By Logan Perrone
Following what has been a rough patch for Missouri, losing four of their last five games, the Tigers looked to rebound against the Aggies of Texas A&M. A&M had not been playing their best basketball either, entering the contest having lost their previous two.
Momentum in the first half swung back and forth constantly. The Aggies pulled ahead 7-3 with seven unanswered points, which was followed by five unanswered from the Tigers. A&M would regain the lead with nine consecutive points, but again lose the lead after Mizzou responded with 12 consecutive points of their own. The last five minutes of the half were marked by close basketball, but the Tigers would push ahead to a 32-27 lead heading into the half.
However, Texas A&M would hold a lead for majority of the second half, never trailing past the twelve-minute mark despite Missouri’s constant bursts of momentum. In the final ninety seconds, Mizzou would make it a one score game. A full-court pass from Mark Smith to Parker Braun set up a shot for Torrence Watson, whose would-have-been game winning three danced in and out of the rim, securing the 66-64 Aggie victory.
The loss is the Tigers’ fifth in their last six games, but the team would reach an incredible mark in the process. Mizzou set a new NCAA record for most consecutive free throws made by a team at 52. For the players, the outcome of the game made the moment bittersweet.
“I don’t even think most of us know we set a record,” redshirt junior Dru Smith said. “We’re all focused on the game, whether we’re winning or not and we just got to get back on track.”
Smith and teammate Mark Smith would combine for 37 of Missouri’s points, but the Tigers got the bench involved too. Torrence Watson and Xavier Pinson would total 15 points and 48 minutes combined for 48 minutes in the absence of Freshman Kobe Brown who did not play due to illness.
They would finish 25-26 from the line and would be two points short of matching their three-point total of 27 points. It was this excellence at the foul line that kept Mizzou within striking distance throughout the tilt, as they shot a lousy 30 percent from the floor.
“I thought we had some good looks, especially in the corner,” head coach Cuonzo Martin said. The Tigers went 9 for 35 on three-point attempts while the Aggies took a much more conservative approach making 6 of 17 from beyond the arch.
Missouri falls to an even .500 at 9-9 and remain towards the bottom SEC standings with a conference record of 1-6. They face a top 25 opponent in the West Virginia Mountaineers on the road Saturday.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org