By Michael Losch
COLUMBIA – Missouri will be ending its three-game home stand against Vanderbilt Wednesday night, hoping to expand on the two-game win streak.
In their last meeting in Nashville, the Commodores gave the Tigers all they could handle behind the 3-point line in a 78-75 win.
Vanderbilt senior forward Rod Odom hit six of the Commodore’s 12 3-pointers on his way to 24 points. Kyle Fuller, a senior guard, added four 3-pointers of his own and finished the game with 22 points.
Missouri will have to step up its perimeter defense if it hopes to stay in the win column. The Tigers had one of their worst defensive outings of the year, allowing the Commodores to shoot 37.5 percent behind the 3-point line. Missouri is currently allowing teams to shoot 31.6 percent and give up an average of seven 3-pointers a game.
While Vanderbilt was hot behind the 3-point line, the Tigers did some damage of their own as Jabari Brown scored 22 points and Jordan Clarkson added 18. The two guards combine for 39.5 points per game, the fourth highest combination in the nation.
Brown has had no trouble finding ways to score in 2014. The junior guard has scored 20 or more points in nine of his last ten outings. He continues to lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring, averaging 22.8 points per game during league play.
Vanderbilt (14-10, 6-6) has won five of its last seven games, recently beating Texas A&M in a 57-54 in overtime. They are tied with Missouri for fifth place in the SEC. Odom leads the Commodores in scoring, averaging 14.7 points per game and shooting 42 percent from the 3-point line. If he can find his stroke at Mizzou Arena, the Tigers may be in trouble.
Missouri (18-7, 6-6) began its win streak by knocking off Arkansas in the final seconds 86-85. Last Saturday, they survived in a 75-70 win over Tennessee. Since 2010, three of the four meetings between Vanderbilt and Missouri have been decided by six points or less.
Missouri is in the hunt for a NCAA tournament bid and must continue to win to be considered. After beating Arkansas, Brown talked about the remaining games on the schedule.
“We got seven games left and we’ll try to get all seven of them. We just have to take it one game at a time.”
So far, the Tigers have done just that.