Brown, Clarkson earn SEC basketball honors

Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson have made up one of the best guard duos in college basketball this season. They’re also the highest-scoring tandem for any team in a major conference.

The pair was rewarded for their remarkable seasons Tuesday.

Brown was named to the All-Southeastern Conference First Team, while Clarkson earned second-team honors.

“I am so proud of Jabari and Jordan and applaud the way they have represented Mizzou as student-athletes,” Missouri head coach Frank Haith said. “Their on-court numbers are outstanding and this honor is well-deserved, but I really commend their efforts as leaders and citizens within the Columbia community.”

Brown won the SEC’s regular-season scoring title, averaging 19.7 points while connecting on 47.3 percent of his shot attempts, 41.7 percent of his 3-pointers and 80.2 percent of his free throws.

Clarkson ranked seventh in the SEC with 18.1 ppg. The junior point guard was also seventh in the league in assists (3.5 per game) and fourth in free-throw percentage (83.3).

The duo’s combined 37.8 ppg ranks behind Louisiana-Lafayette’s Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long (38.5 ppg), Southeast Missouri’s Tyler Stone and Jarekious Bradley (38.3 ppg) and Virginia Military Institute’s Q.J. Peterson and D.J. Covington (38.1 ppg).

Brown scored 20-plus points 17 times this season, the first time a Tiger has done so since Kareem Rush in 2000-01. The junior shooting guard recorded a career-high 33 points in a loss against Kentucky, and reached double digits in every game except for Saturday’s regular-season finale against Tennessee.

“I think I got good shots for the most part, I just didn’t make them,” Brown said of that final performance. “I’ve just got to continue to play my game.

“I’ve got high expectations for myself, so any time I don’t play how I feel like I could play, it’s frustrating, but it’s worse when you lose. It was an insult to injury type thing, but I’m fine now, looking forward to Thursday.”

Clarkson also reached double figures in all but one game, and registered 14 games with 20-plus points. He tallied a career-high 31 points in a win against Southern Illinois early in the season.

III

Eighth-seeded Missouri plays ninth-seeded Texas A&M in the opening round of the SEC Tournament at noon Thursday (KQFX-TV) in Atlanta, Ga. If the Tigers win, they’ll take on No. 1 Florida on Friday.

“We’re excited about getting down to the SEC Tournament and playing a Texas A&M team that we just played,” Haith said, alluding to the Tigers’ 57-56 win against the Aggies on March 5 at Mizzou Arena.

Missouri most likely needs to win a couple games in the SEC Tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers might even need to win the whole thing. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects Missouri as the seventh team out of the field, while CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has the Tigers as his first team out of the field.

“A lot of us are over-thinking the game right now,” Clarkson said. “We’ve just got to change that going into this tournament. We’ve got to make something happen.”

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