Month: January 2013

Mizzou Tennis Trumps Brown in Consolation Round

The match was not the one that the Tigers had hoped to be in, but they still came up with a decisive 4-0 win.  Missouri defeated No. 63 Brown in the consolation match of the ITA Kick-off Weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Double play was a hard fought battle.  Missouri struck first with the No. 2 team of senior Maria Christensen and junior Rachel Stuhlmann cruising to victory, winning the match 8-4.

But the Bears would not just roll over, with their No. 3 team of sophomores Sarah Kandath and Nikita Uberoi defeating Missouri’s Alex Clark and Madison Rhymer with an identical score of 8-4.

The doubles point came down to the No. 1 match, where junior Cierra Gayton-Leach, the No. 71 ranked player in the nation, and sophomore Elisha Gabb led the Tigers to a hard fought victory, but ultimately won with a tiebreaker, 8-7 (5).  The team of Gayton-Leach and Gabb is the No. 26 ranked team in the nation.

The Tiger lead 1-0 heading into singles play, and quickly jumped to 2-0 after Christensen came up with a decisive 6-2.6-4 win at the No. 4 spot.

The lead improved to 3-0 after Gayton-Leach came back after losing the first set against Brown senior Misia Krasowski to win the No. 1 singles match, 3-6,6-2,6-2.

The match that sealed Brown’s fate was Clark winning the No. 6 singles, 6-4, 7-5.

This win propels Missouri to 2-1 in dual matches this season, while Brown drops to 0-3.

The Tigers travel to Akron next to take on the Zips on Feb. 1.

Mizzou Basketball Barely Stays Atop Gamecocks

In what looked like a Missouri team still hung-over from the disaster that was at O’Connell Center Saturday, the Tigers still managed to pull off a nail biting win against the South Carolina Gamecocks Tuesday night in front of a crowd of 11,830, 71-65.

In a game where both teams were under 40% from the field and Missouri was 18% from beyond the arc, watching the first half of this game was like watching a contest in a brickyard, because neither of these two teams could throw a ball in the ocean.  What saved the Tigers wasn’t defense, because there was next to none in the first half.  No, what saved Missouri, ultimately was free throws.

Compared to South Carolina’s 17 free throw attempts, the Tigers had 36, and made 28 of them.  That’s 19 more attempts and thankfully, 17 more makes that salvage an otherwise frustrating night on the offensive end of the floor.

Missouri played a lackluster first half, with dismal shooting by both teams, but allowed South Carolina to go into half time with an eight-point lead on the Tigers.  When they came back out to start the second half, it was more of the same thing, and it looked grim for Missouri.  With Laurence Bowers and Keion Bell out with injuries, and Phil Pressey in foul trouble, the offense just could not ignite.

Alex Oriaki and Earnest Ross were the keys that ignited the Missouri offense.  Oriaki stepped up in place of Bowers and had 18 points and 11 rebounds, leading the team with his sixth double double on the year. Ross went 21 and 10 and helped spark the 18-2 second half run that put the Tigers in control. But South Carolina would not go quietly. With a few smart plays, the Gamecocks came roaring back and the game was back and forth until the final minutes.

The M-I-Z-Z-O-U chant filled the arena as the fans tried to give energy to their beloved Tigers.

In the final minutes, Ross made a key three pointer on an assist from Pressey to give Missouri the lead, 66-63 with 1:12 left in the game.  After South Carolina stormed down the other end and Brenton Williams was fouled, he made his free throws to bring the gap within one, 66-65 Tigers.

Missouri took a timeout with 26 seconds to go and a one point lead. .  When it brings the ball back in, Pressey is unable to get the ball.  Ross finally broke open and drove hard to the lane, but kicked it out to Jabari Brown for the three at the last second.  Brown sank the three, giving the Tigers a 69-65 lead with 17 seconds left to play.

South Carolina missed a layup, and Tony Criswell was fouled with five seconds left.  He sank his free throws and the Tigers won, improving their conference play to 3-2, and overall record to 14-4. Along with Oriaki and Ross, Brown had a huge game for the Tigers, scoring 17 points and nabbing 7 rebounds.

Now, this is the second game in a row that Phil Pressey has underperformed.  Granted, he was in foul trouble most of the second half, but looking at the stats, compared to overall play and conference play, Pressey is scoring 12 points a game compared to just 7 points a game.  In conference play, he is 33% from the field, and 15% from beyond the arc, while in overall play, he is 36% and 30%.  With these stats in mind, in a league where aggressive guard play is a deciding factor, will Pressey continue to struggle?  If the answer is yes, this is a problem for our Tigers.  Missouri needs to get healthy, and it needs to develop depth.

The Tigers take on Vanderbilt next on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.