Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tigers Rally, Narrowly Win

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tigers Rally, Narrowly Win

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, MO. The chance to watch Phil Pressey last week on tape against Illinois and UCLA was nothing short of a self-described treat for Dave Paulsen.

But that feeling was short-lived as the Bucknell coach attempted to conjure a method to slow Mizzous point guard in preparation for Saturdays meeting.

Ultimately, he determined the Bison needed to squelch Pressey the playmaker. By doing so, they inspired Presseys growing appetite for scoring.

The junior went more than a full half without an assist but tallied a career-high 26 points, including 19 in the second half, in the No. 12 Tigers 66-64 win at Mizzou Arena.

Our goal with him was to make him score, Paulsen said. Not 26.

Applying lessons learned from their meltdown at UCLA, the Tigers overcame a late four-point deficit to finish nonconference play at 11-2 entering the start of Southeastern Conference play Tuesday night.

After establishing a career high for shot attempts in each of the last two games, with 19 and 22, Pressey made 10 of 22 against Bucknell (13-3) and scored 10 points in the final six minutes.

I have to respect how the defense is playing me, Pressey said. We ran offense and I know when we run offense, whatever shot presents itself I have to take them as well as my teammates.

Pressey and Laurence Bowers, who scored 16 points on eight-of-14 shooting, carried the bulk of the offense. But on an off day for every other Mizzou guard, Presseys backcourt mates did manage enough big plays to make a difference.

Jabari Brown made one of nine shots, but his 3-pointer with 10 minutes left broke a tie of 43- 43. Earnest Ross had identical shooting numbers, but his short jumper with 1:54 remaining gave Mizzou a 62-59 lead.

And Keion Bell, who missed a critical layup at UCLA, made one shot and it was huge. He turned an outlet pass from Pressey into a breakaway dunk with 35 seconds left for a 64-61 lead.

No supporting role was bigger than the one filled by Stefan Jankovic. The 6-foot-11 freshman started the second half and produced a 3-pointer and a driving dunk in the opening minute after Mizzou scored 24 points in the first half. …

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