LSU’s losing streak extended to nine with an 87-77 loss to Missouri at Mizzou Arena on Wednesday.
Mizzou shot a sizzling 55.9% from the floor and 48.1% from behind the arc, and they also recorded a 26-to-10 assist-to-turnover ratio. Those are offensive numbers that any coach would dream about.
While multiple players got involved in the action, Kobe Brown was the star of the show. He poured in 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block. Brown had been receiving hype for SEC Player of the Year recently, and he made a statement in this game.
“Kobe Brown can shoot the leather off the ball,” Noah Carter said.
Carter, Isiaih Mosley and DeAndre Gholston combined to add 40 points as well.
Dennis Gates talks a lot about the “middle eight” of games and how important it is. That term references the last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
Missouri successfully won that period of time in this game.
The visiting Tigers manufactured a 9-0 run during a scoring drought for Missouri that lasted from the 8:43 to the 4:00 mark of the first half. LSU cut the Mizzou lead to 34-25 and reclaimed some momentum after stumbling through the start of this game.
Sean East II hit a floater to stop the run, and Missouri managed to reclaim their confidence from there until the end of the half.
“Our guys stayed with a level of focus that allowed us to maintain a lead,” Gates said. “We never trailed in this game, which is a major accomplishment in this conference.”
Brown was a major reason why. Everything he shot seemed to go into the basket, as he scored eight of the team’s final 12 points of the half. He even took a charge on the other end of the floor, showing off his defensive prowess that kept cropping up throughout the game.
Then, Mizzou came out of the halftime break by scoring nine points in the first four minutes of the second half. The spacing and ball movement from Missouri in this game really seemed to stump Matt McMahon’s defense, and Brown and Co. remained hot coming out of the break.
All in all, Missouri played their best basketball of this game during the “middle eight” period.
To start this game, Missouri picked up right where they left off against Iowa State. They shot 5-for-9 from beyond the arc out of the gate, with Carter hitting three of those. After taking a backseat to other players for much of SEC play, Carter reminded everyone what he is capable of offensively in this game.
“We’ve been waiting for him to continue how he started,” Gates said. “We saw him with no hesitation or lack of confidence tonight.”
The lead expanded to 25-11 at the 11:08 mark of the first half, and the ball movement was pivotal to that success. The hosting Tigers assisted on seven of their first eight buckets.
“I thought they put on an offensive clinic tonight, and they really hit us with that avalanche early in the game,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said.
Missouri continued to essentially shoot “heat check” shots over the course of the next four minutes, and nobody appeared to be cooling off. Brown, Mosley, Gholston and Carter all kept launching three-pointers no matter how tightly they were covered, and the majority of them went in. Every player on the floor for Mizzou played aggressively on the offensive end, and it shell-shocked the LSU defense.
Shooting 53.1% from the floor and 47.8% from beyond the arc generally bodes well for the team posting those numbers. Missouri led 48-35 at halftime thanks to that hot shooting and 13 first half assists. Still, LSU managed to hang around when they looked as if they might fold on the road.
Following the opening minutes of the second half, Missouri generally traded buckets with LSU while maintaining a comfortable lead. Gates’ bunch slowed down the pace of play, only hitting two three-pointers in the closing period.
Still, Brown continued to pad his stats throughout the half, and the Bayou Bengals never cut the lead to less than eleven.
The Tigers will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Starkville to take on Mississippi State (14-8, 2-7). After upsetting TCU during the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the Bulldogs took care of business on the road against South Carolina on Tuesday, winning 66-51. The game is at 5:00 p.m. CST and can be seen on the SEC Network.