By: Matthew Terry
In what was arguably the biggest, most important game of Kim Anderson’s two-year tenure at Missouri, the Tigers played one of their best games of basketball this season Saturday, defeating the Tennessee Volunteers 75-64 and snapping their nine-game losing streak.
Mizzou got out of the gate strong, starting their scoring with a three-pointer from Namon Wright. The Tigers followed that up by making seven of their first nine shots and nine of their first 13, getting out to an early 23-11 lead. Tennessee got it to within four, going on an 8-0 run, but Mizzou ended its scoring drought and went into the half with a 38-27 lead, and it was over from there. Mizzou led the entire second half and most of the first, taking a 5-4 lead on a Ryan Rosburg layup less than two minutes into the game, and led the rest of the way. Tennessee kept it close in the second half, however, getting the Missouri lead down to as little as four points, but could not claw out of their hole, as Mizzou ended the game on a 7-0 run including a thunderous slam dunk from Rosburg to cap off their victory.
Rosburg was one of three Tigers to score in double-digits Saturday, and Rosburg led all Missouri Tigers with 21 points (8-9 FG, 5-7 FT), his second straight 20-pont game and his third straight with at least 15 points. Also in double-digits for Mizzou was Kevin Puryear, scoring 17 points (6-8 FG, 2-3 3pt, 3-4 FT), and Namon Wright with 13 points (3-7 FG, 2-5 3pt, 5-6 FT). The biggest moment of the game came with 6:19 to go in the second half, when Wright stole a Tennessee pass and went coast-to-coast to deliver a huge slam dunk which nearly blew the top off Mizzou Arena.
The win is Mizzou’s first since Jan. 9, when they defeated the Auburn Tigers at home. Mizzou is in action again this Tuesday, as the South Carolina Gamecocks visit the Tigers. This will be the second meeting between the schools this year; the first one ended with South Carolina earning an 81-72 win in Columbia, S.C.