By: James Stanley
COLUMBIA, Mo. – At Mizzou Arena on Saturday, Dec. 19, Mizzou basketball lost to the North Carolina State Wolfpack 73-59. The loss was the Tigers first home loss of the 2015-16 season, and the sixth loss in a row to a Power 5 conference team dating back to a 52-43 loss to Mississippi State in March 2015.
Mizzou lead the entire first half until the buzzer when NC State guard Anthony Barber drained a 3-pointer to put the Wolfpack up 29-28 and to swing the momentum against Missouri before they entered the locker room. The Tigers had a 10 point lead with 9:26 left to go in first half; however, the Wolfpack came fighting back and outscored the Tigers 62-40 from that point on.
Barber scored 33 points with 13 from the free throw line, nine from the field, and six from behind the arc including the buzzer beater at the half. This was the second game in a row that Barber scored a crucial 3-pointer as time expired.
Mizzou freshman forward Kevin Puryear scored fewer than 10 points for the third time this season after spending almost half of the game on the bench.
However, while Puryear spent time on the bench, freshman guard Cullen VanLeer had his best game since the game at Xavier on Nov. 17th. VanLeer scored 12 points on four 3-pointers with two rebounds and an assist.
The Tigers were outrebounded 41-29, and fell apart the second half. Mizzou left 11 free points on the table after going 8-19 and shooting under 50 percent from the charity stripe.
Head Coach Kim Anderson emphasized on his team becoming more efficient at rebounding and second chance points, but allowed NC State to score 20 second chance points compared to the Tigers three.
The Tigers next game will be at the Scottrade Center on Wednesday, Dec. 23rd against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the 35th annual Braggin’ Rights game. Missouri (5-5) will be hoping to disrupt Illinois (7-5) two game winning streak over the Tigers in St. Louis. Tip off will be at 6 p.m. CST.