• Key play: With MU trailing 23-16 with a little under seven minutes left, senior center Alex Oriakhi converted a layup that ignited a 14-5 Missouri run that put the Tigers ahead by two at the break,
• Key stat: VCU made only three of its 14 3-point attempts in the first half.
• Key play: After an MU timeout with 24.9 seconds left, junior guard Phil Pressey made a tough up-and-under floater near the foul line to give MU some breathing room and a 68-65 lead.
• Key stat: In a nod to MU’s rebounding strength, VCU actually finished with more shot attempts (65) than Missouri (57).
Webster-Chan subs in
Freshman guard Negus Webster-Chan got the start at guard for Missouri, replacing senior Keion Bell. Both contributed greatly to the Tigers’ win, however, as Webster-Chan finished with 12 points and five rebounds while Bell had 12 points and four rebounds. Most important, they each took care of the ball against VCU’s press defense, committing only one turnover apiece.
“Coming off the bench really helped (Keion),” coach Frank Haith said. “He settled himself down and played with so much more composure during the game.”
• Junior forward Tony Criswell, who finished with two points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes, apparently earned the respect of star guard Phil Pressey for his assortment of hustle plays on Saturday. Criswell, like several newcomers, is trying to settle into a role on this year’s team.
“I tell him to be a dog,” Pressey said. “Whether you’ve got to dive for loose balls (or) get a rebound, outwork whoever you’re going against. Him doing that (tonight) tells me he’s willing to put his body on the line.”
| Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org