Mizzou men’s basketball outworked in 64-62 loss to Tennesssee

By Matthew Fairburn

SEC Tournament bracket (PDF)

Tennessee wanted Saturday’s game more than Missouri did, and the Volunteers played like it.

A rushed 3-point attempt from Phil Pressey sealed Missouri’s fate, but the 64-62 Tennessee win was a product of the Volunteers’ hard work.

The Tigers came into the game No. 2 in the nation in rebounding, averaging 41.4 boards per game, but afforded the Volunteers a 45-32 edge in that department. Tennessee (19-11 overall, 11-7 in conference play) outworked Missouri (22-9, 11-7) on the glass and found open looks in the second half while Missouri struggled to fight through ball screens.

With Alex Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers in early foul trouble, no Tiger managed more than six rebounds in the game.

The loss overshadowed another strong performance for Bowers, though. He put up a game-high 20 points, marking the third consecutive game Bowers has hit the 20 point mark. Bowers also provided the highlight of the afternoon, throwing down a two-handed dunk over Jarnell Stokes, sending the Tennessee forward sprawling to the ground.

Pressey was the only other Tiger in double figures in the loss, as he recorded 10 points and had nine assists, but also turned the ball over a team-high three times.

Missouri led 50-42 with just over 10 minutes to play in the game before Tennessee ripped off a 16-3 run to take control heading into the final minutes.

Pressey took the ball up court for the Tigers with just under 30-seconds to play and immediately fired a 3-pointer that wasn’t close to falling and elicited a furious reaction from coach Frank Haith. Two Tennessee free throws made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Earnest Ross irrelevant to the outcome of the game.

The loss pushes the Tigers from the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament to the No. 6 seed. Instead of earning a top four seed and a double bye in the tournament, the Tigers will have to play an extra game to advance to the quarterfinals. Tennessee moves to the No. 5 seed and adds another quality win to its resume for the NCAA Tournament.

The Texas A&M and Auburn will face off in the first round of the SEC Tournament, and the winner will play Missouri in round two. Regardless of the opponent, Missouri’s next game is scheduled for Thursday, March 14 at 9 p.m. in Nashville, Tenn.

Kelsey Roth Leads Mizzou to Win Over Texas A&M

By Karl Roskamp

Going in No. 5 Missouri and No. 7 Texas A&M were almost one in the same.  Both teams had one loss, star pitchers with ERAs under 1.00, and one hit going into the sixth inning.  It was appropriate that first baseman Kelsey Roth changed the game with one swing of the bat.

“I just wanted the ball to get out,” Roth said.

“It’s a game of inches,” pitcher Chelsea Thomas said.  “If we had a couple of our hits go through the five, six hole…it could have been a different game.”

Roth hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Tigers to a 2-0 win against the Aggies on Friday night.

Left fielder Mackenzie Sykes set up the walk-off home run with a two-out double off the top of the wall in left field.  Missouri managed three hits off Mel Dumezich, all coming in the last six plate appearances.  Dumezich was solid, but unspectacular as she allowed two earned runs, two strikeouts, two walks, and had more first pitch balls than strikes.

Texas A&M’s best chance to change the announcer’s theme of “zero runs on zero hits with zero walks and no one left on base” came in the sixth inning.  After walking pinch hitter Sydney Shannon to put two runners on, Thomas faced A&M catcher Nicole Morgan- the team’s leader in home runs and RBIs.  Morgan connected on a fastball that sailed deep into right field before being caught by the backpedalling Sarah Moore. Read more of this post

Zastryzny strikes out nine in complete game, Tigers win third straight

Text by John Guminski
Photos by Zach Garcia

Missouri starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny delivers a pitch during the third inning of Friday’s game against San Francisco. Zastryzny went on to throw the Missouri pitching staff’s first complete game of the season, pitching nine innings while allowing six innings and just two runs – both of which came in the first inning.

Missouri starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny delivers a pitch during the third inning of Friday’s game against San Francisco. Zastryzny went on to throw the Missouri pitching staff’s first complete game of the season, pitching nine innings while allowing six innings and just two runs – both of which came in the first inning.Photos by Zach Garcia

Going into tonight’s game, starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny had been struggling to find his command and the numbers have shown it. His season line stood at 0-2 with an earned run average of 6.75. Heralded as the Tiger’s ace, he knew that he needed to improve.

Early on, it looked like things wouldn’t change for Rob Z. A trio of doubles had the Tigers down 2-0 in the first inning.  From there on out, the Tiger’s ace pitched eight innings of scoreless baseball, allowing two hits and striking out nine.

Emotions were high and Missouri’s ace delivered.

“In my mind, I was zoned in more than I had ever been in my life,” Zastryzny said. “It was time for me to stop what I was doing. I just need to rebuild off what I did today and do it for the rest of the season.”

After throwing 25 pitches in the first inning, Zastryzny finished the game with 112, 77 for strikes. The complete game was the first for Zastryzny since April 2012 against Texas Tech. Coach Tim Jamieson was very happy with the way “Rob Z” battled.

“He was as good tonight as I have ever seen him in this program,” Jamieson said. Read more of this post

Mizzou baseball dominant in doubleheader home opener

Text by Zach Garcia
Photos by John Guminski

The Tigers prepare to take the field for game 2 of their doubleheader against EMU.

The Tigers prepare to take the field for game 2 of their doubleheader against EMU.

The Missouri baseball team finally had a chance to play on its home field, which was evidently just the remedy the team needed to break out of its early season slump.

Missouri (2-6) swept a two-game doubleheader Wednesday, taking two seven-inning games from Eastern Michigan (3-9) and notching its first wins of the 2013 season in the process. The Tigers rolled behind strong starting pitching in a 1-0 Game 1 win and finally put together a complete offensive performance in a 7-1 Game 2 victory.

“We’ve been on the verge for a week or two, we just needed to all finally push over that edge,” catcher Dylan Kelly said. “We’re gonna have to keep rolling in the next weeks, but I think we’re coming up pretty well.”

Kelly was once again the leader on offense for the Tigers, who’s bases-clearing single in the fourth inning of Game 2 broke that game open and paced Missouri to the large win. Kelly has swung a hot bat all season, but on Wednesday he didn’t have to lead the charge alone. Shortstop Josh Lester batted in a run in both games, second baseman Kendall Keeton had a combined four hits on the day and outfielder Scott Sommerfeld finally broke through at the plate, notching his first two hits on the season.

The hottest Tigers on the day were those pitching the ball, however. Both Jace James in Game 1 and Keaton Steele in Game 2 made the most of their spot starts, refusing to allow an EMU run to score and giving up just three hits in their combined 11 innings pitched.

Read more of this post

Mizzou’s Sheldon Richardson competing to be top pick in NFL Draft

By Matthew Fairburn

Former Missouri defensive tackle spent last weekend in Indianapolis at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine.

Richardson discussed his final season at Missouri, his decision to leave school early, and how he stacks up to the rest of the defensive tackles in this year’s class.

While Richardson is widely considered a first round prospect, he hopes to hear his name called when the Kansas City Chiefs make the first overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Supervising editing for this story was done by Jared Jeffries

Bowers, Mizzou welcome back Mike Anderson with a 93-63 win over Arkansas

By Matthew Fairburn

Columbia, Mo.— When Arkansas coach Mike Anderson made his way out of the tunnel and onto Norm Stewart Court on Tuesday night for the first time since leaving Missouri in 2011, he was greeted with a chorus of boos from the Tiger fans at Mizzou Arena.

As it turned out, the boos were the least of his problems, as Missouri (22-8 overall, 11-6 in the Southeastern Conference) dominated the game from the opening tip, sending Arkansas (18-12, 8-8) home with a 93-63 loss.

“They had a lot of things going in their direction, so you have to give them credit,” Anderson said after the game. “It was a great atmosphere.”

The atmosphere was made more emotional by a pre-game ceremony honoring Missouri’s three seniors: Laurence Bowers, Alex Oriakhi and Keion Bell.

Bowers stole the show against the coach that recruited him to Missouri though. For the second straight game, Bowers finished with a double-double and paced his team with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

“This is was the way I wanted to go out my senior night,” Bowers said. “We got the win.”

The heightened excitement in the building affected the Tigers in the early going.

Read more of this post

Mizzou gets time off with cancellation of weekend softball tournament

By Karl Roskamp

After two consecutive weekend tournaments the No. 6 Missouri softball team got some unexpected time off this weekend.

The Tigers were slated to play four games, but the statewide snowstorm caused Southeast Missouri to cancel its Cancer Awareness Classic in Cape Girardeau.  Missouri was scheduled to face SEMO, Saint Louis, Missouri State, and UMKC.  It is unclear whether these games will be made up. Current Southeastern Conference standings show that Missouri has played about half as many games as the other schools in the league.

SEC EAST DIVISION
Florida 22-1
Missouri 9-1
Tennessee 19-3
Kentucky 16-3
South Carolina 12-3
Georgia 12-7

SEC WEST DIVISION
Alabama 22-0
Texas A&M 22-1
LSU 17-4
Miss St 13-4
Auburn 16-5
Arkansas 16-6
Ole Miss 16-9

The tournament would have been the final tune up for Missouri before its conference series opener at home against No. 9 Texas A&M this weekend.

Supervising editing for this story was done by Jared Jeffries

Kulas leads with 26 as Mizzou defeats South Carolina 65-58, securing postseason play

Story by Elaine Stockdale

Columbia, Mo.­­— Mizzou upset No. 14 South Carolina 65-58 at Thursday night at Mizzou Arena, booking their spot in postseason play for first time since 2007.

Tonight’s win marks the 16th win for the Tigers, their 14th home win and their first win in three weeks – breaking a five-game losing streak.

Despite the win, coach Robin Pingeton is taking it one game at a time.

“It’s absolutely nice, there is no doubt about it, but we haven’t talked a lot about win number 16,” Pingeton said. “We can’t play for win number 16, we have to play our absolute best on each given night.”

Junior Bri Kulas had a stand out performance for Mizzou tonight, finishing with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

“We were just looking to attack, to protect the power zone, and make the baskets,” Kulas said.

Kulas was dominant throughout the game, grabbing rebounds and scoring points off her own second efforts. She was 8-16 from the field and 10-13 from the free throw line.

Kulas had plenty of drive and poise when attacking the basket, crossing over and weaving through players to the paint. Her strive and grit making it to the basket and grabbing rebounds contributed to her points and free throw attempts. Read more of this post

Mizzou faces South Carolina for senior night in last home game

Story by Elaine Stockdale

For their last regular season home game at Mizzou Arena, the Missouri women’s basketball team will play host to the South Carolina Gamecocks tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Mizzou will set out to end a five game losing streak while being one win away from a .500 record.

Missouri needs one win – either tomorrow night at home or on the road against Alabama Sunday – to attain the .500 record, making them eligible for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

The Tigers currently stand at 15-13 overall, 4-10 in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). South Carolina is 22-5, and 10-4 in SEC play. The teams have only met each other once in program history, at the Duke Classic in 2004. The Gamecocks defeated Mizzou 72-60 in the game but will make their way to Columbia, Mo. tomorrow for the first time.

Thursday’s senior night game recognizes Mizzou’s Sydney Crafton, Liz Smith, and Liene Priede.

Coach Robin Pingeton spoke about the emotion in the lead-up to Thursday night.

“Senior nights are always tough, there are a lot of emotions,” Pingeton said. “It’s different for everybody, but I think our challenge to our players is play with those emotions. But you got to make sure you funnel and channel them in the right the direction.” Read more of this post

Pressey, Bowers lead Mizzou to upset of No. 5 Florida

Missouri's Laurence Bowers (21) and Phil Pressey (1) embrace as Missouri's Keion Bell hits two free throws with 3 seconds left to seal the win for Mizzou.

Missouri’s Laurence Bowers (21) and Phil Pressey (1) embrace as Missouri’s Keion Bell hits two free throws with three seconds left to seal the win for Mizzou.

Story by Matthew Fairburn
Photos by Elaine Stockdale

COLUMBIA— As Missouri guard Phil Pressey drove the ball towards the basket with just under three minutes to play in Tuesday night’s 63-60 win against No. 5 Florida trailing by one point, he believed.

Despite the fact that the Tigers hadn’t held the lead all game, despite his recent late-game struggles against Arkansas and Texas A&M, and despite having scored just four points up until that drive, Pressey believed.

Pressey crossed left and flipped the ball off the glass and through the net, drawing a foul in the process. Pressey made the “and 1″ free throw to complete the three-point play and give Missouri its first lead of the night, the score 59-57.

“Just believing in one another,” Pressey said when asked about the key to victory. “I’m continually just keeping our guys together when we’re up and down and I know that helps out. Coaches have been harping on me to do that and it really helps our guys. It really makes us believe we can win.”

The Tigers’ first lead didn’t last long. Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin made a 3-pointer with less than two minutes to play that put the Gators back in front 60-59. But on the other end of the floor, Pressey found Laurence Bowers for the eventual game-winning shot to give the Tigers a 61-60 advantage. Read more of this post

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