By Matthew Fairburn
Missouri’s 70-68 loss at Texas A&M on Thursday was all too familiar.
For weeks, the Tigers have emphasized playing better on the road. The slow starts, the foul trouble and the impatient offense have been concerns when the team plays away from home. Each one reared its ugly head again in Thursday’s game.
Missouri (16-6, 5-4) fell behind Texas A&M (14-8, 4-5) 19-8 early in the game, marking the fourth straight conference road game in which the team has trailed by double digits in the first half.
Unlike past road games, Missouri managed to narrow the gap before half, despite Laurence Bowers getting into foul trouble and Phil Pressey turning the ball over more than the team is used to.
The Tigers didn’t make things any easier on themselves in the second half, falling behind by 15 early on after the break.
That’s when Pressey sparked a comeback.
The Tigers shot 16-18 from the free throw line in the second half, and Pressey scored 11 of his 13 points after the break, putting the team within striking distance of its first road win of the season.
But inconsistent defense and careless ball handling ended any hopes of that.
Despite a 3-pointer from Bowers with less than a minute to play that put Missouri up by one, Pressey, who is usually reliable with the ball in his hands, couldn’t seal the victory.
As the Aggie defenders pressed the Tiger point guard by closing in for a foul with under 30 seconds to play, Pressey launched a pass that sailed out of bounds and gave Texas A&M a chance to re-gain the lead.
And that’s exactly what the Aggies did, as an uncontested 3-pointer from Fabyon Harris proved to be the game-winning shot.
The loss puts Missouri at 0-5 on the road this season, including 0-4 in the SEC. The team has a quick turnaround, having to play at home on Saturday against Ole Miss, who handed Missouri a 15-point loss earlier this season.
Despite coming within seconds of its first round win, Missouri’s end result is a game that fell short in all of the same areas. So for another week, the Tigers will have to answer all of the same questions about those struggles away from home.