Trio of Transfers Trumps Gamecocks

Thursday, Feb. 28-

Behind the three-headed monster of Keion Bell, Jabari Brown and Alex Oriakhi, the Missouri men’s basketball team got its second true road win of the season, pouncing on the South Carolina Gamecocks 90-68. Bell dropped 24 points, Brown tallied 23, and Oriakhi added 18 as the Tigers rode 70 percent shooting to a win. Damien Leonard led South Carolina with 20 points, but didn’t receive much help from his fellow Gamecocks.

Bell and Brown started hot for the Tigers. The transfer pair had 15 of Mizzou’s first 17 points, with each hitting a trey. However, these contributions couldn’t put the Tigers ahead early, with the score tied at 17-17 going into the second TV timeout.

Brown cooled off after another jumper, but Oriakhi became a force after the break, tallying eight points in the remainder of the half. Bell continued his scalding shooting, finishing the first half with 18 points as the Tigers held the intermission edge over the Gamecocks 45-38.

In the second half, Bell scored Missouri’s first bucket before letting Oriakhi dominate. The center accumulated 10 points in a span of four minutes, getting a few traditional three-point plays in the process. Brown regained his fire after Bell seemingly disappeared, scoring 13 points in the second period.

The Oakland native slammed home a Phil Pressey pass to accompany his three-point shooting and carry the Tigers to the finish line. Pressey didn’t attempt a field goal in the entire game, but dished nine dimes and collected five rebounds throughout the contest.

Mizzou’s trio of transfers accounted for 72 percent of the team’s points, while shooting a blistering 79 percent from the field, led by Oriakhi’s 6-6 effort.

In addition to the strong offensive performance, Missouri played tough defense. The Tigers clawed their way to six steals, forcing 10 South Carolina turnovers in the process. Mizzou also had six blocks, with Oriakhi rejecting the Gamecocks on three occasions.

Behind the Bell-Brown, Oriakhi-Bell, and Brown-Oriakhi stretches, Missouri grabbed a much-needed victory. The team recovered from a disappointing effort against Kentucky in overtime last Saturday with a solid performance away from its friendly confines.

The Tigers will return to Columbia, Mo., to defend its clean home record against LSU at 3 p.m. Saturday.

-Chinmay Vaidya
23 Sports
Staff Writer