Missouri wants avoid unlucky 13 at Vanderbilt

Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune

The Missouri men’s basketball team will attempt to avoid setting a school record with its 13th consecutive loss today at Vanderbilt (1:30 p.m., SEC Network).

The Tigers haven’t won a game since their Southeastern Conference opener against LSU on Jan. 8. The 12 games they’ve lost since tied a school record set in the 1965-66 season and matched in 1966-67. Those teams went a combined 6-43.

Missouri (7-19, 1-12 SEC) is coming off a 84-69 loss at No. 18 Arkansas. The two previous losses — and five of the 12 in the streak — came by 10 or fewer points.

Against the Razorbacks’ full-court press, the Tigers turned the ball over 20 times, and though Missouri outshot Arkansas 50 to 46.6 percent, the Tigers went 6-of-17 from the 3-point line and let Arkansas shoot 31 free throws.

A game after scoring a career-high 27 points against Mississippi State, leading scorer Johnathan Williams III turned the ball over eight times and shot just 4-of-11 from the field for Missouri, though he tallied a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Freshman Tramaine Isabell made his return after being suspended the previous five games for inappropriate behavior toward teammates and coaches. Isabell was 5-of-9 from the field, tying Williams with a team-high 13 points and dishing out three assists. With sophomore guard Wes Clark out for the season with a dislocated elbow, the Tigers’ bench was as full as it will be this year — something that had not been a given with the suspensions of freshmen Isabell, Montaque Gill-Caesar and Namon Wright.

In the Commodores (14-12, 4-9), the Tigers have an opponent who is also familiar with a long losing streak. Like Missouri, Vanderbilt began its SEC schedule with a win before starting a seven-game losing streak. Unlike Missouri, the Commodores were able to stop the streak and have won three of five since with both losses coming by three points.

Damian Jones leads Vanderbilt with 14.8 points per game. His 54.6 shooting percentage is second in the conference, and his 1.9 blocks per game are third.

The Commodores lead the SEC in team field goal percentage with a 46.4 clip. The Tigers, on the other hand, are 12th in the 14-team conference at 41.1 percent.

On the upside for the Tigers, whose 62.1 points per game are 301st in the nation, the offense has been on an upswing. Missouri has scored 60 or more points in each of its last four games after failing to do so in seven of its previous eight.

Original: http://www.newstribune.com/news/2015/feb/21/missouri-wants-avoid-unlucky-13-vanderbilt/

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