Missouri freshman D’Angelo Allen hadn’t taken a shot all game and was still searching for his first career college three-pointer as the clock wound down with under 4 minutes remaining Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri trailed Southeast Missouri State for most of the first 36 minutes until Allen connected on a three-pointer from the top of the key.
Allen, a 6-foot-7 forward from Dallas, had arguably the game’s most important bucket — the one that finally pushed MU over the hump in a 65-61 win and energized the announced crowd of 5,506 — but he was a reluctant hero.
“I was yelling at him to shoot that three because the time was coming down,” senior Keith Shamburger said.
It was one of many hope shots — “shots that weren’t off the offense or they were late shot-clock shots” — by both sides in the game, Missouri coach Kim Anderson said.
“It was one of those games, but as long as they go in for you, they’re good,” Anderson said.
The Tigers, 4-3, trailed by as many 11 points in the first half and got ripped into for playing with a lack of emotion.
“A couple of timeouts in the first half, that’s all coach was talking about was emotion,” Shamburger said. “We needed to pick it up.”
Sophomore forward Johnathan Williams III responded, scoring 12 of his career-high 18 points and grabbing eight of his season-high 11 rebounds in the second half.
“I’m really proud of him because I got after him,” Anderson said. “I’ll be very honest with you, I got after him, and he responded. He had three rebounds at half … and he finished with a double-double. That’s the type of game we have to have every night.”
Missouri tied the game at 42-42 midway through the second half, but Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one and the opportunity to give the Tigers their first lead with 10:01 remaining.
Junior forward Ryan Rosburg secured an offensive rebound, but junior Deuce Bello missed a two-footer that also would have given the Tigers their first lead.
Back-to-back buckets by senior forward Nino Johnson pushed Southeast Missouri back into the lead.
The Redhawks, 3-4, still appeared poised for an upset until freshman forward Montaque Gill-Caesar connected on consecutive three-pointers.
The first pulled the Tigers within 52-51, and the second, a banker from the right wing, tied the game after junior J.J. Thompson’s scoop-shot high off the backboard went in despite pressure from Williams.
“I was just praying it was going in,” Gill-Caesar said of the second three. “I knew if I missed it, coach would have subbed me right out. It was one of those hope shots.”
Of course, it wasn’t the only one.
Shamburger answered a deep three by junior sharpshooter Isiah Jones, which had pulled Southeast Missouri as close as 60-58 with under a minute remaining, by drilling a contested three from the left wing for a five-point lead with 17.2 seconds to go.
Thompson countered with another Redhawks three, but the Tigers stopped the comeback bid when freshman Tramaine Isabell calmly drained two free throws with 7.7 seconds left.
Gill-Caesar finished with 15 points and Shamburger added 11, while Allen grabbed five rebounds in 16 minutes for MU, which went six of seven from three-point range in the second half.
“The second half, we knew we can’t lose to any more of these schools out here in Missouri,” Shamburger said. “We lost to UMKC and that one hurt us a lot. We don’t want to do that anymore.”
Missouri was without sophomore point guard Wes Clark, who had started the season’s first six games.
Isabell scored eight with three assists off the bench at point guard.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.