University of Missouri

Missouri rallies but ultimately falls to Mississippi 76-73

Missouri’s Kevin Puryear (center) looked for help as he was guarded by Mississippi’s Jake Coddington (right) and Anthony Perez in the first half Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Missouri’s Kevin Puryear (center) looked for help as he was guarded by Mississippi’s Jake Coddington (right) and Anthony Perez in the first half Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. The Associated Press

If Missouri fans squint, there are signs of progress.

The Tigers certainly were competitive Wednesday against Mississippi on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena.

Unfortunately, the result was the same as the previous six had been for Mizzou, a conference loss to close the first half of the SEC schedule.

The Rebels rode senior guard Stefan Moody, who has been hampered in recent weeks by a hamstring injury, to a 76-73 win.

“This is a tough loss,” freshman guard Terrence Phillips said. “We competed for 40 minutes. … This was a winnable game. We were right there. We put ourselves in a good position with five minutes to go.”

Coming out of a timeout with under 20 seconds left, Mississippi put the ball in Moody’s hands.

“I wanted Moody to try and turn the corner if he had an angle,” Rebels coach Andy Kennedy said. “He had an angle and he made a play.”

Moody drove down the heart of the lane and drew a foul with 13.4 seconds left, delivering a win with two free throws in a gutting loss for the Tigers.

“He just did what great players do,” said Phillips, who finished with 14 points to go with five steals and four assists. “They go in the lane and just make a play at the end.”

It is the first SEC road win of the season for Ole Miss, 14-8 and 4-5 in conference.

Missouri, 8-14 and 1-8 in the SEC, led entering the final minutes, but couldn’t hang on against coach Andy Kennedy’s club.

The game was tied as the clock rolled under three minutes before freshman guard Terrence Phillips’ three-pointer from the left wing put the Tigers in front.

It seemed for a while that would propel Missouri, which led 67-64 lead with 2:45 remaining, to victory.

Moody — who finished with a game highs of 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists — wouldn’t permit the upset.

He kept things close with a couple free throws, but Phillips answered with a pair of his own, the second free throw touching every inch of the rim before dropping through the net.

It seemed like the Tigers’ night.

After Ole Miss junior Rasheed Brooks clanged a three-pointer, sophomore Namon Wright’s defensive rebound led to a dunk at the other end by freshman Kevin Puryear, which had the crowd of 4,734 on its feet and in full throat.

Rebels senior Tomasz Gielo trimmed the lead to 71-69 with a three-pointer, but Tigers junior Wes Clark answered with a short jumper in the lane.

Gielo again delivered from three-point range with under a minute remaining, but Clark couldn’t answer this time. His layup rimmed out.

Unsurprisingly, Mississippi put the ball in Moody’s hands and he drew a foul that sent him to the line for the game-winning free throws.

“It’s a tough play at the end, but you can’t let the guy get in the lane,” MU coach Kim Anderson said. “When you do that, then you run the risk of getting called for a foul.”

Clark — who finished with a team-high 20 points, including a 10 of 10 effort at the free-throw line, and a game-high five assists — got up a go-ahead jumper with 5 seconds. It followed the same trajectory as Phillips’ earlier free throw, but this one didn’t stay down.

“Those are tough shots and I thought they were going in,” said Wright, who finished with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds. “It didn’t fall for us, but we’re just going to keep getting at it. … If he makes those, it’s a whole different end to the night.”

The Rebels secured the rebound and senior Martavious Newby added two more free throws to ice the win with 3.3 seconds left.

Clark weaved through Ole Miss’ full-court defense and got the ball to freshman Cullen VanLeer on the right wing for a three-pointer, but it came after the buzzer and was off line anyway.

VanLeer finished with 10 points, his third career double-figure outing and first since Dec. 19 against North Carolina State.

Gielo chipped in 16 for the Rebels and Brooks added 15 for the Rebels, who went 14 of 31 from three-point playing without leading rebounder Sebastian Saiz for the fifth straight game.

“I thought Missouri played outstanding,” Kennedy said. “Both teams really (shot) the three well. Both teams turned it over a little bit too much. Usually, you don’t survive 17 turnovers on the road in this league, but the fact that we shot close to 50 percent from three and over 80 percent from the line allows you do that.”

Cold-shooting Missouri trailed 35-30 at halftime.

The Tigers went 9 of 26 from the field, including 2 of 9 in the final 10 minutes, and only 3 of 12 from three-point range in the first half.

Moody pumped in 14 points, including four three-pointers, but he didn’t get much help, which kept the lead from being larger.

Mississippi boasts an 11-4 edge in second-chance points.

Missouri’s seven-game losing streak is the third-longest since Norm Stewart’s arrival as coach in 1967.

“It stings,” Anderson said. “This is hard. Obviously, we’re frustrated, but you’ve just got to keep working. Come back (Thursday) and get ready for Alabama. If we play like this, we can win some games.”

He later added, “I’m disappointed we lost. Don’t get me wrong, but I thought we played hard and we showed some signs of improvement. I really couldn’t say that Saturday. Saturday (against Mississippi State), we were awful and obviously we weren’t very good against Kentucky.”

MISSISSIPPI 76

MISSOURI 73

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Ole Miss

Min

FG-A

FT-A

O-R

A

PF

PT

Newby

31

0-2

2-2

4-6

5

2

2

Hymon

27

3-4

2-2

1-7

0

4

8

Perez

18

1-5

3-4

1-3

0

3

6

Brooks

35

5-13

1-2

1-5

2

2

15

Moody

38

6-18

6-7

1-8

5

3

23

Davis

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Gielo

28

6-8

0-0

0-3

4

3

16

Fitzpatrick-Dorsey

12

0-1

4-5

2-2

0

1

4

Coddington

9

1-1

0-0

1-2

0

3

2

TEAM

   

0-0

   

Totals

200

22-52

18-22

11-36

16

21

76

Percentages: FG .423, FT .818. Three-Point Goals: 14-31, .452 (Moody 5-12, Gielo 4-6, Brooks 4-8, Perez 1-3, Newby 0-1, Fitzpatrick-Dorsey 0-1). Blocked Shots: 4 (Hymon 3, Gielo). Turnovers: 17 (Moody 5, Newby 3, Brooks 3, Fitzpatrick-Dorsey 2, Hymon 2, Perez, Gielo). Steals: 11 (Moody 3, Brooks 3, Hymon 2, Fitzpatrick-Dorsey, Newby, Gielo). Technical Fouls: None. Fouled Out: None.

TableStyle: SP-bkwideplayersCCI Template: SP-bkwideplayers

Missouri

Min

FG-A

FT-A

O-R

A

PF

PT

Phillips

24

4-7

3-4

0-2

4

4

14

Wright

30

3-10

3-4

0-8

2

2

12

Clark

34

4-7

10-10

1-4

5

2

20

Puryear

28

4-11

1-2

2-5

0

2

9

Rosburg

33

1-2

0-3

2-3

2

4

2

Isabell

3

0-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Allen

4

0-0

0-0

0-1

0

1

0

Walton

11

2-5

0-0

1-2

1

1

4

Gant

10

0-1

0-0

1-2

0

1

0

Woods

7

1-1

0-1

1-1

0

3

2

VanLeer

16

3-7

2-2

0-1

0

2

10

TEAM

   

2-3

   

Totals

200

22-52

19-26

10-32

14

22

73

Percentages: FG .423, FT .731. Three-Point Goals: 10-21, .476 (Phillips 3-3, Wright 3-6, Clark 2-3, VanLeer 2-6, Isabell 0-1, Walton 0-1, Puryear 0-1). Blocked Shots: 4 (Gant 2, Rosburg, Wright). Turnovers: 13 (Clark 6, Gant 2, Walton, Puryear, VanLeer, Wright, Phillips). Steals: 12 (Phillips 5, Clark 3, VanLeer 2, Gant 2). Technical Fouls: None. Fouled Out: None.

Half: Mississippi 35-30. Attendance: 4,734. Officials: Karl Hess, Joe Lindsay, Ted Valentine.

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