University of Missouri

Missouri stumbles at home, losing 67-64 to Eastern Illinois

Missouri’s Terrence Phillips tried to squeeze between Eastern Illinois’ Demetrius McReynolds (left) and Montell Goodwin while playing defense in the first half of Saturday’s game in Columbia.
Missouri’s Terrence Phillips tried to squeeze between Eastern Illinois’ Demetrius McReynolds (left) and Montell Goodwin while playing defense in the first half of Saturday’s game in Columbia. The Associated Press

Normally, the trip from Eastern Illinois’ campus in Charleston, Ill., to Mizzou Arena takes about four hours, but freezing rain and slick road conditions turned Interstate 70 into a parking lot Friday afternoon.

The left coach Jay Spoonhour’s Panthers stranded on the team bus near the exit to Foristell, Mo., for seven hours of a harrowing 12-hour trek to play Missouri on Saturday afternoon.

“We sat on the interstate along with probably 45,000 other people,” Spoonhour said. “There were taillights both ways.”

The hassle turned out to be worth it for Eastern Illinois, which upset Mizzou 67-64 — the second upset pulled by a mid-major also-ran on Norm Stewart Court in less than three weeks.

It’s only the Panthers’ third win in program history against a team from a Power Five Conference, the first ever in a road game and the first since beating Wisconsin in 1987.

Eastern Illinois’ only other Power Five win came against Mississippi in 1974.

“Obviously, it’s a really big win for us,” said Spoonhour, who was a graduate assistant under Quin Snyder during 2004-06. “We have a lot of guys from the St. Louis and Kansas City area.”

Telling the story of the ordeal getting to Columbia, a hero emerged in Panthers 6-foot-7 graduate assistant Liam Slesinski, who was drafted into a food run and was hoisted over a seven-foot fence to complete his mission.

“About three hours in, the guys said, ‘Coach, can we get some tacos?’” Spoonhour said. “The windows are fogged up and stuff. You’re on the interstate. I said, ‘No, it’s illegal’ and there’s a seven-foot fence and it’s icy. I thought it was really wise to not do that. Six-and-half hours into the trip, I said, ‘Who wants to go get 50 tacos?’ ”

The heroes for the Panthers, 7-4, on Saturday against the Tigers were junior guard Montell Goodwin and senior guard Demitrius McReynolds.

Goodwin finished with a game-high 22 points, adding four rebounds, three assists and three steals. McReynolds had 16 points and six boards in the win.

“I thought Eastern Illinois played great,” third-year Mizzou coach Kim Anderson said. “I thought they outplayed us. … You’ve got to give them credit. I’m not sure why we didn’t have the energy that we needed to play this game, but we’re certainly going to try to find it by Wednesday.”

That’s when the Tigers play Illinois in the annual Braggin’ Rights Game at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Missouri, 5-5, lost 62-52 against North Carolina Central on Nov. 30, a result explained away by a 25-percent shooting performance.

Such excuses won’t work for the Eastern Illinois loss.

The Tigers shot 41 percent overall — including 17 percent from three-point range, going 3 of 18 — compared to 33 percent, committed fewer turnovers and the rebounding battle was a stalemate.

However, the Panthers generated extra possessions with 16 offensive rebounds and shot 7 of 14 from three-point range in the second half after trailing 32-30 at halftime.

“We couldn’t run plays,” said sophomore guard K.J. Walton, who scored a team-high nine points. “I don’t know why, but we couldn’t run plays. Stuff we’ve been running all year. We just couldn’t run plays, and it’s really lack of execution is the reason we came up short.”

The game pivoted after Mizzou freshman Terrence Phillips’ game-tying free throws with 13 minutes remaining.

Goodwin hit a jumper to regain Eastern Illinois’ lead. Junior Ray Crossland picked Phillips’ pocket at midcourt, and was dragged down with an ankle tackle.

Phillips was whistled for a flagrant foul, which led to two free throws by Crossland and a three-pointer by junior Cornell Johnston on the ensuing possession.

“They said that (Phillips) grabbed him and I would agree with them,” Anderson said. “ … It was a big play, but I would support that call though. They made the call they had to make. In 2016, that’s what you’re supposed to call.”

Making his Tigers debut, junior forward Jordan Barnett, a St. Louis native who transferred from Texas in midseason last year, finished with three points and five rebounds.

Freshman center Reed Nikko returned from a sprained ankle and had four points, five rebounds and two blocks, while Phillips and sophomore forward Kevin Puryear each scored eight points.

Puryear, a Blue Springs South graduate, also grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

Panthers sophomore forward Patrick Muldoon, a Basehor-Linwood graduate, scored eight coming off the bench with six rebounds.

EASTERN ILLINOIS 67

MISSOURI 64

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

E. Illinois

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Dama

24

1-4

0-0

5

1

4

2

Goodwin

33

8-16

2-2

3

3

1

22

Johnston

29

2-11

0-0

0

4

3

6

McReynolds

34

5-17

4-4

6

0

0

16

Crossland

26

1-2

6-6

6

1

4

8

Muldoon

21

3-7

2-2

6

0

2

8

Teson

16

0-5

0-0

0

1

1

0

Diallo

10

1-3

1-2

8

0

2

3

Blackmon

6

1-1

0-0

1

0

2

2

Kuligoski

1

0-0

0-0

2

0

1

0

Koch

1

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

0

Totals

200

22-66

15-16

37

11

20

67

Percentages: FG .333, FT .938. Three-Point Goals: 8-29, .276 (Goodwin 4-8, Johnston 2-8, McReynolds 2-8, Teson 0-5). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 4 (Dama 2, Diallo, Muldoon). Turnovers: 12 (Crossland 4, Goodwin 3, Dama 2, Johnston 2, McReynolds). Steals: 9 (Crossland 3, Goodwin 3, Diallo 2, Teson). Technical Fouls: None. Fouled Out: None.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Missouri

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Puryear

24

4-9

0-1

6

1

2

8

Woods

13

2-5

2-3

1

0

3

6

Hughes

23

2-6

0-0

1

0

3

5

Phillips

26

1-6

5-6

3

7

3

8

VanLeer

28

2-6

2-2

5

1

0

6

Barnett

24

1-6

1-2

5

1

0

3

Jackson

18

4-8

1-1

5

0

2

9

Geist

15

2-3

1-2

4

2

0

6

Walton

14

3-5

3-5

0

0

2

9

Nikko

11

2-2

0-2

5

0

1

4

Smith

4

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

0

Totals

200

23-56

15-24

35

12

16

64

Percentages: FG .411, FT .625. Three-Point Goals: 3-18, .167 (Geist 1-2, Hughes 1-3, Phillips 1-4, Puryear 0-2, VanLeer 0-3, Barnett 0-4). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 3 (Nikko 2, Jackson). Turnovers: 15 (Phillips 3, Puryear 3, Geist 2, Hughes 2, Nikko 2, Barnett, Jackson, Woods). Steals: 7 (Walton 2, Barnett, Nikko, Phillips, Puryear, Woods). Technical Fouls: None.

Half: Missouri 32-30. Att: 9,618.

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