The Southeastern Conference is a football conference.
Missouri junior Jordan Clarkson, a transfer from Tulsa, is learning — and learning in a painful way — that SEC basketball can feel a lot like a football game.
“Sometimes,” Clarkson said. “After the Alabama game, I came in there a little bruised up. I was like, ‘Man, it’s conference,’ so you know it’s here. It’s just something I’ve got to get over.”
Clarkson was hammered from behind by Crimson Tide guard Retin Obasohan on a breakaway dunk in the second half of Saturday’s 68-47 Tigers win.
Clarkson suffered a bruised wrist and hip in the spill, though he doesn’t expect either injury to limit him Tuesday at LSU.
“All that stuff goes away when the game comes, so I’m really not worried about it,” Clarkson said.
The numbers back up the SEC as a rugged brand of basketball.
During conference play, Missouri’s shooting percentage has dipped more than 10 points from a blistering 48.8 percent to only 38.4 percent in the last four games.
Even more telling, Missouri’s games before conference play averaged 36 combined fouls and 42.8 free throws on average.
Those numbers spike to 43.3 fouls and 54.8 free throws per SEC contest.
“It’s been a lot more physical us being in conference now, but I just have to keep playing through it,” Clarkson said.