The Missouri Tigers look to play spoiler this weekend against South Carolina, coming off its best win of the season.
TV Schedule: Saturday, January 27, 1:00 pm ET (SECN)
Location: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina
Missouri (8-11) looks to get its first conference win when the Tigers travel to South Carolina on Saturday and try to avenge a two-point home loss in overtime earlier this month to the Gamecocks.
Since the last time these two teams met, Missouri has lost all three of its games. Most recently the Tigers dropped a tough game on the road at Texas A&M 63-57. Sean East II led Mizzou with 17 points and five assists. Tamar Bates was the only other Tiger to score double figures, finishing the game with 16 points and five rebounds. Mizzou held Texas A&M to 28.8 percent from the field but was unable to withstand 27 made free throws from the Aggies.
Sean East II continues to lead Missouri in scoring with 15.9 points per game. Tamar Bates has become the Tigers' most consistent offensive threat. Bates is averaging 12.8 for the season. In conference play, he is averaging 19.3 points, making 57.1 percent from the floor.
South Carolina (16-3) has gone 2-1 over their past three games. The Gamecocks picked up their biggest win this season the last time on the court, taking down No. 6 Kentucky 79-62. Talon Cooper led South Carolina with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Meechie Johnson and Jacobi Wright both added 14 points in the win.
The Gamecocks average 73.3 points per game this season, with Meechie Johnson leading the way, scoring 16.6 points per game. B.J. Mack averages 13.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as the only other SC player scoring in double figures. South Carolina has been one of the best teams this year on the defensive end and is currently in the top 30 in points allowed per game with 64.5 points.
Missouri broke out a 1-3-1 zone to slow down Texas A&M’s offense on Tuesday. And, for the most part, was successful in doing so. Fouls and turnovers plagued the Tigers in that matchup, but I’m interested to see if Mizzou tries the same tactic against South Carolina.
In the previous matchup, Missouri held South Carolina to 40.7 percent from the floor, 29.2 percent from three, and had 11 steals. It was one of the better defensive efforts this season from the Tigers. The Gamecocks outrebounded Mizzou 43-32 and made 16 free throws to hold them off. A couple of missed free throws down the stretch cost the Tigers a win.
Head Coach Dennis Gates won’t let this team give up. Mizzou is determined to make something of this season. He has been trying out different lineups to see if something will stick. I fully expect the same in this game.
Missouri knows it has what it takes to beat South Carolina. It just comes down to playing a solid 40 minutes and finishing out the game.