Columbia — Earnest Ross and Keion Bell have each waited the better part of a year to suit up in an actual game for Missouri, and it looks like the two played like it in an 87-64 win over Rotterdam on Friday.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Bell and Ross each scored a team-high 17 points for Missouri, which opened up a 53-36 lead by halftime and never looked back as it began a 10-day, five-game European trip with a convincing victory in the Netherlands.
"I thought the guys played well considering all but two haven't been in a college game situation for a year," Missouri coach Frank Haith said in a statement. "I thought we were active and kept them from getting into much of a rhythm. We put some guys in new spots, like running Keion Bell at the point and he looked good. This is exhibition for us, so we are going to look at some different combinations and we did that most of the second half. We are a deeper team and having a chance to get these young guys some playing time is a big positive."
Bell, a senior who transferred from Pepperdine to Missouri before last season, finished Friday's game with five rebounds and four assists in a team-high 34 minutes, while senior guard Michael Dixon - who is also expected to pick up the slack at point guard - finished with 10 points and nine assists in 27 minutes.
Ross, a junior who transferred from Auburn before last season, came off the bench to add eight rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes for Missouri, which shot 47.9 percent from the field despite going only 5-for-19 from three-point range.
Here's how other notable Tigers performed:
*Junior forward Tony Criswell, a junior college transfer, finished with 15 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes.
"I thought Tony did the things tonight that he has been doing in practice," Haith said. "He was active, aggressive and shot the ball with confidence. He did the same things we are going to need from him during the regular season."
*UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi finished with six points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes. Oriakhi, a noted low-post defender, also flashed some defensive aptitude, racking up four blocks.
*Oriakhi and Criswell got the starting nod in the front court, while Bell, Dixon and Oregon transfer Jabari Brown - who finished with 12 points in 31 minutes - also started the game.
*Freshman bigs Ryan Rosburg (five points, five rebounds in 21 minutes) and Stefan Jankovic (five points, four rebounds and five fouls in 10 minutes) chipped in to play some valuable minutes, while walk-on forward Danny Feldmann (nine minutes), freshman guard Dominique Bull (six minutes) and walk-on guard Corey Haith (three minutes) didn't record a point or rebound during their time on the floor.
*Neither Phil Pressey - who has a knee strain after bumping knees with a teammate during a recent practice - nor senior forward Laurence Bowers - who is practicing with the team but is still recovering from a season-ending knee injury - played. Haith said last Friday that neither player will see any action during the trip, which comes to an end Aug. 18.
*Freshman guard Negus Webster-Chan was not listed in the box score. The school announced that he had not been cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center when the team left, but was cleared late Friday afternoon and will join the team in Amsterdam sometime this weekend.