By the hair on their chinny, chin, chins.
The Missouri Tigers basketball team closed out Mizzou Arena for the year with a narrow 57-56 win, escaping the proverbial trap game against Texas A&M in Columbia Wednesday. Senior Ernest Ross was the hero, hitting two timely free throws to make his senior night send off a memorable one.
Jabari Brown once again led the team with 20 points. Ross only scored five points, but his efforts were crucial late in the game, hitting the game-winning free throw and then deflecting an Aggie pass with 2.2 seconds to keep them from getting another attempt to score.
With the win, the Missouri Tigers improved their record—but perhaps not their status with the tournament gods—as they look ahead to the season finale against Tennessee on Saturday.
“By the hair on their chinny, chin, chins,” is right. Mizzou was behind for the entirety of the game before Ross’s trip to the stripe late in the game, and the Tigers trailed by 10 at halftime after shooting a miserable 26.9 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
It took until 7.3 seconds left for the Tigers to get their first lead of the game, but Missouri’s comeback showed that there is heart in the team that might be good enough to land them a tournament bid.
Still, there’s one thing for certain: Mizzou can’t play like it did against A&M and expect to win in Knoxville. The stakes are too high, Tennessee plays well at home, and Mizzou hasn’t made any kind of statement to solidify themselves as a tournament team.
The Tennessee game is that opportunity. But Missouri won’t take advantage if its box score reads like this: 16-47 from the field, 1-11 from three-point range, 17 turnovers and 5 ASSISTS. Total. That’s what the tallies were against A&M- a pathetic showcase if there ever was one.
Still Mizzou found a way to win. But let’s be clear: it won’t be in the cards if that’s the performance it rolls out against the Volunteers. For now, the jury is still out. They’ve impressed in a few contests this season. But after watching the game against the Aggies, one could argue the Tigers don’t pass the eyeball test. It’s going to take a different kind of game for them to win this weekend.
If they are able to squeeze out a win and sneak into the tournament, they will do so by the hair of their chinny, chin, chins.