Missouri’s NIT Run Ends at Hands of Southern Mississippi

Sunday March 23-

By Tyler Murry, 23 Sports

After defeating No. 7 Davidson in thrilling fashion in the first round of NIT play, No. 2 Missouri dropped its second-round match to the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 71-63. Once again, a lack of depth plagued the Tigers as they scored just six points off the bench and just 15 points outside of Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross.

In the first half, Ross hit a quick three before Brown laid it in to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead. Another three-pointer, this time by Clarkson, put the Tigers up 10-5 with under five minutes gone in the first half.

The Golden Eagles came storming back in the middle of the half as Chip Armelin hit a trey to cut Mizzou’s lead to two. Nate Watson hit another deep shot for three of his team-leading 18 points on the day to give Southern Miss. its first lead of the day 14-13.

The two teams traded baskets for the next few minutes of play. After a pair of free throws by Brown with three minutes remaining, the lead was cut to four. Under a minute later, Watson hit another three-pointer to extend the Golden Eagles lead before Ross hit a three to cut the lead back to five with just four seconds remaining.

Ross, Clarkson and Brown combined for 24 of Mizzou’s 29 points in the first half as the Tigers struggled to get production off the bench.

In the second half, Watson hit another of his four three-pointers on the day before hitting another jumper just a minute into the action. The Golden Eagles maintained a solid lead for the majority of the half before Brown was able to cut the lead back to five with a shot beyond the arc.

With eight minutes left in play, Southern Miss. pulled away with Aaron Brown and Watson each hitting three-pointers to give the Eagles an 11-point lead. Mizzou’s trio of Ross, Clarkson and Brown hit their free throws down the stretch, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit.

With the loss, Missouri is eliminated from NIT and its season comes to an end.