By Tim Leible, KBIA Sports
The Missouri Tigers had a monstrous second half offensively to lock down a 78-64 win over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. The offense was led by freshman Montaque Gill-Caesar, who Kim Anderson admitted was feeling sick all day.
“To be honest it was a gutty performance because he wasn’t feeling very good,” Anderson said.
Three Missouri players scored in double figures, including Gill-Caesar, and dominated Oral Roberts on both ends of the court for most of the second half.
The first half was typical for Missouri, with the Tigers mediocre shooting. Missouri shot 13-30 from the field and shot 33 percent from the three-point line. Defensively the Tigers were hampered by Obi Emegano. Emegano didn’t miss a shot from the field in the first half, scoring 18 points, despite only playing seven minutes because of two fouls he committed. Missouri took advantage of his absence and brought the score to 40-38 at half.
Down two points going into the second half, Missouri needed a spark. That spark came from Wes Clark. Clark came out of the gates firing in the second half, draining a three pointer to start the half, followed quickly by a three point play. After only scoring five points in the first half, Clark made a statement in the second half. He ended the game with 14 points, nine assists and two steals.
The three-pointer was the difference maker for Missouri in the second half. Six Tigers made a three pointer in the second half, making eight of nine attempts as a team. At one point Missouri went seven minutes only scoring with three pointers. Every Missouri player made at least one field goal in the game. As a team, Missouri shot 51 percent for the game and made 63.2 percent of their shots from the field in the second half.
The same could not be said for Oral Roberts. The Missouri defense locked down in the second half. Emenago went from going 5-5 from the field, to shooting 3-9 in the second half. Emegano was guarded largely by Deuce Bello and Wes Clark in the second half and, according to Anderson, their defense was the key to the victory. As a team, Oral Roberts only shot 20.8 percent from the field in the second half. The Tigers outscored the Golden Eagles 40-24 in the half, leading to the 78-64 victory.
Despite their successful shooting performance, the Tigers still struggled from the free-throw line, their only major weakness in the game. The Tigers shot 55.2 percent from the line.
Even with the struggles from the charity stripe, several Tigers put up strong offensive performances. Gill-Caesar and Clark led the Tigers with 19 and 14 respectively. Johnathan Williams III put up 10 points, while adding two assists, three rebounds and a block. After a slow first half, Keith Shamburger finished with 9 points and three assists. Shamburger also played strong defensively, as he had four steals on the contest.
The win was exactly what the Tigers needed, as they’ll face a tough matchup in their next game. Missouri will travel to Maui, Hawaii this weekend in preparation for the Maui Invitational. Missouri will be facing a giant in their first game when they face off against the number two ranked team in the country, Arizona. Anderson said the Tigers are looking forward to the matchup.
“I saw number one a little bit last night,” he said. “So I hope two’s not close to one.”
Anderson said that the Tigers still have a lot to learn about each other and this trip to Hawaii is an opportunity to come together as a team.
“I think we’re still learning about each other,” said Anderson. “I think we’re getting better, I think our chemistry is getting better.”
The Tigers will face off against Arizona on Monday, Nov. 24 at 4 pm.