Pressey’s 26 Stave Off Muscala, Bucknell

Saturday, Jan. 5-

The No. 12 Missouri men’s basketball team rebounded from its 97-94 overtime loss to UCLA and edged out a close home victory against the Bucknell Bison in Mizzou’s first game of 2013.

Neither team was dominant, as the largest lead in the game was only six by the Bison (13-3) in the Tigers’ (11-2) last non-conference game of the season.

Phil Pressey, who broke the Mizzou record for assists in a game with 19 against UCLA, played a very important role in the victory with a career-high 26 points.

Bucknell center Mike Mascala started off the Bison on the right foot, scoring the teams first six points. But Mizzou foward Laurence Bowers went blow for blow with Mascala, scoring the Tigers first three baskets to stay even with the Bison.

Mascala and Bowers continued to score for their teams in the first half as the Tigers and Bison traded the lead. At the half, Mascala established his team’s slim 28-24 advantage as the Bucknell center led all players at the half with 16 points and eight rebound.

Missouri’s fortune changed in the second half when the Tigers went 5-5 behind the arc after going 0-8 in the first half. Freshman Stefan Jankovic made an impact early in the half, making a shot from downtown only ten seconds into the half to shorten the lead to only one. He then drove down the lane 30 seconds later and took the ball to the hole to put the Tigers on top.

Pressey stepped up for the Tigers in the half, making three shots from behind the arc and scoring 19 points. Mascala continued to give Mizzou’s defense trouble, dropping nine more points to finish with 25.

With less than just three minutes left, Pressey sunk a long ball to put the Tigers up by three. Shots by Jabari Brown, Earnest Ross and Keion Bell helped increase the lead, but Muscala kept Bucknell in it by making two key jumpers.

Muscala was fouled by Brown with two seconds left as Mizzou was up 66-63. He made the first shot from the line and missed the second, but Jankovic tipped the ball away and it rolled out of bounds as time expired, giving Mizzou the 66-64 victory.

The Tigers play their first SEC game next as they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

-Mitch Urban
23 Sports
Staff Writer