No. 25 LSU tries to break funk vs. Missouri

NCAA Basketball
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Missouri and LSU each needed overtime to decide their game Saturday, finishing the day with mixed results. Now they get to face off in an SEC game in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday night.

Missouri (11-12, 3-7) is coming off an 83-79 home victory against Arkansas, while LSU (17-6, 8-2) is looking to bounce back from a 91-90 loss at Auburn that dropped LSU from 18th to 25th in the AP Top 25.

It was LSU’s second loss in four days, just after a 99-90 stunner at Vanderbilt last Wednesday. The Commodores entered that game 0-8 in conference play.

The back-to-back losses also dropped the Tigers from sole possession of first place in the SEC into a three-way tie with Auburn and Kentucky.

LSU led for nearly 33 minutes of regulation but couldn’t hold off Auburn, which put together an 11-3 run in the final 69 seconds of the second half to force overtime.

“We played one of our better games of the year,” coach Will Wade told reporters following the game. “We were ready to play; we just couldn’t finish it. Give Auburn credit for making a lot of plays in the stretch. Give our guys credit in overtime to come back and give ourselves an opportunity. We came up a basket short. It’s a gut punch.”

Auburn led by seven with less than two minutes left in overtime, but LSU rallied to take a one-point lead with nine seconds left. But J’Von McCormick’s basket with 0.1 seconds left gave the game to Auburn.

“Credit to them,” said LSU senior guard Skylar Mays, who tied a career high with 30 points. “It was anybody’s game, and they made a big run at the end (of regulation). Some crazy stuff happened and they hit some big shots down the stretch.”

Auburn outrebounded LSU 46-36 and had a 17-8 advantage in offensive rebounds as LSU lost by one or two points for the fourth time this season.

“At the end of the day, I’m as down as anybody,” Wade said. “But we’re still tied for first place and it’s an eight-game race” for the conference regular-season championship.

Missouri’s win was much needed after the Tigers had lost eight of their previous 10 games.

They were outrebounded (49-30) in a loss to Texas A&M four days earlier, and coach Cuonzo Martin said that was evidence of the Aggies playing tougher than his team. He made that a point of emphasis going into the game against the undersized Razorbacks.

“They don’t have guys who are 6-10, 6-11 like most of teams in this league might have,” Martin said. “It’s just a matter of rebounding balls, keeping balls alive.”

Missouri outrebounded Arkansas 52-35 and had advantages of 16-11 in both offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

“Coach Martin basically bases toughness of how many rebounds you get,” forward Mitchell Smith said. “It doesn’t matter about the points.

“If you’re giving effort throughout the whole game, balls seem to go your way. Even if you make a mistake, it’s OK, you’re playing hard. You play hard, you give effort, it just seems to work out in the end.”

Mizzou played without two injured starters — forward Jeremiah Tilmon, who had returned from a stress fracture to play 12 minutes against Texas A&M but suffered a setback, and guard Mark Smith (lower back), who was cleared to play but was held out by Martin as a precaution. Tilmon has already been declared out for Tuesday.

Mizzou is 0-5 in SEC road games and LSU is 5-0 in SEC home games.

–Field Level Media

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