Missouri Defeats Maryland-Eastern Shore 73-55


The Missouri Tigers defeated the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks Sunday evening 73-55.

The game started out well for the Tigers; Mizzou shot 60 percent from the floor in the first 10 minutes and had seven rebounds in that span. The Hawks used the three to keep it close early; of their first 18 points, nine came from beyond the arc. They also exposed a troubling weakness in the Tigers; the Tigers failed to defend the perimeter in the opening minutes, allowing guard Ryan Andino to carve up the Tigers early. Soon enough, Mizzou clamped down on the perimeter and held the Hawks to 33 percent from the beyond the three in the first half.

The Tigers then fell back on what they did in the Wofford game; namely, forcing the Hawks to get close, and snatching the defensive rebounds when the Hawks missed.

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Mizzou, by contrast, relied mainly on deep twos, only hitting two three-pointers in the first 15 minutes. That changed as it closer to halftime, starting with a pair of threes from Wes Clark and Terrence Phillips. After those attempts, the three-point floodgates opened, with Mizzou attempting as many threes in the first half alone as they did in the entire game against Wofford.

This strategy would’ve been successful if the Tigers could hit a three. The Tigers shot 31 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, and the Hawks took great advantage of the miscues, nabbing eleven defensive rebounds in that time span. A 2-for-8 run at the end of the half did not help matters.

To begin the second half, the Tigers defense bent, but did not break, forcing the Hawks to miss their first five shots. The Hawks responded by playing a little too rough. Two consecutive fouls allowed the Tigers to set up a Kevin Puryear lay up for the first Tiger points of the half. After a third foul in 1:40 span, the Hawks were given a bench warning.

Then the Hawks picked up yet another foul, their fourth in two minutes. These fouls resulted in only one trip to the charity stripe, as Kevin Puryear went one-and-one from the line. After the teams traded three-pointers, the bonus came back to bite the Hawks, as K.J. Walton landed two free throws to put the Tigers up by three.

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After Maryland-Eastern Shore’s 10th foul in 10 minutes, the Tigers responded in a big way. First, Cullen Vanleer hit a three, followed by a Tramaine Isabell fast break lay up after a defensive rebound by Russell Woods. This pair of baskets, along with a K.J. Walton lay up capped an 11-0 run for the Tigers.

The Tigers then pulled away thanks to some abysmal shooting from the Hawks. In the middle of the second half, the Hawks went  1-for-5 shooting, while the Tigers’ started to nail three-pointers and their free throws to keep their distance from the Hawks. Landing free throws was of particular importance, because the Hawks averaged slightly less than a foul per minute in the second half.

What the Tigers showed tonight was a stronger reiteration of what they showed against Wofford; all but one Tiger sorted, but this game featured four players in double digits rather than two. Kevin Puryear had another big game, dropping 13 points and five rebounds. K.J. Walton and Terrence Phillips had big games as well.

It was Wes Clark who had the biggest game. Clark scored 15 points, including three from beyond the arc, and four from the charity stripe. Victory notwithstanding, the Tigers showed that they weren’t perfect; the Tigers had trouble defending the perimeter early, and were quite foul-prone. However, they looked a confident going into their meeting with Xavier on Tuesday.

Next: Tigers Defeat BYU 20-16 in Kansas City

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