Month: February 2013

Mizzou Upsets Florida in SEC Showdown

Revenge is often a dish that is best served cold.  Well, that is exactly what Mizzou handed the Gators Tuesday night as payback for the smackdown earlier in the season.  Clawing their way back form a 13-point deficit, the Tigers pulled off an ubelievable upset win, 63-60.

The key to this Tiger win? Two words: Laurence Bowers.

A month ago, Mizzou was demolished by Florida in a 31-point blowout loss.  The Tigers were without Bowers then, and their overall game greatly suffered.

In the rematch Tuesday night, in front of a sellout crowd of 15,061, Bowers proved he was the missing key component for Mizzou, scoring 17 points and grabbing ten rebounds.

Bowers was also a dominant threat on defense, limiting Florida’s Patric Young to just two points the entire game.

The turning point of the game was a three point play orchestrated by junior point guard Phil Pressey, which gave Mizzou its first lead of the game, 59-57, with just 2:51 to go.

Florida quickly answered with a three from guard Scottie Wilbekin to put the Gators back on top with a minute and a half left to play.

Mizzou just would not die thought, and with the cheers of its fans surrounding them, Bowers came through once again, sinking a jumper to make it 61-60, with 1:15 left.

After that, Mizzou held onto the lead and Keion bell made two free throws to seal the deal, winning the game 63-60.

Pressey had sevent points on the night, along with six rebounds and ten assists.  He also cut his turnover margin from the last time these two teams played against each other in half, from ten to five.

Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross were also key contributors to Mizzou’s success, with Brown scoring 12 points and Ross scoring 11 points respectively.

The Tigers are now 15-0 at home, and 30-1 under coach Frank Haith.

Mizzou travels to Lexington, Kentucky February 23 to take on the Wildcats in another SEC showdown.

Mizzou v. Florida Preview

As February draws to a close, in the majority of the nation, so does the cold weather, and we get ready for spring.  But in Missouri, its predicted to snow on Wednesday and a cold front is coming in.  Typical Missouri, where nothing is what it seems.  This applies to our weather, and to our Missouri Tigers, who take on the Florida Gators Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena in what is the biggest game of the season.

On a side note, this game is extremely personal to me.  I have grown up watching and cheering for the Florida Gators since I was six years old.  I have bleed orange and blue for as long as I can remember. My grandfather played football for the Gators, my dad went there, and my sister is a freshman there now. I transferred to Missouri last year, and fell in love with the Tigers.  Now, instead of bleeding orange and blue, I bleed black and gold.  So, when my two favorite teams take the stage tomorrow night in the most epic game of basketball in my entire life, it will be an emotional one.

The last time these two teams met, it was like watching a game of Wack-A-Mole.  The Tigers were the moles.  Florida completely flattened Missouri, 83-52.  The Gators held star point guard Phil Pressey to two points, and caused him to have ten turnovers.  Alex Oriakhi only had four points and two rebounds, and the only two Tigers to make it into the double digits were Keion Bell with 14 points, and Jabari Brown with 16 points.

As I stated before, this is the biggest matchup of the year for Missouri.  Had the Tigers won against Arkansas, a win over Florida, who many consider to be a one seed in the tournament, could have changed tournament seeding for Missouri.  Now, since they lost to Arkanas, the Tigers are on the bubble for the NCAA tournament.  They need to close out conference play with wins in four out of the five games left.  Sitting at 7-6 in the SEC, Missouri needs at least 11 to 12 wins in order to be considered for the NCAA Tournament.

Now, although Florida beat Missouri like a steel drum the last time the teams faced off, these are not the same teams from January 19th.

During that matchup, the Tigers were without forward Laurence Bowers, which left a huge hole in the Tigers game plan.  Bowers averages 15 points a game.  With him back, he adds a whole new dynamic to Missouri’s offense.  Look for the Tigers to feed it to him down in the post. Missouri has to get the ball inside, and try and get Patric Young and Erik Murphy in foul trouble.   Pressey has got to utilize Bowers and Oriakhi if Missouri wants to win.

Florida is without versatile forward Will Yequete, who is a key defender at the top of the key.  Yequete had 13 points against the Tigers in January, and with him out, that leaves a huge hole in the Gator defense as to who will take on Keion Bell.  Bell is averaging 21 points a game this month, and will be a huge asset to Missouri if he can connect with Pressey and Bowers.

Speaking of Phil Pressey, he needs to redeem himself.  He is one of the most talented point guards that I had seen in a while, and in order for Missouri to win this game, Pressey is going to have to, to be cliché and quote High School Musical, get his head in the game.  Pressey needs to be able to beat the swarming, big guard defense that Florida loves so much.    The Gators have held 11 opponents to 50 or fewer points this season, and rank third in the nation in scoring defense, with 52.6 points per game.  With that being said, will Pressey, at 5’10, be able to play against the big guards like Wilbekin and Rosario on Tuesday?  He is going to have to step up and be the player that analysts predicted would be the SEC player of the year in the pre season.  Without Pressey being a threat, Florida will chomp Missouri to bits.

The thing that pained me the most about the last matchup between these two teams was how Florida jumped to an early lead, and then for the rest of the game, you had to watch Missouri painfully try to claw its way back within reach.  But in reality, you knew there was no hope for the Tigers.

So on Tuesday, it is crucial that Missouri get out early.  It must get on the board before the Gators, and create momentum and adrenaline for themselves and the fans.  Use the home court advantage!  Missouri is 12-0 at home.   If the Tigers allow Florida to get out early, they stand no chance.

Missouri has to utilize Bowers and Oriakhi, as well as Earnest Ross, who has been a key player for Missouri off the bench. Pressey must connect with his teammates, not make stupid, fancy passes that result in unnecessary turnovers, and he has to get the ball inside to Bowers.

Now, while the smart move would be to pick the No. 5 Florida Gators, I have always been a fan of upsets.  And seeing since this is the most bizarre college basketball season ever, I always enjoy stirring the pot.  I mean, look at this season. No number one team besides Indiana has been able to hold that title for more than a week. With that in mind, I think, if Missouri can get Pressey out of his slump and come out early and strong, and make sure to utilize Bowers and Oriakhi, the Tigers pull a stunning  upset, 66-64.

Mizzou Wrestling Body Slams Purdue on its Way to Finals

After a deafening win over the Maryland Terrapins Sunday morning, the Tigers wanted nothing more then to wipe the mats with Purdue and get on with their Sunday.  Mizzou absolutely demolished the Purdue Boilermakers in the championship match Sunday afternoon, winning 27-15, and sending the Tigers on their way to Minnesota for the NWCA Championships next weekend.

 

Alan Waters came out of the gates still riding the adrenaline from his previous win, taking down No. 16 Camden Eppert for the second time this season in the 125 pounds bracket. The No. 4 ranked Waters gained the upper hand quickly, notching five take downs total during the match.   Just like before, Waters won by major decision, easily defeating Eppert 15-3.

 

Mizzou lengthened its lead to 10-0 with a forfeit happening at the 133 – weight class.  Nathan McCormick did not get to continue his dominating performance from earlier in the day, but a win is a win, and the Tigers moved on to the next match up.

 

Purdue finally slithered its way onto the score board with a win in the 141 weight class, with Brandon Nelsen defeating Nicholas Hucke, 8-4.  The Tigers immediately answered, and for the rest of the match, it was back and forth between the two teams.

 

Purdue was only down by six points going into the 149- weight class bout, but a technical fall by No. 15 Drake Houdashelt  along with six takedowns gave Mizzou complete control.   And try as Purdue might, it never stood a chance after that match.  The Boilermaker’s fate was sealed.

 

It wasn’t a pretty one.

 

Moving on to the big matchup of the night, No. 1 Dom Bradley continued his undefeated and total dominance of his senior season by defeating Alex White.  Bradley completely conquered White, 21-7, totaling nine takedowns during the match.  This win puts the senior at 30-0, another undefeated season, and just four  wins away from the 100- win club as a Tiger.

 

Come to think of it, the last time that Bradley lost in Columbia was when he was a freshman in high school, in 2004.

 

The Tigers head to St. Paul, Minnesota Feb. 22 to take on Minnesota, Oklahoma State, and Ohio State as they continue on their hunt to be crowned champions.

 

 

Beauty and the Beast Competition gets the best of Lady Tigers

While the Beauty and the Beast competition broke records in some areas for Missouri Friday night, the gymnastics team didn’t quite stick the landing.

The Tigers fell to 17th ranked Auburn in front of a record-breaking crowd of 6,486, 196.725-194.575.  This drops the Tigers to 0-3 in conference play.

Many Missouri gymnasts achieved new career highs Friday night, which went right into the books along with the new attendance record, which was recorded as the tenth highest all time attendance in Tiger gymnastics history.

Senior Tori Howard cemented her role as leader on the team, beaming ahead of the competition to take first place on the balance beam with a score of 9.900, a new personal and season high score for her.  Sophomore Rachel Updike also continued on her power roll this season, taking second place on the beam with a score of 9.875.

Other notable Tigers that stood out were freshman Miranda Eubank on the fault, who competed in her third meet this season, and put up a score of 9.600 on the vault, and junior Mackenzie McGill, who had a career high of 9.800 on the uneven bars.

Running full steam at the vault, Missouri started out strong.  Updike nailed it with a score of 9.875, and Howard continued with her leadership role with a 9.775 but the Tigers were no match for Auburn’s freshman Caitlin Atkinson, who posted a 9.9 on both the vault and the uneven bars.

Swinging over to the uneven bars, the Tigers fought back, with Updike soaring to a new career high score of 9.850.  The rest of the team didn’t post a score below 9.7, but Auburn still lead by more than a point at the end of the second rotation, 98.325-96.925.

Moving on to the floor routines, junior Cathryn Aliceaacosta came through for Missouri with a career high 9.825, while senior Sandra Ostad made her mark with a 9.850, a new personal best.  Junior Taylor Medrea anchored with a score of 9.800, but this still wasn’t enough to beat Auburn, who never let goes of its lead after the second rotation.

Missouri is home once again on Feb. 8th for a Tiger showdown against LSU at the Hearnes Center.