Kansas City Star
• Key play: MU senior guard Keion Bell’s buzzer-beating layup gave the Tigers a 37-34 lead and a bit of breathing room entering the break.
• Key stat: Stanford repeatedly chucked up three-pointers but finished the first half only 4 of 15 from long-distance.
• Key play: With MU leading 70-66 late in the second half, freshman Negus Webster-Chan drew MU’s third charge of the game, a play that helped the Tigers gain momentum.
• Key stat: In a game that was close the whole way, Missouri went 22 of 25 from the free-throw line.
Pressey to Bowers
Perhaps the play of the game came in the first half, when Missouri point guard Phil Pressey drew a loud cheer with a stunning behind-the-back pass to forward Laurence Bowers for a layup.
Pressey, who was near the basket, was trapped by several Stanford defenders when he locked eyes with Bowers, who cut to the rim and caught the pass, which Pressey somehow delivered around a defender.
“When we get eye contact, I know that more times than not, he’s going to throw me the ball,” Bowers said.
Pressey said: “Me and him have some kind of connection, where knows when I’m going to pass it to him. He has great hands, so I can throw it anywhere in the vicinity and he’s going to catch it. … I think it was a better catch than pass.”
Bowers also had a bit of a lowlight on Thursday, when he exploded toward the rim and came up short on a one-handed dunk.
“I was indecisive, that’s just it,” said Bowers, who grimaced afterward and was taken out of the game. “I’m not really (hurt). … I came back in the game. I was fine.”
• Missouri’s shooting on Thursday (the Tigers shot 26 of 71 from the field) left plenty to be desired, but don’t blame the venue. When asked if the smallish gym — combined with a dark background — had any effect on their shooting, Pressey made no excuses.
“I don’t think so,” Pressey said, “but we’ve got to get used to this because the NCAA Tournament or conference tournament is not going to be at home.”
• Senior guard Michael Dixon, Jr. made the trip to Atlantis but again sat on the bench in warm-ups. He is suspended for a violation of team rules.
• Stanford was playing without starting guard Aaron Bright, who was out with an apparent ankle injury. The Cardinal still received solid efforts from guard Chasson Randle, who had a game-high 22 points with four rebounds, three steals and three assists, and forward Dwight Powell, who had 18 points, 10 assists and three blocks.
| Terez A. Paylor, email@example.com