Missouri could be short-handed against Davidson

Jabari Brown (front), Ryan Rosburg and the Missouri Tigers will face the Davidson Wildcats in the opening round of the NIT tonight at Mizzou Arena.

Jabari Brown (front), Ryan Rosburg and the Missouri Tigers will face the Davidson Wildcats in the opening round of the NIT tonight at Mizzou Arena. Photo by The Associated Press.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers enter the National Invitation Tournament a little down after missing out on the NCAA Tournament.

There’s a chance they’re going to be a little down on their depth as well.

Reserve guards Wes Clark and Shane Rector may miss tonight’s (8 p.m., ESPN2-TV) game against Davidson after being arrested Saturday night on suspicion of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana during a traffic stop in Columbia. (See story on C7.)

Missouri head coach Frank Haith said Monday the two were suspended for the team’s practice, but not necessarily for tonight’s game.

“I didn’t know about it soon enough,” Haith said, adding the final decision would be made after gathering additional information.

Clark, a freshman from Detroit, has played in all 33 games this season as a backup point guard, averaging 20.4 minutes and 4.1 points. Rector, a freshman from New York, has averaged 4.3 minutes and 0.5 points.

Tony Criswell is already suspended from the team and if Clark and Rector are suspended, that would leave three of the four forwards who won’t start out of a group of Ryan Rosburg, Danny Feldmann, Torren Jones and Keanu Post as the only players on the Missouri (22-11) bench.

“You want me to dress out?” Haith said during a media session Monday. “Who else can I put in? That could be a problem. It is what it is.”

Davidson (20-12) captured the regular-season title in the Southern Conference, but fell in the league tournament to take an automatic spot in the NIT. That 99-97 overtime loss to Western Carolina snapped a 13-game winning streak by Davidson.

De’Mon Brooks (6-7, sr.) leads the Wildcats, who will move to the Atlantic 10 Conference next season, with 18.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game on his way to earning Southern Conference Player of the Year honors.

Three other Wildcats — Brian Sullivan (5-11, soph., 13.2), Tyler Kalinoski (6-4, jr., 10.9) and Tom Droney (6-6, sr., 10.9) also average in double figures.

It’s the Tigers’ first NIT appearance since 2005, when Missouri lost 75-70 to DePaul at Mizzou Arena. Missouri is just 1-7 all-time in NIT games.

The Missouri-Davidson winner will face either Southern Mississippi or Toledo in the next round.

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