Story by the Associated Press
Photos by Karen Mitchell
Phil Pressey (1) is congratulated by teammates near the end of Saturday’s game. Pressey scored a career-high 26 points.
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Earlier in the season, Missouri men’s basketball coach Frank Haith acknowledged that Missouri’s offense ran through Laurence Bowers.
For the third consecutive game, Phil Pressey dictated the pace in the second half and put the 12th-ranked Tigers in position to win. Unlike its last game, a three-point overtime loss at UCLA, Missouri scored down the stretch Saturday and managed to edge Bucknell 66-64.
Pressey scored a career-high 26 points, mostly thanks to a career-best 10 made field goals. He singlehandedly kept the Tigers in the game during a 90-second stretch late in the second half by scoring seven consecutive points.
“He’s a terrific player,” Haith said. “Phil will tell you he’s all about just getting better and learning. You love a kid like that, he has that kind of attitude. Those special players, when you have one, he’s one of those guys that can do a lot of different things on the court to help you win basketball games other than score.”
But Pressey’s performance almost went for naught.
The 5-foot-11 point guard clanked the front-end of a 1-and-1 leading 64-63 with 10.3 seconds remaining. Bucknell’s Mike Muscala then bailed the Tigers out by stepping on the baseline with 4.1 left on the clock after catching a pass from Ryan Hill.
Earnest Ross made two free throws for the Tigers (11-2), but a foul by Jabari Brown put Muscala on the line for a final attempt to tie the game with 1.9 remaining. After making the first free throw, Missouri’s Stefan Jankovic grabbed the rebound on the second to end the game.
Read more of this post