Ross shines during Missouri scrimmage

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers showcased their talented group of newcomers during Tuesday night’s Black and Gold scrimmage at Mizzou Arena.

But it was what passes for an old face who stole the show.

Earnest Ross, entering his second season as a Tiger, highlighted the night with 24 points and hit the game-winning layup with 32 seconds left to lift the Gold past the Black, 63-61.

“I’m out there just playing the hard and running the offense,” Ross said. “The way the offense is designed, it’s set up for scorers like us to score the ball. Whenever I get a chance to score, I’m going to try to score. It’s more about our offense and getting good looks.”

Ross, a redshirt senior who transfered to Missouri from fellow Southeastern Conference member Auburn, drove baseline for the game-winner, finishing with a reverse layup.

Stefan Jankovic missed a 3-pointer from the left wing that would have won the game at the buzzer for the Black team.

“It was great to get out there for the first time in front of people,” Missouri head coach Frank Haith said. “You don’t know what to expect, but our guys have to feel good about how hard we worked. Very encouraging things out there today, and obviously I saw some things we need to work on, but that’s what this time of year is about.”

Ross wasn’t the only Gold player to impress, as Jabari Brown tallied 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

“I think we have a lot of guys that can score the ball,” Haith said, adding Jordan Clarkson in with Ross and Brown. “I think we have a good team in terms of shooting. I don’t know that many teams would be able to put three guys out there to start the game like Jordan, Jabari and (Ross) that can all really, really shoot the ball. Any one of those three guys have the potential to be our leading scorer.”

The seven newcomers didn’t disappoint either.

Clarkson starred for the Black team with 19 points. The transfer from Tulsa played mainly off the ball, while freshman Wes Clark handled point-guard duties. The impetus behind that move was to get Clark some playing time, implying Clarkson will still be the starting point guard come the beginning of the season. Clark finished 1-of-8 from the field, but dished out eight assists.

“We have three guys that can play that position, which is what I like,” Haith said of the point-guard spot. “Shane Rector wasn’t bad tonight either. Having three guys who can handle the ball and get you in the offense, that’s important.”

Sophomore forward Ryan Rosburg was a pleasant surprise for the Black, adding 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds.

“Obviously I wanted to see him do it out here in front of folks, but he has worked his tail off and he has given himself a chance to be a really good player because of how hard he’s worked in the offseason,” Haith said.

The Black took a 34-32 lead after the first 15-minute half, an opening session that went back and forth. Ross ended the first half with 15 points for the Gold, while Rosburg tallied 10 points for the Black, including a pair of two-handed dunks.

It was just as even in the second half, and the night finished with a total of 12 lead changes and 10 ties. The Black trailed 61-56 before a 3-pointer from Jankovic and a layup from Rosburg with 52 seconds left knotted the score.

That led to Ross’ winning bucket.

“I’m looking forward to playing with this group,” Brown said. “This is just the beginning. I’m ready for the next game, I wish it was tomorrow.”

Notes: Redshirt junior Danny Feldmann, a Helias High School graduate, added two points on 1-of-3 shooting with three rebounds and two assists. ... Freshman Johnathan Williams III, a top-100 recruit, pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and added eight points. ... Junior-college transfer Keanau Post picked up eight fouls in the 30-minute scrimmage, and also added eight points. ... Missouri plays its first exhibition game Oct. 25 against Oklahoma City University. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Hearnes Center. ... The Tigers open the regular season Nov. 8 against Southeastern Louisiana.

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