Kyle Hay, 23 Sports

Saturday, February27–

The Missouri Tigers took on the Ole Miss Rebels at The Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday afternoon. After a tough loss to the Kentucky Wildcats in which the Tigers played some of their best ball of the season, they were looking to avenge an earlier four-point loss to Ole Miss at home.

The first half proved to be a mediocre showing for both teams offensively, as neither team was able to gain any rhythm. Both teams were careless with the ball as they combined for 20 turnovers and neither team shot exceptionally well from the field. Mizzou shot an ice cold 29.6 percent (8-for-27) from the field and an even colder 23.1 percent (3-for-13) from the 3-point line. Their counterpart, Ole Miss, shot a much better, but still below average, 36.0 percent (9-for-25). However, a big key for the Rebels was their ability to nail a higher percentage of 3-point shots, as they shot 44.4 percent (4-for-9) from behind the arc. Deandre Burnett was able to shake free from the defense multiple times and get opens looks from behind the arc, as he led the Rebels with nine points in the first half, six of them coming by way of the 3-point shot.

One thing that both teams did well was get to the line and knock down free throws, shooting 87.5 percent (7-for-8) from the foul line. One of the few bright spots for the Tigers in the first half was Frankie Hughes. He led the Tigers in scoring with 10 points and knocked down two big time 3-pointers for the Tigers. Despite Hughes’ efforts, the Tigers still found themselves down 29-26 at halftime.

In the second half, both teams picked up the pace offensively, almost doubling the scoring output of the first. However, the Tigers found themselves down by double digits early and at risk of getting blown out. Fortunately, Hughes would come in clutch, helping to bring the Tigers back with his shooting from behind the arc. He nailed three more 3s in the second half, giving him five for the game. He was also 5-for-6 from the free throw line en route to a stellar 22-point performance.

However, Burnett would prove to be too much for the Tigers as he scored 28 points, shooting a red hot 5-for-8 from behind the 3-point line. Freshman guard Breein Tyree also chimed in with 15 points, helping to give Ole Miss the 80-77 victory over Missouri. The Tigers literally played the Rebels evenly in the second half, matching Ole Miss’ 51 points. They also elevated their field goal percentage and even topped Ole Miss, shooting a solid 45.2 percent (28-for-62) from the field. What killed the Tigers, though, was Ole Miss’ foul shooting. The Rebels shot 29 free throws, nailing 27 of them compared to the Tigers’ 11-for-14 shooting from the line. The Rebels also shot a lights out 52.4 percent (11-for-21) from behind the 3-point line compared to Mizzou’s 33.3 percent (10-for-30).

Missouri is now 7-21 overall and 2-14 in conference play with just two games left in the regular season, against Texas A&M and Auburn. With the Tigers playing much better basketball in the second half of the season, it would be a nice consolation for the Tigers to cap off their season with back-to-back wins against two teams that have already beaten them earlier this season.