Big first half gives Missouri a 76-71 win over Elon

Missouri’s Keith Shamburger (14, hidden) draws a key foul on Elon’s Tony Sabato (15, hidden) as Missouri’s Montaque Gill-Caesar (13) and Johnathan Williams III (3 in white, hidden) and Elon’s Kevin Blake (11), Ryan Winters (32) and Tanner Samson (3 in red, hidden) look on.

Missouri’s Keith Shamburger (14, hidden) draws a key foul on Elon’s Tony Sabato (15, hidden) as Missouri’s Montaque Gill-Caesar (13) and Johnathan Williams III (3 in white, hidden) and Elon’s Kevin Blake (11), Ryan Winters (32) and Tanner Samson (3 in red, hidden) look on.

Story By Tim Leible, KBIA Sports
Photos by Greg Dailey, KBIA Sports

The Missouri Tigers had their best first half of the season en route to a 76-71 win over Elon. Missouri held a 46-27 lead at the half and shot lights out. As a team, they made 59.1 percent of their first-half shot attempts and went 6-9 from behind the arc.

On the other hand, Elon had a horrific first half. Despite being a team known for their offense, Elon shot only 24.2 percent from the field in the first half. The Missouri

defense forced poor shot attempts all half, leading Elon to only make eight baskets.

The second half, however, was almost detrimental to the Tigers.

Despite a huge lead, Missouri nearly collapsed. The Tigers’ shot selection was poor in the half. Missouri made only 10 of their 29 shots in the second half.

Elon nearly took advantage in the second half. Their 46 second-half points almost led to a comeback victory. The Missouri lead eventually shrank down to one, but Elon couldn’t hit a shot to take the lead late in the contest.

Free throws became crucial for Missouri down the stretch. Despite generally not being great from the charity stripe, the Tigers made free throw after free throw to clinch the victory. Missouri made 24 free throws in the game on 30 attempts.

While Missouri shot poorly overall in the second half, they particularly struggled at the three-point line. After making six of their nine attempts in the first half, the Tigers made only two of their nine attempts in the second half.

Freshman D’Angelo Allen said that Missouri just needed to execute more in the second half.

“This is like their Super Bowl against Missouri being a D1 school,” Allen said. “We just wasn’t executing enough (in the second half),” .

Offensively, three Missouri players stepped up in the second half. Keith Shamburger and Johnathan Williams III led the way for the Tigers with 16 points while the most surprising contribution for the Tigers came from Allen.

Despite coming into the matchup with only 18 points on the season, Allen scored 12 points, a career high total for the freshman.

Kim Anderson said that Allen is an important player for the Tigers, even when he isn’t putting up points.

“He is an energy guy and we need guys like that,” said Anderson.

The Tigers will not have much time to recover from the tight matchup, as they face off against Xavier on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 3 pm.

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