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Danny Shin, 23 Sports

Saturday, December 19–

After five straight wins at Mizzou Arena, the Missouri men’s basketball team suffered its first home defeat of the season on Saturday at the hands of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 73-59. The loss is also the Tigers’ ninth straight nonconference loss against a Power-Five school.

Mizzou never found an answer for NC State point guard Cat Barber. The junior shot 9-for-15 from the field to go along with 33 points, seven rebounds, and four assists for the Wolfpack. To put his performance into perspective, Barber scored 11 more points than all five Missouri starters combined.

The Tigers did get off to a fast start, scoring nine of the game’s first 11 points. They kept NC State in check on offense, holding them to just 1-for-8 from the field during that stretch.

Trailing 29-28 at halftime, Missouri took a brief lead less than a minute into the second half thanks to a three-pointer from freshman guard Terrence Phillips. But after sophomore Abdul-Malik Abu’s dunk with 18:39 remaining, the Tigers never lead again. Missouri trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half en route to defeat.

Rebounding and free-throw shooting were the deciding factors in this game. The Wolfpack outrebounded the Tigers 25-13 in the second half and were 24-for-30 from the free throw line.

On the other hand, the Tigers shot a dismal 8-for-19 the charity stripe. In addition, Mizzou allowed 15 offensive rebounds, which resulted in a 20-3 edge in fast-break points for the Wolfpack.

The one bright spot for Missouri was the play of its bench, which outscored NC State 37-7. Freshman Cullen VanLeer drained four three-pointers to lead the Tigers with 12 points and sophomore Tramaine Isabell added 10 points in a season-high 24 minutes of action.

As for Missouri’s starters, all five combined for just 22 points on 28% shooting from the field. Sophomore Namon Wright did not convert a single field goal all night (0-for-6) and freshman Kevin Puryear never found a groove offensively as well, scoring four points on just two shot attempts.

Missouri (5-5) will have to rebound quickly as they look ahead to the 35th annual Braggin’ Rights game against Illinois on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on ESPN2 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

For more on Mizzou men’s basketball, follow the team on Twitter @MizzouHoops, check out mutigers.com and keep it locked right here at mutv.missouri.edu.

Photo courtesy of oldnorthbanter.com.