University of Missouri

Mizzou’s free-throw misses pile up in 10th straight loss

Missouri forward Kevin Puryear scored a career-high 26 points Saturday, but the Tigers lost 75-71 to Mississippi at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri forward Kevin Puryear scored a career-high 26 points Saturday, but the Tigers lost 75-71 to Mississippi at Mizzou Arena. The Associated Press

Missouri went 6 of 17 at the free-throw line Saturday against Mississippi, a crippling performance that cost third-year coach Kim Anderson’s squad dearly during a 75-71 loss at Mizzou Arena.

The Tigers (5-13, 0-6 Southeastern Conference) have lost 10 consecutive games, marking the fifth-longest losing skid in program history, and 11 straight in the conference dating back to last season.

“When we don’t execute, we don’t make free throws, we don’t get to our defensive assignment on time, we make dumb fouls — when all that stuff happens, we’re just not good enough to overcome all that,” Anderson said. “Having said that, I’m proud of these guys. They played their butts off. I know people are tired of hearing that, but they come every day and play hard.”

It’s particularly a shame because there were so many bright spots for Mizzou.

Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear scored a career-high 26 points on 11 of 14 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds — easily his best performance during conference play.

“Kevin and I had a great talk probably Thursday,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with it or not, but we did challenge him. We challenge him all the time, but in particular, we challenged him early in the game tonight, too.”

Sophomore guard Terrence Phillips scored 10 points, his sixth consecutive double-figure game, with a career-high 10 assists and five rebounds.

Senior forward Russell Woods added a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.

Junior forward Jordan Barnett chipped in 11 points and five rebounds, and sophomore guard Cullen VanLeer hit three three-pointers for the first time in six weeks.

None of it was enough to push Mizzou over the hump.

“We just have to put all the pieces together,” Puryear said. “Some days, we don’t shoot well but make our free throws. Today, we made our shots but didn’t make the free throws. We have to just put the pieces together. We’re so close.”

The depleted Rebels (12-7, 3-4 SEC), who were without senior guard Rasheed Brooks after he suffered a seizure Tuesday against Tennessee, gave the Tigers plenty of chances.

VanLeer hit a three-pointer near the 14-minute mark, trimming Mississippi’s lead to 50-49, but neither team scored during the next 3-plus minutes.

Mizzou came up empty on five straight possessions — misses by VanLeer, Phillips and Woods, with two missed free throws by freshman forward Reed Nikko and a turnover by Puryear mixed in — with a chance to take the lead.

“Going scoreless in five possessions, that’s inexcusable,” Puryear said. “We have to make the right play — whether it’s us pulling the ball out, calming down and getting set and getting a quality shot.”

With around 7  1/2 minutes remaining, VanLeer briefly shot the Tigers in front with a three-pointer from the left wing, but the 57-56 advantage was short-lived.

The Rebels answered with a 11-1 run during the next 1:25 as the Tigers settled for jumpers rather than forcing the issue inside, where they dominated 28-18 on points in the paint.

That was hardly the only miscue for Mizzou down the stretch.

With MU trailing by six, and after committing one of his game-high five turnovers, Phillips fouled Rebels junior guard Deandre Burnett — who scored 14 points in his first game back from an ankle injury — on a rushed three-pointer as the shot clock expired.

Missouri shot better than it had for most of the season, going 11 of 25 from three-point range, but it was fool’s gold down the stretch.

The Tigers missed three three-pointers — two by Phillips and one by Barnett — on a single possession in the closing minute of a four-point game.

When VanLeer finally connected on one, making it 73-71 with 6.7 seconds left, and drew a foul to boot, he promptly fired the free throw long off the back iron.

Anderson said the miss wasn’t intentional and the game was over after junior forward Justas Furmanavicius snagged the rebound and iced a Rebels win with two free throws.

Ole Miss, which went 17 of 23 at the free-throw line, got double-doubles from senior forward Sebastian Saiz (19 points, 10 rebounds) and sophomore forward Terrence Davis (18 points, game-high 11 rebounds).

MISSISSIPPI 75, MISSOURI 71

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Mississippi

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Furmanavicius

25

2-4

3-3

2

1

2

7

Hymon

23

1-2

1-2

6

0

3

3

Saiz

36

6-12

6-7

10

2

4

19

Davis

39

7-16

2-4

11

4

3

18

Tyree

23

2-6

0-0

2

1

1

6

Burnett

36

4-11

3-5

2

3

1

14

Neal

18

2-5

2-2

1

0

2

8

Totals

200

24-56

17-23

34

11

16

75

Percentages: FG .429, FT .739. Three-Point Goals: 10-24, .417 (Burnett 3-6, Tyree 2-2, Neal 2-4, Davis 2-7, Saiz 1-3, Furmanavicius 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 12 (18 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Furmanavicius 2). Turnovers: 12 (Saiz 4, Burnett 3, Davis, Furmanavicius, Hymon, Neal, Tyree). Steals: 4 (Burnett, Davis, Hymon, Saiz). Technical Fouls: None.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Missouri

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

F

Pt

Barnett

34

4-10

1-2

5

0

1

11

Puryear

33

11-14

0-0

8

0

4

26

Woods

34

5-10

3-9

11

0

4

13

Geist

17

1-3

0-0

4

1

1

2

Walton

16

0-4

0-0

0

2

0

0

Phillips

33

3-12

2-3

5

10

5

10

VanLeer

23

3-6

0-1

3

0

2

9

Nikko

6

0-0

0-2

0

0

1

0

Hughes

4

0-2

0-0

1

2

2

0

Totals

200

27-61

6-17

37

15

20

71

Percentages: FG .443, FT .353. Three-Point Goals: 11-25, .440 (Puryear 4-4, VanLeer 3-6, Barnett 2-5, Phillips 2-7, Geist 0-1, Hughes 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Team Turnovers: 13 (13 PTS). Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 13 (Phillips 5, Puryear 3, Barnett 2, Woods 2, Hughes). Steals: 2 (Phillips 2). Technical Fouls: None.

Half: Mississippi 39-33. Attendance: x

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