By Lucas Owens
Mizzou came into their game Saturday at Mizzou Arena against the LSU Tigers at 8-7 in SEC play, looking to finish above .500 at the end of conference play. However, despite passionate play from players who have not made too much of an impact yet this season, the Missouri Tigers could not get it done, and ultimately fell 86-80.
Mizzou’s Senior Day got off to a rough start, as LSU kept pace for the first part of the first half. However, at around the 12 minute mark, LSU went on an insane tear that put Mizzou down by 8 with only 12 minutes passed in the game. Mizzou continued to fall behind, part of which has to do with Xavier Pinson going down after hitting his head on a chair for a good portion of the half, until Torrence Watson and Drew Buggs came off the bench.
“Torrence brought us great energy to end that first half,” said Mizzou guard Dru Smith.
Indeed, he did, as Watson came off the bench for 8 minutes of play in the first half, and shot 3-4 from the field overall and 2-3 from three point range. The guard finished with nine points in the half, leading Mizzou. Not wanting to be outdone, Buggs had seven points in 13 minutes of play, but also contributed three rebounds and two assists in his effort to tie up the game at the half, with both sides equal at 40.
To start the second half, things actually looked up for the Tigers out of Missouri, as Mizzou continued to set the pace into the deep parts of the second half. Nevertheless, one problem started to mount for Mizzou: foul trouble. While nobody ended up fouling out, plenty of starters for the Tigers had to enjoy multiple periods on the bench to stay in the game.
LSU took advantage of that opportunity, and drove Mizzou back on multiple occasions. The biggest factor for LSU was freshman Cameron Thomas, who shot an incredibly efficient 9-13 on his way to a 29-point performance.
“I haven’t seen many young guys like Cam in a long time,” Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin said after the game, adding that “they have four guys that can make shots and make plays.”
Coming down the stretch, LSU was starting to inch ahead, but it was not until Thomas hit a three to go up by four with 3 minutes remaining that things got tough for Mizzou. Facing the end of the game, Mizzou’s decisions started to seem erratic, and at many times felt stuck in the fast break, not running plays.
At the final buzzer, Mizzou found themselves on the losing end of another game, their fifth out of their last seven. While Mizzou used to find themselves near the top of the SEC standings, they are now square in the middle at the seven spot heading into SEC play, while LSU will get a double bye next week. Mizzou falls to 15-8, 8-8 in conference, and now will face Georgia in Nashville in the SEC tournament on Thursday.
Edited by Tyler Kading