COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Tennessee reduce Missouri’s result in one with 1:33 left, and the Tigers had been compelled to do one thing they’ve struggled with all season: shut out a recreation.
In contrast to two current last-second convention losses, Missouri sealed one up Wednesday night time, holding on to beat No. 21 Tennessee 59-55.
“One factor in our two losses we had is our margin of error is so slim,” Missouri ahead Kevin Puryear mentioned.
Puryear led the Tigers with 12 factors and 10 rebounds, and Jontay Porter added 10 factors and 7 rebounds for Missouri (13-5, Three-2 Southeastern Convention), which had misplaced shut video games lately to Florida and Arkansas.
The Tigers discovered their rhythm within the second half, utilizing 3s from Kassius Robertson, Jordan Geist and Porter to gasoline a 13-2 run beginning with 10 minutes remaining.
Missouri’s 10-point lead with 6:43 left within the second half offered the Tigers sufficient of a cushion to keep away from one other blown victory. Missouri used a stellar efficiency from the free-throw line – 15 for 17 – to seal it.
“Our guys are actually good free-throw shooters,” coach Cuonzo Martin mentioned. “So if it will get shut, I be ok with our probabilities.”
Grant Williams led Tennessee (12-5, Three-Three) with 15 factors. Kyle Alexander had 12 factors and Admiral Schofield added 11. The remainder of the Volunteers solely scored 17 factors, and the group as an entire shot 38.9 %, together with 23.eight % from deep.
The shortage of role-player help compelled Williams into 35 minutes of play, a mark Volunteers coach Rick Barnes would have preferred to keep away from.
“We had 9 turnovers and he had 4 of them,” Barnes mentioned. “A few of that has to do with fatigue. We do not wish to play him 35 minutes, however that goes again to needing extra from our bench.”
Tennessee: The Volunteers had gained three straight to succeed in No. 21 within the AP High 25. Their three main scorers – Schofield, Williams and Alexander – did not obtain a lot assist, and so they’ll want extra of a supporting solid to remain ranked.
Missouri: The Tigers suffered by means of a pair of powerful defeats of their two convention losses to date. Missouri’s capacity to shut a good recreation is a promising signal for the younger Tigers.
POINT OF EMPHASIS
Missouri’s protection held Tennessee’s beginning guards – Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden – to only three factors on 1-for-13 capturing. Barnes harped on the poor play through the tail finish of the primary half, the place Bone and Bowden missed six pictures in between timeouts.
“We had been horrible with our guards taking unhealthy pictures and never attempting to do something,” Barnes mentioned.
Robertson credited Missouri’s robust protection for the shutdown of the guards.
“We made them pissed off, for positive,” Robertson mentioned. “We did not shoot it extraordinarily nicely, however we gained that recreation on the defensive finish.”
STRUGGLING IN THE SPOTLIGHT
After No. 18 Kentucky’s loss to South Carolina Tuesday and No. 17 Auburn’s loss to Alabama on Wednesday, Missouri’s defeat of Tennessee cemented a loss for all three SEC groups ranked within the High 25 AP ballot this week.
The defeats additional taint the weaker top-half of the convention, but additionally show a well-rounded center class of what Barnes calls the perfect convention in faculty basketball.
“I believe it is a typical SEC recreation,” Barnes mentioned. “It’s going to be like this all yr, I believe they’re all going to be onerous like this. It may be a grind wherever you go. Final yr it proved it was a very good league. It is the perfect.”
Tennessee continues its two-game journey with a matchup in opposition to South Carolina on Saturday.
Missouri hits the highway to face Texas A&M on Saturday.
Extra AP faculty basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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