Missouri putting new group of big men to good use

Missouri forward Laurence Bowers (21) celebrates with guard Jabari Brown after Saturday’s 82-73 victory against Illinois in St. Louis.

Missouri forward Laurence Bowers (21) celebrates with guard Jabari Brown after Saturday’s 82-73 victory against Illinois in St. Louis. Photo by The Associated Press.

ST. LOUIS — At this time last season, Missouri was struggling against taller, more physical teams.

The Tigers would often get outrebounded and lose the battle in the paint. They had to rely on their outside-shooting ability to win games. When shots weren’t falling, the Tigers struggled to get separation from their opponents.

But now, Missouri is playing the role of the taller, more physical team.

Missouri’s newfound size advantage was evident in Saturday’s 82-73 win against Illinois. The Tigers outrebounded the Illini 58-35 and finished with a 44-24 advantage in points in the paint.

Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi were a big reason the Tigers took control of the game inside. Bowers finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Oriakhi added 13 and 14 rebounds.

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