Dec 30, 2003
Box Score |
By JIM SALTER
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - For the third straight game, No. 23 Missouri fell
behind and then rallied only to fall short, losing 71-67 Tuesday night to
Belmont of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Missouri (4-4), ranked as high as No. 3 this season, has lost three in a row
and four of five. Coach Quin Snyder is 88-53 overall in four seasons at
Missouri, but just 13-12 in December.
Steve Drabyn had 16 points for Belmont (6-3), while Nick Otis added 15, Adam
Mark 14 and Jese Snyder 12. The Bruins shot more 3s than 2s, 35-20, and made 13
shots from beyond the arc.
Freshman Linas Kleiza scored 10 straight first-half points and 18 overall
for Missouri, while Rickey Paulding had 21, Jimmy McKinney 15 and Arthur
The Tigers appeared headed for an easy win after taking a 31-21 lead late in
the first half. But a 36-14 run put Belmont up 57-47 with 8:50 to play.
Missouri went on a 12-2 run to tie it at 59 on Jason Conley's free throw
with 3:29 to play, before Belmont went back ahead for good. The Tigers had a
chance with 12 seconds left when Drabyn missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but
Belmont got the rebound and Drabyn, fouled again, made both free throws.
Missouri outrebounded Belmont 41-30, but had trouble working the ball inside
against the Bruins' 2-3 zone.
Kleiza, a 6-foot-8 native of Lithuania, scored on a layup with 14:40 to play
in the half, then connected on two layups, a dunk and two free throws to help
Missouri go on top in the first half, when the Tigers were seemingly in control
of the game.
Then Belmont's 3s began to fall, leading to a 17-3 spurt that put the Bruins
ahead 38-34 with 18 minutes to play.
Missouri fell 12 places in the AP poll last week after a one-point loss to
Illinois on Dec. 23 and a two-point loss at Memphis on Dec. 27.
Missouri has made a habit of falling behind and then rallying. Early this
season, the rallies led to wins, such as when the Tigers overcame a 14-point
deficit in the final seven minutes to beat Indiana. Not lately.
Missouri was down by 21 points to Illinois before tying the game with just
over a minute to play, only to lose 71-70. The Tigers trailed Memphis by 15
before rallying, only to lose by two when McKinney's last-second 3-pointer
clanged off the rim.