University of Missouri

Wes Clark provides a boost for the Tigers

Updated: 2014-02-20T05:43:49Z

By TOD PALMER

The Kansas City Star

First half

• Key play: Freshman Johnathan Williams III swatted Vanderbilt senior Kyle Fuller’s scoop toward the bucket in the closing seconds, but wasn’t able to control the rebound. The Commodores took a 21-20 lead into halftime when Fuller found freshman Damian Jones with an inbounds lob for a buzzer-beater.

• Key stat: Before Torren Jones’ transition layup and a three-pointer by senior Earnest Ross in the closing minutes, Missouri had shot 26.3 percent from the field in the first half.

Second half

• Key play: Junior Jordan Clarkson sank two free throws with 19 seconds left giving Missouri, which only hit four of 10 free throws in the final 90 seconds outside of Clarkson’s pair, a 66-62 cushion.

• Key stat: After going seven for 21 in the first half, Missouri shot 60.9 percent in the second half, including six-for-nine from three-point range.

Clark comes alive

Freshman point guard Wes Clark scored nine points, going three of three and drilling both three-point tries, in his most productive game in SEC play.

Clark also added an assist and didn’t commit a turnover in 25 minutes, which is the most he’s played since Jan. 16 at Vanderbilt.

“Clark was the one who came in and hurt us,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “He came in and gave them more than we needed. That’s a tough thing to overcome there.”

It’s been a struggle at times for Clark, who played at Romulus High School in Detroit, but he said his teammates have never wavered in their faith in him,

“Our leaders — like Jabari (Brown), Jordan (Clarkson) and E.J. (Earnest Ross) — keep me ready to go, so I just step in with confidence and make shots when my opportunity comes,” Clark said.

• Former Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who is a free agent, was in the crowd Wednesday at Mizzou Arena. Maclin, who missed last season with the Philadelphia Eagles because of a torn ACL, is a St. Louis native.

To reach Tod Palmer, send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com

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