University of Missouri

Missouri notes: Tigers still shorthanded in backcourt

Missouri guard Montaque Gill-Caesar (right) missed his second straight game Saturday because of back spasms.
Missouri guard Montaque Gill-Caesar (right) missed his second straight game Saturday because of back spasms. The Associated Press

Missouri freshman guard Montaque Gill-Caesar sat out a second straight game on Saturday because of back spasms.

Gill-Caesar is Missouri’s second-leading scorer at 11.5 points per game, and also averages 3.7 rebounds, which ranks second behind sophomore forward Johnathan Williams III.

Tigers coach Kim Anderson said he doesn’t expect Gill-Caesar, who was injured Dec. 20 against Illinois on a flagrant foul by Leron Black, to be available Tuesday when MU plays at top-ranked Kentucky.

“I think he’s getting better, but I’ll know more on Monday,” Anderson said.

▪ Suspended guard Deuce Bello did not make the trip to Auburn and will not play against Kentucky either. He has sat out the Tigers’ last four games because of academic issues.

Rosburg connects at line

Missouri junior Ryan Rosburg hit a free throw Saturday, which is significant because he started the season four of 25 at the charity stripe.

Rosburg had misfired on nine straight from the line dating back to the Chaminade game Nov. 26 before making the first of two free throws with 4:40 remaining in the first half.

Rosburg, who played only 7 total minutes against Lipscomb and LSU, finished with three points, one rebound and two blocked shots in 16 minutes against Auburn.

First half

▪ Key play: Pick one of Keith Shamburger’s three-pointers, two to open the game and two during a critical stretch late to help Missouri rally within 41-40 at halftime.

▪ Key stat: Missouri dominated the glass, outrebounding Auburn 20-11, with nine offensive rebounds.

Second half

▪ Key play: No sooner had sophomore guard Wes Clark ended a 5-minute field-goal drought for Missouri, than Auburn junior forward Jordon Granger connected on a three-pointer from the top of the key for a 77-72 lead.

▪ Key stat: Auburn went 25 of 37 from the free-throw line, compared to 15 of 20 for Missouri.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.

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