 0 points for Pitt in the last six plus minutes.
  • A couple of free throws by Carrolton ends the drought for Pitt. Still 64-56 Mizzou.
  • Pitt has missed its last eight field goals. Missouri up eight with under four to play.
  • A 3-pointer by Pitt with under three to play cuts it to five.
  • Nick Honor still hasn’t scored a missed a crucial free throw with under 2:45 to play.
  • Hinson cuts it to two.
  • Grill cuts to the basket for a tough layup. Four point lead with under two to play.
  • A lob to Vanover by Honor extends it to five. Under a minute and 15 to play.
  • Sean East II knocks down a pair. 71-64 Mizzou. 38 seconds to play.
  • East adds another. Pitt can’t score on the other end and...
  • Final: Missouri 71, Pittsburgh 64. A huge win for this team on the road.

Game Info

Time: 6:30 PM CT

Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2023

Location: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

TV: ESPNU


Pregame Updates

Today’s Preview

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The three game homestand wasn’t what we perhaps expected, but on the bright side Missouri came out 2-1 and still sits at 4-2 on the year. In Mizzou’s last outing, they got off to a fast start against Loyola-Maryland, but the Greyhounds were able to make it a closer game over the last 30 minutes in a 78-70 game.

Now, the Tigers head to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to face off in the inaugural ACC-SEC challenge. Pitt has began the season with a 5-1 record. It defeated North Carolina A&T, Binghamton, Florida Gulf Coast and Jacksonville. The Panthers split their two games in the NIT Season Tip-Off by losing to Florida and taking down Oregon State.


Projected Starters

Missouri

G: Nick Honor (Grad, 13 PPG)

G: Sean East II (Grad, 15.4 PPG)

G: Caleb Grill (Grad, 7.6 PPG)

F: Noah Carter (Grad, 13 PPG)

C: Connor Vanover (Grad, 1.8 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Anthony Robinson II (Fr, 6 PPG)

Pittsburgh

G: Carlton Carrington (Fr, 15.2 PPG)

G: Ishmael Leggett (Jr, 15.7 PPG)

F: Blake Hinson (Sr, 19.2 PPG)

F: Zach Austin (Jr, 8.5 PPG)

C: Frederiko Federiko (Jr, 6.7 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: G Jaland Lowe (Fr, 4.5 PPG)


Get to know Pittsburgh

NCAA Basketball: NIT Season Tip-Off-Florida at Pittsburgh Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh is led by former Duke (1993-97) guard Jeff Capel III. His father was a long-time coach at the high school, college, and NBA level while his brother, Jason, coached at Appalachian State, before joining him at Pitt.

Capel finished his playing career scoring 1,500-plus points, 400-plus assists, and 200-plus 3-pointers. After playing in the Continental Basketball Association as well as in France,, Capel joined the coaching ranks at the beginning of the century. He started at Old Dominion and VCU as an assistant before becoming the head man in Richmond, Virginia. From 2002-2006, he led VCU to a 79-41 record including and NCAA Tournament appearance.

In 2006, he left Oklahoma, so this isn’t the first time he’s seen Mizzou. With the Sooners he coached Blake Griffen and reached the Elite Eight in 2009 (Tigers fans remember this year really well). He was fired in 2011 after compiling a 83-69 record in Norman. This led him to becoming an assistant under his former coach Mike Krzyzewski for seven years before heading to Pennsylvania.

It’s taken a minute, but Capel has helped restore the roar into the Pittsburgh Panthers program. He took over for Kevin Stallings in 2018 and after four seasons the Panthers reached the NCAA Tournament this past March for the first time since 2016. Pitt defeated two familiar foes Mizzou saw last season, Iowa State and Mississippi State, in the First Found and round of 64, before falling to Xavier in the second round.

This season, Pitt has built off the momentum of reaching the NCAA Tournament but with almost an entirely new squad. The only returning contributors for the Panthers are senior guard Blake Hinson and junior center Federiko Federiko out of Helskini, Finland.

NCAA Basketball: NIT Season Tip-Off Third Place Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Hinson has played Mizzou four times throughout his college career. When he was at Ole Miss he faced MU in 2019 and 2020 scoring 19 points on March 3, 2020. He transferred to Iowa State before landing at Pitt but did not see the floor due to a medical issue. He averaged 15.3 points and six rebounds during the 22-23 season and almost declared for the NBA Draft before deciding to stay at Pitt.

The move has worked well for him so far as he’s averaging 19.2 points per contest while grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game. Currently among ACC players, he ranks second in 3-pointers with 19 after leading the conference a year ago.

“He’s one of the top players in the country, I believe. At his versatility, but also his ability to read the game,” Gates said.

Federiko on the other hand tallied 10 points against Oregon State in his last outing but his work comes on the boards, as expected with a 6-foot-11 center, averaging 6.7 per game.

Pitt attacked the transfer portal hard. After spending three seasons at Rhode Island, guard Ishmael Leggett made his way to the ACC where he is averaging 15.7 points and eight rebounds. Zach Austin was one of the best rebounders in the Big South at High Point. He’s tallied five-plus rebounds in every single game for Pitt.

Carlton Carrington has been a phenomenal freshman for the Panthers. The Baltimore native tallied 15-plus points in his first three games against Binghamton, Florida Gulf Coast, and Jacksonville before dropping 14 versus Florida while averaging 6.2 assists so far this season. Twins Gulliermo Diaz Graham and Jorge Diaz Graham return from last years team adding meaningful minutes.

This is shaping up to being one of the best Pitt teams in over a decade. As you can probably tell be reading this team knows how to crash the boards. They are in fact one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. Pitt’s 48.5 rebounds per game ranks second in the nation, its 32.3 defensive rebounds, fourth, and 16.2 offensive rebounds, eighth.

“They’re doing a great job of offensive rebounding and in six games they have close to 100 offensive rebounds, which is a tremendous stat,” Gates said. “But it goes back to the character of the head coach, you know, I truly believe they were able to identify some guys who are elite at you know that one thing and that is crashing the glass, getting to the offensive rebounds and creating extra possessions for their teams.”

It’s 6.2 blocks per game ranks 12th in the nation, Mizzou comes in at fourth with 7.1 per contest. With Hinson and Carrington, Pitt fires off the 10th most 3-pointers with 30.7 per game.


3 Keys to the Game

1. Crash. The. Boards.

I remember the Texas A&M game last year on the road where Dexter Dennis and Henry Coleman III led a rebounding charge that ended up contributing to a Mizzou loss. I remember Colin Castleton and Tolu Smith grabbing double-digit rebounding totals in Gainsville and Starkville leading to Missouri not able to come away victorious. Pittsburgh, on the road, is going to challenge this team on the offensive and defensive boards.

2. Don’t wait to heat up on the road

The last time Missouri was on the road at Minnesota it fell behind by as much as 20 points before unleashing a mad comeback. Pitt, a better team than the Gophers, is not going to let Mizzou back in the game if the Tigers are down by a large margin. Pittsburgh held Oregon State to just 9.5% from behind the arc on two of 21 shooting.

“You look at the scoring ability of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh has put up 100 points twice this season, but also their ability to hold their opponents to the percentages that they have had from the 3-point line,” Gates said. “We got to be able to knock down our shots on the road and concentrate and not wait until the second half.”

Mizzou’s has been a second half team in all but two of their games so far, those both resulting in losses. Waiting until the final 20 minutes of play to play your best basketball is not a recipe for success.

“We’re gonna go out there focused on being able to catch and shoot and obviously the environment will pose the threat,” Gates said.

3. Consistency from the Tigers big three

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

In the first and last 10 minutes of the Loyola-Maryland game, Missouri was able to establish a big lead while also closing the game out to improve to 4-2. The three main contributors to that stretch were Nick Honor, Noah Carter, and Sean East II, who combined for 48 of Missouri’s 78 points on Saturday. While Pitt has talent, Missouri does too as well and playing at their absolute best is a fun brand to watch. But, so far through seven games we still are searching for a consistent product. A consistent game will have Missouri in a position to come out 5-2.

“If we’re able to do that, we’ll put ourselves in a position that I think will give us an opportunity,” Gates said. “And that’s all we want on the road against a great opponent is to have an opportunity at the end of the game and ultimately that’s what we gave ourselves at Minnesota.”

Game Prediction

KenPom Prediction: Pittsburgh 77, Missouri 68

My Prediction: Pittsburgh 81, Missouri 62

This is where the road starts to get really tough. Memphis was a good opponent to face at home, and Minnesota was a nice road environment, but they just got manhandled by San Francisco. This is Mizzou’s toughest test of the season so far. Williams Arena in the recent years has had nothing on “The Pete,” and the Panthers have a good collection of players. If the Tigers would have put out a better performance against Jackson State, South Carolina State, and Loyola-Maryland, I could probably see them being competitive in this game, but at times during the three-game homestand, the Tigers didn’t look like the better team against lesser opponents. It’s a good way to see where this team is actually at on the landscape of the 2023-24 CBB season but this one could end up being brutal.