COLUMBIA, Mo. — Snapping a two-game losing streak, the 22nd-ranked Missouri Tigers squeaked out a 71-65 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.
The last time Missouri lost a game at home was in February of 2012, to head coach Frank Martin’s Kansas State Wildcats. Martin is in his first season as head coach of South Carolina, and he almost got the Tigers again.
South Carolina (11-7, 1-4 SEC) jumped out to an 11-6 lead, and extended their lead to 17-11 on a 3-pointer by Brenton Williams at the 11:33 mark. The Gamecocks were hot from 3-point range early, while the Tigers started 0-13 from beyond the arc.
Missouri (14-4, 3-2 SEC) answered with an 11-3 run, and took a 22-20 lead with 5:06 to play in the first half. South Carolina closed the half with a 15-5 run, and led 35-27 at the break.
The Gamecocks extended their lead to 41-28 to start the second half, but the Tigers responded with a 20-2 run. Jabari Brown’s authoritative dunk gave Mizzou a 48-43 lead with 11:52 to play.
After five more lead changes, Earnest Ross drained a 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 66-63 with 1:12 to play. South Carolina trailed 66-65 with :49 seconds to play, before Brown’s 3-pointer gave Mizzou a 69-65 lead with :17 seconds left. Tony Criswell hit a pair of free throws to put the game on ice.
The Tigers had two players post double-doubles. Ross had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals off the bench. Alex Oriakhi finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jabari Brown put up 17 points and seven rebounds.
Mizzou shot 33% from the field, and 19% from beyond the arc. The Tigers outrebounded the Gamecocks 39-38. South Carolina shot 37% from the field, and 30% from 3-point range.
Missouri hosts the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Arena.