Missouri men begin SEC home slate

Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune

Mizzou Arena has been kind to the Missouri men’s basketball team this season. All seven of the Tigers’ wins — and just one loss — have come at home.

The Tigers hope that continues tonight as they host Auburn in their first Southeastern Conference game at home this season.

The 8 p.m. conference game could be a winnable one for the Tigers, who struggled mightily in SEC play last season. Like Missouri, the Auburn Tigers come in with just seven wins — the best of which might have come in Auburn’s conference opener against Tennessee. Auburn (7-6, 1-1 SEC) dropped the following game, also at home, 81-69 to No. 22 South Carolina.

Missouri and Auburn have a mutual opponent in No. 10 Xavier, which beat Missouri by 12 and Auburn by 24.

The southernmost Tigers average 78.8 points per game (seventh in the SEC), compared to Missouri’s 69.2 (13th). Auburn’s 10.2 made 3-pointers per game are best in the conference, Missouri’s 5.4 the worst.

Both teams are in the bottom four of the SEC in rebounds — Auburn is 10th with 36.4 per game, and Missouri is 11th with 35.7 — though on defensive rebounds alone, Missouri is sixth in the conference with 26.6 per game, two more than 10th-place Auburn.

Auburn is turning the ball over 14.6 times per game, tied with Alabama for worst in the SEC. Missouri’s 12.1 turnovers per game are fifth-best in the conference.

Auburn has five players with double-digit scoring averages, led by Kareem Canty’s 19.5 points per game. Tyler Harris is putting up 15.0 points per game, T.J. Dunans 12.4, Cinmeon Bowers 11.5 and Bryce Brown 10.2.

St. Louis native Jordan Granger is averaging 2.9 points in 16.5 minutes a game for Auburn. Granger, a senior, attended McCluer North High School. He scored a combined 15 points in two starts against Missouri last season.

Missouri defeated Auburn 63-61 in the teams’ most recent meeting, last March in Columbia. It was Missouri’s third and final SEC win of the season. Missouri came up short at Auburn in its first SEC road game under Kim Anderson, losing 85-79 on Jan. 10, 2015. It was the highest point total of the season for Missouri.

Missouri dropped its conference opener Wednesday at Georgia in a 77-59 blowout. Missouri never led, falling behind 10-0 in the game’s first 2:39. The Tigers are now 3-17 against SEC teams under Anderson, who is in his second season.

Original: http://www.newstribune.com/news/2016/jan/09/missouri-men-begin-sec-home-slate/

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