Missouri (19-8) at South Carolina (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Colonial Life Arena (18,000) -- Columbia, South Carolina.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Mizzou 15-0, USC 9-7. Away Record: Mizzou 1-7,
USC 1-7. Neutral Record: Mizzou 3-1, USC 3-0. Conference Record: Mizzou 8-6,
USC 3-11. Series Record: Missouri leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: SEC foes Missouri and South Carolina meet for only the second time
ever, when the two square off at Colonial Life Arena on Thursday night.
Missouri's first run through the SEC has been a roller coaster ride, as the
team comes in sporting a 19-8 overall record, but just an 8-6 league ledger.
The Tigers, who had spent time among the nationally-ranked earlier in the
season, have split their last eight games, with their latest bout resulting in
a double-overtime loss at Kentucky last Saturday, 90-83. The setback was
Mizzou's seventh in eight true road games this season.
South Carolina comes in a game below .500 on the year (13-14), and the rest of
the teams in the SEC have feasted on the Gamecocks, resulting in the team's
dismal 3-11 league ledger. USC has lost seven of its last eight games, the
most recent of which being a 62-54 overtime decision at Georgia last Saturday.
The Gamecocks are 9-7 at home this season, but they've dropped three of their
last four at Colonial Life Arena.
Missouri and South Carolina met for the first time last month, with the Tigers
prevailing at home, 71-65.
Offensive production has not been a problem for Missouri this season, the team
averaging a healthy 76.2 ppg in dropping 44.9 percent of its field goal
attempts, 33.5 percent of its 3-point tries, and 75.0 percent of its free
throws. The Tigers boast a total of six double-digit scorers, with Laurence
Bowers and Jabari Brown leading the way with 14.1 ppg apiece. Phil Pressey
(12.4 ppg, 7.0 apg), Keion Bell (11.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Alex Oriakhi (10.6 ppg,
8.8 rpg) and Earnest Ross (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) have all helped Mizzou achieve
the level of success it has to this point. Defensively, Mizzou yields 66.6
ppg, but Kentucky soared high above that mark in the recent clash between the
two, the Wildcats shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, nailing seven treys,
and outscoring the Tigers at the foul line, 23-12. Pressey scored a game-high
27 points, and completed a double-double performance by handing out 10
assists. Oriakhi logged a double-double of his own with 16 points and 15
rebounds, while Bowers tallied 13 points in the losing effort.
South Carolina has struggled to find consistency this season, shooting just
41.5 percent from the field in netting 66.3 ppg, while allowing 67.6 ppg on
nearly 44 percent efficiency by the opposition. The team features only two
active double-digit scorers, as Michael Carrera nets 10.2 ppg and Brenton
Williams checks in with 10.0 ppg. Bruce Ellington is close to joining them
however, as he averages 9.9 ppg. Carrera is also the club's leading rebounder
with 7.3 rpg, helping USC claim a +3.1 advantage on the glass. The team is
guilty of 15.6 turnover per outing, and it committed 16 miscues in the
overtime loss at Georgia last time out. Poor shooting also hampered the
Gamecocks, as they connected on only 30 percent of their field goal attempts,
missing 13 of their 19 3-point attempts along the way. Georgia shot just 31.3
percent from the floor, but used a 28-12 edge in points from the charity
stripe to earn the victory. Ellington was the only South Carolina player to
reach double figures in the low-scoring tilt, netting 11 points on the
strength of three 3-pointers.
It's been a tale of two teams for Missouri this season, the squad going a
perfect 15-0 at home, but just 1-7 on the road. Meanwhile, South Carolina
hasn't proven its worth in either aspect. Expect the Tigers to prevail here,
although it won't be easy.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 66, South Carolina 62
02/28 10:32:36 ET
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