Jameshia Sumlin, 23 Sports

Thursday, January 5–

Even though Mizzou played perhaps their best opening half of the season, it wasn’t enough to pull out a victory Wednesday in its Southeastern Conference opener at Mizzou Arena.

The Tigers led by five at halftime and remained tied with LSU for nearly 30 minutes, but the final 12 minutes did not go in Mizzou’s favor as the team lost 88-77.

Missouri opened the second half with two turnovers in the first 23 second, losing its hard-fought halftime edge. The Tigers never regained the lead.

The final tie came at 56-56, when senior Russell Woods converted a layup. Woods was limited to 16 minutes due to back spasms.

“For the most part, in the second half, we couldn’t guard the ball,” Head Coach Kim Anderson said. “We tried everything. We tried zone, we tried man, we tried switching, and we tried trapping. We couldn’t stop them.”

Mizzou shot 47 percent in the first half, including 43 percent from 3-point range. Both percentages are significantly above season averages of 39.7 percent and 27.2 percent. Mizzou began to fall into its old path during the second half, when they shot 38.7 percent overall.

“We had some success early,” Anderson said. “We made some shots. I thought we were playing with a good rhythm. We were getting the ball moved around. We were forcing them to guard us. Then, we went in at halftime … and we came back out and, for whatever reason, we threw the ball away a couple of times.”

Freshman Mitchell Smith injured his left knee in the closing seconds of the first half. He had to be helped off the floor by Mizzou’s training staff and is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday.

According to Anderson, the team will probably have more information on Smith’s condition later on.