South Carolina head coach Lamont Paris he knew to expect it. He had prepared his team for it. There was still nothing he could do about it.
Missouri, coming off a rough night of shooting with a loss to Mississippi State on Saturday, rallied almost immediately against the Gamecocks on Tuesday. Three of the Tigers’ first four field goal attempts of the night came from behind the 3-point arc. They all fell. Three minutes and 20 seconds into halftime, Mizzou had already doubled through South Carolina, 14-7.
“Probably a bad analogy, but when did you fight Mike Tysonyou know, part of the deal was sticking through the first two minutes, honestly,” Paris said of the team’s fast start. “There are some stretches, good stretches, bad stretches. it’s nothing you can do about it.
The first assault ended up being pivotal for the Tigers. The Gamecocks really held on in the first two minutes and fought back to take the lead multiple times, changing the lead eight times. South Carolina couldn’t do enough to win, however, suffering an 83-74 loss inside Mizzou Arena.
“That’s what February is about. Those are the days of dogs,” MU head coach Dennis Gates She said. “You can do everything you can do right but still feel like you’re wrong. So I want my boys to continue to protect their spirits because that is what unites each of us. And I thought we had done it enough to come out with a win.
Gates said he thought his team did a good job of focusing on the little things. They tied the Gamecocks with 28 rebounds each. They scored 18 points on 14 visitors’ turnovers. They handled business on the free throw line, shooting 17-21.
But South Carolina (8-16, 1-10 SEC) started making shots, which Gates says caused some frustration. After trailing 14-7, the Gamecocks went on a 13-5 run to take their first lead of the game, 20-19. Neither team led by more than two points for the next 16 minutes.
Gates normally tells his players not to look at the score during the game. But senior point guard Nick Honor he said in a close game like Tuesday, “it’s definitely a bit more difficult”.
At halftime, the Tigers clung to a 42-37 lead. The thing about Mike Tyson, though, is that even if you survive the first two rounds against him, he’s still Mike Tyson – he’s still dangerous enough to put you in.
Senior striker Kobe Brown He had five points on 2-6 shooting at the half, along with five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Gates thought he was too passive and he told her so.
“He and I shared words, some my mom wouldn’t be proud to hear, but he responded. He answered in a way that I thought a player in the top 50 in the country should answer, or a potential conference player of the year,” Gates said. “He can never have a bad day. day. And I thought he started the game having a bad day. And he corrected that… and got over that frustration.
Brown was flawless in the second half, hitting all four of his field goals and all four of his free throws. He scored eight of Mizzou’s first 15 points of the period to put the team ahead 57-49. He was hit in the face on a flagrant foul by the SC second guard Mechie Johnson, causing Brown’s right eye to swell. Despite this, Brown scored another six points to end the night with 19.
“I really just try to try as hard as I can, I just do what’s good for the team, really,” said Brown.
Missouri took his punches and bowled back enough to earn the win. That’s all Gates is looking for in the final stretch of the championship.
“Being able to win games and February not — you know, you have to be able to have a detailed level of focus on you,” Gates said. “You have to be able to keep doing the little things.”
Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Tigers had brought at least four players off the bench in every game this year. That streak ended against South Carolina after Gates was substituted in only three.
In particular, senior guard Isiah Mosley received a “DNP”. Mosley went four weeks without playing from mid-December to mid-January due to a personal matter, but had appeared in each of the team’s last five matches, starting three.
“Yeah, it was just, you know, Isiaih and I had a conversation before the game. And we both thought it was great to, you know, take this off,” Gates said.
With Mosley out of the rotation and a couple of players sidelined with injuries at senior guard Three Gomillions (groin) and junior forward Ronnie DeGray III (knee), senior point guard Sean East II and junior forward Mohamed Diarra both saw a bump in their minutes. East made the most of it, scoring 15 points, the most he had this year in the SEC.
“I look at it in one perspective: Our team, our schedule, is built by committee. And we have to continue to make sure everyone is ready. And my job is to protect our guys,” Gates said. “Three Gomillion wants to play, I’m making a decision. Ronnie DeGray, these guys want to be out there. make the decision as head coach, and these guys trust me enough to do that.
Mizzou (18-6, 6-5 SEC) ventures on the road to face two of his toughest remaining opponents on the schedule, facing No. 6 Tennessee (19-4, 8-2) on Saturday at 5 p.m. and Auburn ( 5-7, 7-4) next Tuesday at 6pm
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