Nov. 13, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Early-game jitters turned into a second-half blitz as Mizzou Basketball (2-0) erupted for 61 points in the final 20 minutes to earn a 91-54 victory over Alcorn State (1-1) in the opening game of the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.
The Tigers couldn't seem to find the bucket in the opening half, missing lay-ups, wide open jumpers and tip-backs, but continued to attack the rim in the second half, eventually blowing open the contest. Missouri once again dominated the glass, out-rebounding a tall, athletic Alcorn State squad, 56-40, while also holding them to just 30 percent shooting.
Rarely do you see a team shoot 38 percent from the floor and win by 40, but that's what Frank Haith's club did, attacking ASU to earn 44 foul shots (making 31), to offset an otherwise difficult shooting night.
Missouri managed just 23 percent shooting from the floor in the first half to carry a 30-23 advantage into the break, but defense kept Mizzou in control. Negus Webster-Chan and Phil Pressey each recorded three steals and Pressey led all Tigers with 21 points in 30 minutes of play.
Webster-Chan continued to find a multitude of ways to help the Tigers. The freshman hit just 1-of-8 shots, but grabbed a career high 11 boards, leading a Missouri team that boasted double-doubles from Earnest Ross (17 points, 10 boards) and Alex Oriakhi (12 points, 10 boards.).
Oriakhi became the first Tiger since Laurence Bowers in 2010-11 to open the year with back-to-back double-figure rebounding games and hit 10-of-13 foul shots to cap the double-double. Prior to Bowers (2010-11) and Oriakhi (2012-13), the last Mizzou player with consecutive 10-plus rebound games to open a year was Jevon Crudup in 1987-88.
Speaking of Bowers, the senior finished his second game back with the club by scoring 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting. The Memphis native hit 3-of-4 three-pointers, a new career high, and scored all-14 of his tallies in the second half on 5-of-6 shooting. Bowers has become quite the second half weapon for Missouri and is averaging 16.0 points in the final 20 minutes of his two games this season.
Missouri returns to action at home on Friday night vs. Nicholls State (7 p.m.) before heading to the Bahamas next Tuesday (Nov. 20) for a Nov. 22 contest against Stanford.