Story by Eric Short
Photos by Peter Marek
That’s how long it has been since Missouri senior forward Laurence Bowers has stepped on the basketball court in a Tiger uniform.
Bowers, who tore his ACL at the beginning of last season, was finally able to suit up and play in front of his home fans Friday night during Mizzou Madness.
During the player introductions, Bowers easily drew the loudest reaction from the Missouri crowd and said that it was an emotional night for him to hear that support.
“It was a really heartfelt night,” Bowers said. “ I didn’t care how I played it just felt good to be out there. Hearing the crowd cheer for me sent chills down my whole body.”
Bowers’ return wasn’t the only highlight of the night. Senior guard Keion Bell, a transfer from Pepperdine, won the dunk contest by jumping over six people, a dunk he said he has been doing for years.
“I’ve been doing that dunk since the 10th grade, the most people I have done is seven but I’m getting a little old,” Bell said. “I’ve never lost a dunk contest so I kept that going.”
The crowd’s reaction to Bower’s return and Bell’s gravity-defying dunks weren’t the only cool moments of the night.
Watching junior Phil Pressey and senior Mike Dixon guard each other was fascinating. Last year the two were part of what is widely considered the best backcourt in the nation.
While the game had a very laid back tone throughout, the game was close in the final minute and watching the two All-American guards go at it was great to watch.
Missouri coach Frank Haith was happy with how the night turned out.
“It was a fun night I just wanted our guys to be themselves and execute.” Haith said of the 10-minute scrimmage between the black and gold teams that ended with a gold team victory 28-24.
The Missouri men’s team opens up the regular season on November 10 against SIU Edwardsville at 3 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.