Even without Laurence Bowers, this had all the markings of a comfortable win for Missouri and that’s exactly what played out on the floor. The Tigers, playing in front of their home crowd last night, scored first by way of two Stefan Jankovic free throws. Georgia tied things up 2-2 on a Donte’ Williams dunk 2:45 into the game, but that was the last time the Bulldogs were even or had a chance to take a lead. From that point on, Mizzou was in control and cruised to a 79-62 win. It was a bounce-back victory for the Tigers but the reality is that Georgia is nowhere close to the caliber of the Ole Miss team that handled Missouri the game before.
Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown each scored 15 points to pace the offense and together were 6-11 from three while shooting an even 50% overall. Alex Oriakhi returned to form with 13 points on 5-5 shooting. He led the team in rebounds with eight and blocked four shots in 31 minutes. Tony Criswell and Keion Bell also scored in double digits with ten and 14 points respectively as the team did a solid job with their shot selection and made 48.1% of their attempts. While they spread the points around and had five players in double digits, Phil Pressey was not one of them. He finished with six assists and four steals but failed to score more than a dozen points for the third straight game. His five points tied a season low, but on a positive note he turned the ball over just once which also tied a season low.
Prior to last night, Bulldogs senior Vincent Williams was averaging just over four points per game but that didn’t stop him from scoring a season high 23 on 7-10 shooting. It was the first time all season he broke the 20 point threshold and only the second time this season he went over ten. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia’s leading scorer this season, added 15 points. No one else on the team scored more than nine or took more than seven shots.
Georgia (6-10, 0-3) will move on to host LSU (9-5, 0-3) Saturday. Both teams have lost three in a row and both are still looking for their first conference win of the year. The Tigers currently hold a better RPI but it’s the Bulldogs that have played a significantly tougher schedule to date, which says more about LSU’s previous opponents than anything.
#17 Missouri (13-3, 2-1) will be the guests of the #10 Florida Gators (13-2, 3-0) on Saturday. Even with Bowers in the fold this figured to be their toughest test of the season and the Tigers are still unsure whether they will get their senior forward back on the court for the game. Even if he is able to play, it’s hard to believe he will be anywhere near 100%. Mizzou should have the advantage on the glass but senior guards Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton have the ability to make life very miserable for Pressey who has struggled of late. Boynton (13.8 ppg) and Rosario (12.3 ppg) lead the offensive attack for the Gators but as a team they are a very balanced unit. Erik Murphy (12.0 ppg) and Patric Young (11.1 ppg) also average in double figures while junior Scottie Wilbekin (8.1) provides Florida with a fifth reliable option.