The Jungle swallowed Missouri whole on Tuesday, as Auburn routed Missouri 89-56 in Auburn, AL.
This was a night-and-day difference for Missouri from the Tennessee game on Saturday. After shooting over 50% from the floor and behind the arc against the Vols, Mizzou followed that up with a 31.6% mark from the floor and 22.7% from three-point land.
On top of that, turnovers were a constant issue for the visiting Tigers in this game, as they were just plain sloppy with the ball at times. They gave the prized pumpkin away 16 times (nine of which were steals), which Auburn converted into 23 points.
Johni Broome bullied Missouri in the paint as well. The 6-foot-10 sophomore forward finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in this game, and Auburn out-rebounded Missouri 48-to-26.
Oh, and Mizzou hit their first three of the game at the 18:49 mark...of the second half. That stat alone reveals a lot about why this game was so uncompetitive.
The tone of this game was set from the start. For as hot as Mizzou began against Tennessee in the first half, they looked like a different team against Auburn early on.
The visiting Tigers turned the ball over three times in the first six minutes and started out 1-for-9 from the floor. Their inability to find any sort of offensive rhythm allowed Auburn to take a 19-2 lead at the 13:05 mark of the first half.
The southern Tigers applied constant pressure on defense and disrupted the normal flow of the Missouri offense, but at times Mizzou struggled to just hold on to the ball.
The Auburn lead ballooned to 22 with 7:52 left in the opening half, and an Allen Flanigan poster-dunk on Noah Carter took the roof off of The Jungle.
After that, Missouri manufactured a 10-3 run over a five minute period thanks to the ability of Sean East II to create some quality shot opportunities, which were a rare commodity in the first half. He finished with a team-leading six points and three rebounds in the first half.
Auburn responded quickly with a 12-2 run to close the half and regain momentum, giving them a 45-18 lead entering the break.
After scoring 44 first half points against Tennessee, Missouri mustered just 18 against Auburn. The numbers speak for themselves, as shooting at a 26.9% clip from the floor, going 0-for-8 from behind the arc and turning the ball over 10 times is a recipe for disaster in any game, but especially in a place like The Jungle.
“We’re a positive assist-to-turnover ratio team, and we did not do that tonight,” Dennis Gates said.
K.D. Johnson lit up Missouri for 17 points in 2022, and he picked up right where he left off in the first half. He scored 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, and after entering this game as a 25% shooter from behind the arc, he was 3-for-4 from deep in the first half.
“At this level, you have to be prepared for nights when players step up,” Gates said. “They fed off of K.D. Johnson.”
Auburn expanded the lead to 62-25 at the 13:22 mark of the second half, which became Missouri’s largest deficit of the season.
Bruce Pearl’s club maintained a comfortable advantage through the remainder of the game, picking up a pivotal win for their NCAA Tournament chances when they needed it most.
The shooting improved for Mizzou in the second half, but Auburn remained hot from the floor. They shot at a 46.9% clip from the floor in the second half, with Broome and Allen Flanigan leading the way with nine points apiece. Auburn became the latest team to exceed all of their shooting averages against Mizzou, and by a wide margin.
“It was on us tonight,” East II said. “We were slow a bit, and we just have to learn from it and move on to the next one.”
The Tigers will get a rematch with Texas A&M (18-7, 10-2) in their next outing. They will host the Aggies on Saturday, Feb. 18 on ESPN2 at 5:00 p.m. CST in the annual Rally For Rhyan game.
TAMU beat Mizzou 82-64 back on Jan. 11.