Clarkson and Brown Lead Tigers Past West Virginia 80-71

By Nick Yahl, 23 Sports

Friday, Dec. 6-

The Missouri men’s basketball team captured its SEC-best 8th win on the season last night with an 80-71 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Leading the way for the Tigers were Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown. Clarkson dropped 25 points while Brown added 18. The Tigers held the powerful Mountaineer offense, which was averaging over 85 points per game, to 42 percent shooting from the floor.

Mizzou found its rhythm early, jumping out to an 11-1 lead. West Virginia could not get anything going offensively as it was unable to find the basket until the 13:02 mark in the first half. Eron Harris, the Mountaineers’ leading scorer this season was held to a single bucket through the first half. West Virginia was also averaging 10 3-pointers per game, but only converted one of its first 14 chances.

Late in the first half, West Virginia made a 9-2 run to pull within seven, but the Tigers recovered and extended their lead to 36-22. Mizzou outrebounded the Mountaineers 42-30 throughout the game after West Virginia had been averaging four more boards than its opponents.

Opening the second half, the Tigers went on a 7-2 run behind Earnest Ross, who notched 16 points for the game. Ross, Brown, and Clarkson have combined for roughly two-thirds of the team’s points this season. Mizzou maintained its lead throughout the second half until the Mountaineers found their stroke and went on a 17-5 run to pull within nine with 1:45 to go. The Mountaineer’s pulled within eight, but could not getting any closer as the Tiger’s converted on their free throws down the stretch. Mizzou shot 67 percent from the stripe, which helped power them to their 80-71 victory.

The Tigers were minus five on turnovers for the game, but outmuscled the Mountaineers on the floor defensively and on the boards. With a variety of combinations Mizzou head coach Frank Haith showed once again how versatile his squad is. The Tigers take on the No. 11 UCLA Bruins on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.