University of Missouri

Mizzou’s mission: Stop Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon

Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon (left) scored 15 points in an 88-81 loss to Kentucky on Jan. 17.
Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon (left) scored 15 points in an 88-81 loss to Kentucky on Jan. 17. The Associated Press

There’s an alternative universe where Missouri doesn’t have to contend with Mississippi State sophomore forward Quinndary Weatherspoon on Wednesday at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss.

Weatherspoon suffered a torn scapholunate ligament Nov. 18 against Boise State.

He tried to gut his way through the injury — which causes an often painful separation of small carpal bones in the wrist, making rotation difficult and limiting grip strength — and played two days later against UTEP.

Then, the Bulldogs announced Nov. 21 that Weatherspoon’s season was finished. But a funny thing happened on the way to the operating table.

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“Initially, the thought was to get the surgery, but doing a little research, through an exhaustive amount of research with different people in the profession, it was determined that he could end up playing with it,” said second-year Mississippi State coach Ben Howland, who interviewed with Mizzou in April 2014.

Weatherspoon postponed surgery until after the season and opted instead to slap a brace on the injured left wrist.

“It’s a tough injury,” Howland said, “but it’s on his non-dominant hand.”

Maybe watching Mississippi State lose by 14 against Lehigh or barely squeak past a Northwestern State team that Missouri beat by 24 points was more painful than his injured wrist.

Maybe Weatherspoon couldn’t bear the thought of a year without competitive basketball.

When the Bulldogs suited up Dec. 1 against Oregon State, Weatherspoon was in uniform, and even made the start.

It wasn’t simply for show, either. Weatherspoon scored 21 points on 6 of 7 shooting, including a 4-of-5 performance from three-point range, with four rebounds and four steals during a 74-57 win.

“His importance to our team cannot be understated, especially how young we are and how youthful we are,” Howland said. “It’s not only his being such a fine player on both ends of the floor, but also his leadership every day. Obviously, he’s been a huge reason why we’re having some success.”

Weatherspoon is also the main impediment to Missouri snapping a number of lengthy losing streaks.

“He’s a great player,” third-year Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “Obviously, he’s a key ingredient to their team. … They’ve been playing extremely well, and he’s obviously a big part of that.”

The Tigers have lost 10 straight games overall, the fifth-longest skid in program history; 11 straight SEC games, tied for the program’s second-longest streak; and are trying to halt program-record slides of 29 road games in a row and 26 conference road games in a row.

Weatherspoon, who ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring at 17.3 points per game and second in three-point shooting at 45.3 percent, is Mississippi State’s engine.

“Every kid on our team has great respect for Quinndary,” Howland said. “He is the consummate team guy. He works his tail off every day.

“It’s not just that he hurt his wrist. He’s always nicked up. The way he plays, so hard and so physical, he’s banged up his knee, twisted his knee multiple times. He’s banged and bruised up every day seemingly. … Our guys look to him and see a real great competitor and a guy who’s about his team and helping his team win. That’s inspirational.”

Longest losing streaks in Missouri history

No. Dates (Head coach) Avg. margin

13 — Jan. 10-Feb. 21, 2015 (Kim Anderson) -14.0 ppg

12 — Dec. 15, 1966-Jan. 31, 1967 (Bob Vanatta) -13.0 ppg

12 — Dec. 30, 1965-Feb. 21, 1966 (Bob Vanatta) -19.9 ppg

11 — Dec. 20, 1958-Feb. 7, 1959 (Wilbur Stalcup) -7.5 ppg

10 — Dec. 10, 2016-current (Kim Anderson) -9.2

9 — Jan. 12-Feb. 10, 2016 (Kim Anderson) -14.8 ppg

8 — Feb. 18-March 3, 1914 (O.F. Field) -8.0 ppg

8 — Dec. 12, 1960-Jan. 9, 1961 (Wilbur Stalcup) -11.8 ppg

8 — Feb. 7-March 6, 1967 (Bob Vanatta) -12.4 ppg

8 — Jan. 19-Feb. 18, 1974 (Norm Stewart) -7.9 ppg

Longest conference losing streaks in MU history

No. Dates (Head coach)

13 — Jan. 10, 2015-Feb. 21, 2015 (Kim Anderson)

11 — Feb. 17, 1958-Feb. 7, 1959 (Wilbur Stalcup)

11 — Jan. 3, 1966-Feb. 21, 1966 (Bob Vanatta)

11 — Feb. 20, 2016-current (Kim Anderson)

9 — Feb. 7, 1967-Jan. 6, 1968 (Bob Vanatta 8/Norm Stewart 1)

9 — Jan. 12, 2016-Feb. 10, 2016 (Kim Anderson)

8 — Feb. 18, 1914-March 3, 1914 (O.F. Field)

8 — Jan. 19, 1974-Feb. 18, 1974 (Norm Stewart)

Longest road losing streaks in Missouri history

No. Dates (Head coach)

29 — Feb. 4, 2014 to current (Frank Haith5/Kim Anderson 24)

16 — Feb. 2, 1977 to Dec. 23, 1978 (Norm Stewart)

14 — Feb. 18, 1996 to Dec. 6, 1997 (Norm Stewart)

12 — Dec. 5, 1966 to March 6, 1967 (Bob Vanatta)

10 — Jan. 10, 1942 to Feb. 20, 1943 (George Edwards)

10 — Jan. 21, 2006 to Jan. 15, 2007 (Quin Snyder 4/Melvin Watkins 3/Mike Anderson 3)

Longest conference road losing streaks in MU history

No. Dates (Head coach)

26 — Feb. 4, 2014 to current (Frank Haith 5/Kim Anderson 21)

18 — Feb. 21, 1996 to Feb. 21, 1998 (Norm Stewart)

13 — March 1, 1940 to Feb. 20, 1943 (George Edwards)

13 — Feb. 23, 1959 to Feb. 1, 1961 (Wilbur Stalcup)

10 — March 5, 1973 to Jan, 22, 1975 (Norm Stewart)

10 — Feb. 2, 1977 to Feb. 18, 1978 (Norm Stewart)

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