• Key play: An emphatic putback slam by senior forward Laurence Bowers capped a 12-0 run that gave Missouri a 33-13 lead and helped the Tigers seize momentum.
• Key stat: Mississippi committed eight turnovers in the first half, which led to 12 points off turnovers for Missouri.
• Key play: After a bench warning on Missouri coach Frank Haith, junior guard Phil Pressey converted a spinning layup and then found junior guard Earnest Ross for a wide-open three-pointer that sent the crowd into convulsions and made the score 76-56 with 8 minutes, 54 seconds left.
• Key stat: Missouri outrebounded Mississippi 50-32, which helped lead to 26 second-chance points for the Tigers.
Haith pleased with Bell’s defense
Haith made sure he credited senior guard Keion Bell for his defense on Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson. Henderson, who came in as the leading scorer in the SEC at 20 points per game, finished with 16 points on four-of-15 shooting.
“It’s real exhausting chasing him off screens,” said Bell, who also credited his teammates for helping him contain Henderson. “He was coming off two or three screens on one possession.”
Missouri forwards Bowers and Tony Criswell also deserve credit for limiting senior forward Murphy Holloway to seven points and a rebound. Holloway, who was averaging 15 points per game, demolished MU for 22 points and eight rebounds the first time the two teams met on Jan. 12.
“He’s a great scorer,” Haith said, “but I thought we did a great job taking away his left hand.”
• When Missouri senior forward Alex Oriakhi found himself in the middle of a scuffle with Ole Miss forward Reginald Buckner, Bowers made sure he had his teammate’s back. Bowers rushed over to confront Buckner as the referee intervened.
“I just defended my teammate,” Bowers said. “Emotions were running high. It was a very intense game.
“I feel like the guy was about to swing on Alex so I intervened.”
Interestingly enough, Bowers said he’s friendly with Buckner, as both are Memphis natives.
“I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about it, there are no grudges,” Bowers said. “That’s my guy, we grew up playing against each other in basketball. It’s just the heat of the moment, stuff happened.”
| Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org