Sharp Shooting Missouri Bests Basketball, 89-76
Communications Sr. Associate
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri for the second straight game shot over 50 percent from the field and was able to overcome the strong scoring of LSU senior Charles Carmouche and sophomore Anthony Hickey Saturday afternoon as Missouri earned a split in the season two-game series with an 89-76 win at Mizzou Arena.
The LSU Tigers had defeated Missouri earlier in the conference season (Jan. 31) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center when Missouri was ranked 17th in the nation. LSU falls to 17-10 and 8-8 entering the final week of play while Missouri is now 21-9 and trying to solidify a top-four double bye in the SEC Tournament with a 10-6 record.
Laurence Bowers had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Alex Oriakhi had 18 points, 10 boards and four blocks for Missouri. Phil Pressey added 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Anthony Hickey posted career bests of 22 points and six 3-pointers for LSU, while Charles Carmouche had his third consecutive 20-ploint game with 21 points and five 3-pointers. Johnny O'Bryant III had 18 points.
Missouri shot 58.1 percent for the game (36-62), including 18-of-29 (62.1%) in the second half. LSU also took 62 shots, but made just 26 (41.9 percent), but shot 42.9 percent from the arc, equaling a season high with 12 treys. LSU had just 10 turnovers in the game, but Oklahoma State was able to get 15 points off those miscues, while the LSU Tigers were able to just get 7 points off the 11 Mizzou turnovers.
The most glaring stat in Missouri's favor was a 52-24 advantage in points in the paint in the contest.
Missouri took an early 6-0 lead, hyping up the crowd of 14,212 in the Mizzou Arena, but LSU was hot early from the arc, building as much as a 25-12 lead at the 10:31 mark. But Missouri began to assert its will, outscoring LSU 31-14 the rest of the way to take a 43-39 halftime advantage over LSU.
In the second half, Mizzou was able to get the lead to double digits in the first five minutes and pretty much stayed that way throughout the second half, getting as big as a 15 points lead on two occasions. LSU had a brief flurry that got the lead down to eight, 80-72, with 3:03 to play, but Missouri was able to give LSU at bay the rest of the way for the win.
In all, Missouri had five players in double figures with Earnest Ross getting 13 and Keion Bell 11.
Carmouche became the first LSU player to have three consecutive 20-point NBA games since Bo Spencer in December 2009. He has had 20-plus in four-of-the-last-five games for the Tigers. Carmouche also did a good job in the game distributing the ball with five assists with no turnovers while playing all 40 minutes.
LSU now will prepare for the final road game of the regular season on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in College Station against Texas A&M. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Follow LSU men's basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball and on Twitter @LSUBasketball.
QUOTES FROM THE GAME:
Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith
On the Tigers strong offensive performance...
"I think that we were very good offensively the entire game. I thought that Laurence (Bowers) gave us a nice lift in the high post when LSU went zone and made some really nice plays. You have to have guys that can knock down shots, and we did that today. It's a good win, LSU is a very good team."
On the Tigers' dominant post play...
"That's who we are, that is our identity - we have to have paint presence every night. With Laurence and Alex, (Oriakhi) we got the kind of production that we need."
On Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi playing some of their best basketball of the season...
"This is where we've been hoping to get to with Laurence getting back in the lineup. To have him getting back in to rhythm after being out and now playing well with Alex who we really established when Laurence went out is big for us. Now we have both of these guys playing at a high level."
On the play of point guard Phil Pressey...
"15 points, eight assists, only two turnovers and two steal - he had a great night tonight."
LSU Head Coach Johnny Jones
"I thought we got off to a quick start today, which was extremely important in this type of environment. I thought Missouri did a great job of staying poised and making a run before the half, and also making necessary adjustments of getting back into it. I thought they did a great job of controlling the paint area today, which is an area we had concern with. One of the big things we wanted to do was to keep them off the offensive glass, and that was extremely tough for us. Unfortunately I think that was a big reason for such a setback. It was a great effort by both teams; I was just disappointed we didn't do a better job in the paint area."
On the LSU's three-point shooting and Missouri adjustment second half...
"I thought they did a better job in terms of their scoring ability. They got to the rim a lot better than us. They had some easy second-chance scoring opportunities and had a big difference in terms of points in the paint in the first half. They did a good job of getting to our shooters in the first half, even though we did have eight threes. We didn't make the plays that we needed to there at the end."
On how Bowers and Oriakhi compare to other big men in the SEC...
"I think both of those guys are extremely strong. Bowers has the ability to stretch your defense because he's a scorer from that four position. I think Oriakhi is tough not only on the defensive end where he is strong and physical inside, but also around the rim area. He's very capable of scoring there, especially when you help off those guys when Pressey drives in to make plays and penetrate. Oriakhi does a great job of finishing and getting to the rim and taking advantage of easy scoring opportunities."
On Mizzou taking away LSU's inside game...
"I think their size and strength is good enough when you've got guys like Oriakhi to push you off the block and make it extremely tough for you to get angles. At times they tried to double us down and I think we made the right reads when we kicked it out and made shots on the perimeter instead of hitting our guys cutting to the basket."
LSU Player Quotes
Guard Anthony Hickey
On LSU's fast start...
"They were doubling up on John (O'Bryant III). He was able to read the defense and was able to make that extra skip pass."
On playing well against Missouri in both games...
"I was just competing and trying to get a win."
Guard Charles Carmouche
On LSU's fast start...
"I think we did a good job of coming out and throwing the first punch and letting them know that we were here to win the ball game. It's a 40 minute game, you can't just play in the first half. I think we took our foot off the gas. Missouri's a pretty good team and they took advantage of it. We waited too late to get back in the ball game."
On comparing Missouri to other SEC teams...
"They're a pretty great team. They have have a pretty good point guard who makes it easy for other guys. At the same time, they're just like any other SEC team. Anybody's going to come out and play."
"Well coach always tells us to play inside out and more time than not whenever we do that it extends the defense and if Alex Oriakhi and myself have it going, then they will key in on us and the guards can (then) get going.
Senior Forward Lawrence Bowers
On was there a conscious decision to put the ball down low when you guys were down early...
"Well coach always tells us to play inside out and more time than not whenever we do that it extends the defense and if Alex Oriakhi and myself have it going, then they will key in on us and the guards can (then) get going. It was game plan and coach did a great job with the game plan and we benefited from it."
On what Missouri did better defensively in the second half....
"I thought we fought over screens better for a stretch there, and then obviously we had some defensive miscues in the end. But we just need to get better from it. LSU is a pretty good three-point shooting team and you can't take that away from them. So we just got to get in the gym and get better."
On did he feel that he was playing at the same level as before...
"I just got lost in the game. Coach sent me a text this morning that said just play free and that's what I did and it really helped me and I just have to continue to keep that approach throughout the rest of the season."
Senior Forward Alex Oriakhi
On was there a focus on getting the ball in the paint...
"I think that is just who we are. I feel that Lawrence Bowers and I are pretty good down low, so a lot of credit goes to the guards for finding us and Phil Pressey just put us in the perfect position where all you have to do is lay the ball in or dunk it. All the credit goes to the guards."
On did it look like Lawrence was playing at the same level as before...
"Definitely, every time he had it in the post I just told him to go to work. Lawrence is a great player, not a lot of people can guard him."