Bowers’ big second half leads Missouri past SIU-Edwardsville

Story by Eric Short
Photos by Peter Marek

Missouri forward, Laurence Bowers passes off over an SIUE defender.

Missouri’s 2012 regular season started out a little funky.

Despite a lackadaisical first half for the No. 15 Tigers against SIU-Edwardsville on Saturday night, Missouri recovered in time to secure an 83-69 victory.

Missouri big man Laurence Bowers was perhaps the biggest factor in overcoming the slow start, which led by only six points as a team heading into halftime.

After only scoring two points in the first half, the 6-foot-8 senior exploded in the second, scoring 18 points. Fourteen of Bowers’ points came during the Tigers’ 22-8 run to start the second half.

Bowers put an exclamation point on his scoring outburst with a thunderous tomahawk dunk off a slick pass from Phil Pressey.

Bowers said the dunk was important for him in regaining confidence after tearing his ACL before last season.

“That was my first dunk in a long time, it’s a big deal but honestly I was just the beneficiary of good passing,” Bowers said, who finished the game with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Once SIUE switched to a 2-3 zone, Bowers began licking his chops. Time and time again the lengthy forward camped out by the free throw line and waited for the ball, exploiting SIUE’s defense with multiple mid-range jumpers.

Coach Frank Haith credited Bowers’ hard work to his improved shooting.

“He is such a better shooter then he was last year and that is all just due to hard work,” Haith said. “He hit a couple of long 2’s and I am even comfortable with him shooting a three. When he catches the ball in rhythm, he’s pretty good.”

Haith also sang the praises of freshman guard Negus Webster-Chan. The Canadian had 11 points with four assists and no turnovers.  Webster-Chan’s 34 minutes of playing time were the most of any Tiger besides Pressey, who had 35.

“I am so excited for Negus, he is really beyond his years as a player,” Haith said. “He stays within himself and I feel very good putting him out on the floor.”

“I really just try to do whatever I can to help my team, just trying to fit into a role,” Webster-Chan said.

Phil Pressey had the best all-around game of any Missouri Tiger, scoring 19 points while dishing out nine assists and pulling down five rebounds.

The Tigers also received a big game from senior Alex Oriakhi, who grabbed 15 rebounds to go along with his eight points and three blocks.

Up next for Missouri is a game against Alcorn State on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Mizzou Arena.

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One response to “Bowers’ big second half leads Missouri past SIU-Edwardsville

  1. Pingback: Mike Dixon-less new-look Tigers win opener behind old faces Bowers, Pressey, face Alcorn St. next + links » KC SportsNation

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