Stories by Adam
Gary Pinkel is going to be around for awhile.
It was a great night to be Cody Shaw. Barely. The Eugene senior scored 33 points, broke the school’s career scoring record and, more importantly, helped the Eagles withstand a furious late rally from Palmyra to hold on for a heart-pounding 73-69 overtime victory in a Class 3 sectional game Wednesday night.
It could get a little ugly tonight at Mizzou Arena. Regardless of whether Missouri wins or loses. That’s because the Texas A&M Aggies (17-12, 8-8 Southeastern Conference) are coming to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff (no local TV). A former Big 12 rival of Missouri (20-9, 8-8 SEC), the Aggies don’t exactly play the most exciting brand of basketball.
Four-year seniors have become a luxury in NCAA Division I college basketball, thanks in part to a steady rise in transfers, early departures to the NBA and the influx of one-and-done players that jet to the NBA after just one year in college.
Basketball postseason gets off to an exciting start
SPORTS COMMENTARY: What a wild, wacky and, most importantly, fun week it’s been for district basketball. Almost on par with the food at the Blair Oaks hospitality room.
Keanau Post has always had potential. The junior-college transfer finally unleashed it Saturday afternoon.
Frank Haith doesn’t think the bubble has burst quite yet.
It just wasn’t Blair Oaks’ night. Boonville proved to be too much to handle, as the top-seeded Lady Pirates won the Class 3 District 8 Tournament title with a 55-33 victory Friday night.
Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson have lit up the scoreboard for the Missouri Tigers this season, as the junior duo has combined to score 52 percent of Missouri’s points.
In boys basketball
The Eugene Eagles aren’t used to playing low-scoring games. A high-powered offense that averages nearly 77 points per game has been the driving force behind their 24-1 record and No. 3 ranking in Class 3.
A great mid-Missouri rivalry lost some of its luster due to the California Lady Pintos being forced to play without three injured starters. The Blair Oaks Lady Falcons were able to take full advantage. Third-seeded Blair Oaks rolled to a 48-21 victory against second-seeded California in a Class 3 District 8 Tournament semifinal Wednesday night.
Craig Engelbrecht is in his 24th season as the head coach of the Eugene Eagles. He’s even had a team reach the Final Four. But he’s never had a team that can shoot the ball as well as this one.
Lebanon kept knocking on the door. Helias just wouldn’t let it open. Helias held off repeated Lebanon threats to pick up a 54-48 victory Tuesday night at Rackers Fieldhouse.
Frank Haith didn’t have to say much. Two words were all he needed for one answer.
With the sixth-seeded Hallsville Lady Indians focusing their attention on LeeAnn Polowy, a Missouri State signee, it was the rest of the third-seeded Blair Oaks Lady Falcons who picked up the scoring slack en route to a 55-27 victory Monday night in the first round of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament.
Jabari Brown is certainly in the conversation for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. Despite his 10-point performance during Missouri’s 67-64 win against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, the junior guard still averages 20.1 points per game, good for second in the league. So don’t expect Brown to stay down as Missouri (19-7, 7-6 SEC) hits the road to take on Alabama (10-16, 4-9 SEC) at 7 p.m. today (ESPN2-TV) in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Mai Nienhueser couldn’t be stopped. The Helias sophomore poured in a game-high 28 points on 10-of-16 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line. She scored 19 of Helias’ 22 second-half points and pulled down nine rebounds. It just wasn’t enough.
Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points, including all 11 free throw attempts, as Missouri held off Vanderbilt 67-64 on Wednesday.
Frank Haith doesn’t want to see a repeat. Not the process, certainly not the result.
In girls basketball
LeeAnn Polowy wasn’t going to let her team lose. No matter what, the Blair Oaks senior guard was going to find a way to win on Senior Night.
Frank Haith is no magician. The third-year Missouri head coach didn’t just flip a switch that prompted the Tigers’ frontcourt to go off for 29 points during Saturday’s 75-70 win against Tennessee, the third-highest total of the season for the big men.
Win and they’re in. That’s Missouri head coach Frank Haith’s mindset heading into the final stretch of the 2013-14 season. With six Southeastern Conference games left on the docket, Haith understands winning is paramount if the Tigers are going to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Jabari Brown scored 24 points and made a last-minute play to help Missouri hold off Tennessee 75-70 on Saturday.
Missouri hosting Tennessee
COLUMBIA — Missouri kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive Thursday night. Now the Tigers look to build a winning streak with an eye on the Big Dance.
Jabari Brown drove the lane for the go-ahead basket with 12.2 seconds left for the last of his 25 points and Missouri survived a late surge by Arkansas for an 86-85 victory on Thursday night.
As good as the Missouri Tigers have been at knocking down the 3-point shot in Southeastern Conference play, they’ve been equally as poor in defending it. Missouri connects on 37.8 percent of its 3s in conference play, good for second in the league. The Tigers, however, allow opponents to hit 37.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc in league games, which ranks dead last. That will be among the challenges Missouri (16-7, 4-6 SEC) faces when it hosts Arkansas (15-8, 4-6 SEC) at 6 p.m. today (ESPN2-TV) at Mizzou Arena.
Blair Oaks started to get stops, secure rebounds and turn them into transition baskets. The Falcons worked that formula to perfection Wednesday night, using a 19-2 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to pick up a come-from-behind 62-57 win against Class 2 No. 8 Harrisburg in Wardsville.
Michael Sam is a pioneer. The consensus first-team All-American defensive end at Missouri came out as gay Sunday night. The co-Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, projected as a mid-round pick, is hoping to become the first openly gay player in NFL history.
Tigers know they have to start winning basketball games
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers know they are skating on thin ice. With just eight games remaining on the 2013-14 schedule, Missouri (16-7, 4-6 Southeastern Conference) is squarely on the proverbial bubble when it comes to the NCAA Tournament conversation.
Pinkel believes respect between Sam, team helped Tigers succeed
COLUMBIA — The world now knows that Michael Sam is gay. The Missouri defensive end, a consensus first-team All-American and co-Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, shared his story with the public Sunday night via ESPN, the New York Times and outsports.com. Sam came out to his teammates before the 2013-14 season, a remarkable year for the Tigers capped with a No. 5 overall ranking and Cotton Bowl victory. The reaction from his Missouri teammates allowed for that to happen.
The Eugene Eagles are putting together a magical season. Eugene is ranked third in Class 3 and sports a gaudy 18-1 record. The lone loss? At Nixa, a 14-4 squad receiving votes in Class 5.
The Eugene Eagles are blessed with an arsenal of long-range shooters. It was on full display Saturday afternoon.
Marshall Henderson knows how to play the villain. The notoriously flamboyant Mississippi guard has made a name for himself for more than his work on the basketball court. From taunting opposing fans, players and even coaches to his cocky demeanor to his numerous run-ins with the law, Henderson has made his fair share of enemies.
O.G. Anunoby doesn’t need to score 25 points a night for the Jefferson City Jays to be successful. The impact the junior forward makes in other areas is just as crucial. While Anunoby paced the Jays with 17 points during their 55-45 victory against the Marquette Mustangs on Friday night at Fleming Fieldhouse, his 13 rebounds and five blocks were just as important.
Coach pleased with Missouri football recruiting class
Gary Pinkel doesn’t pay attention to recruiting rankings. Never has, never will.
New York Yankees reliever David Robertson is not overanalyzing his role as Mariano Rivera’s replacement.
Missouri guards shine, but Kentucky holds on for win
Aaron Harrison scored 21 points and James Young added 20 to help No. 11 Kentucky beat Missouri 84-79 on Saturday.
Frank Haith likens them to the Fab Five.
You can call them skyscrapers. You can call them trees in a forest. Or you can call them the Kentucky Wildcats. There’s a multitude of ways you could describe the nation’s tallest team. With an average height of 79.3 inches — or 6-foot-7 with a smidge or two to spare — No. 11 Kentucky’s roster of towering athletes presents the Missouri Tigers (16-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) with maybe their toughest challenge of the season.
Jabari Brown will let his game do the talking.
There aren’t any holdovers from the Mike Anderson era on the Missouri Tigers’ roster. That doesn’t mean the emotions won’t be running high when Missouri (15-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) faces its former coach and the Arkansas Razorbacks (13-6, 2-4 SEC) at 6 p.m. today at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
Dustin Hays thought his Fatima Lady Comets might have been a little too passive against the best team in the state.
The Helias Crusaders have excelled at knocking down the 3-point shot this season, hitting 37 percent of their treys on the year.
Don’t blink. You might miss another Jabari Brown 3-pointer. Missouri’s junior sharpshooter continued his torrid shooting from beyond the arc, connecting on 4-of-6 attempts from long range to up his four-game total to 16-of-24 (67 percent), while scoring 24 points to lead the Tigers past the South Carolina Gamecocks 82-74 on Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri’s starting guard trio of Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross have accounted for 70 percent of the Tigers’ scoring this season. By comparison, Missouri’s starting frontcourt — Johnathan Williams III and Ryan Rosburg — combine to score just 15 percent. Frank Haith hopes that begins to change as Missouri (14-4, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) hosts South Carolina (7-11, 0-5 SEC) at 3 p.m. today (KMIZ-TV) at Mizzou Arena.
There was no quit in the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons. Down by as many as 23 points to state-ranked St. James, the Lady Falcons kept fighting. However, a late rally ran out of time as Class 3 No. 2 St. James secured a 68-57 victory Thursday night.
Johnny O’Bryant and Jordan Mickey anchor an imposing frontcourt for LSU, a team that ranks 16th in the nation by swatting an average of 6.25 shots per game. For a Missouri squad (14-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) still looking for an inside scoring presence to emerge while featuring a backcourt that makes a living driving to the basket, LSU (11-5, 2-2 SEC) provides a stiff test when the teams tip off at 6 p.m. today (ESPNU-TV) in Baton Rouge, La.
Missouri has been a work in progress on the defensive end of the floor this season. Head coach Frank Haith believes the Tigers delivered their best defensive performance of the year Saturday afternoon.
There’s no time for the Missouri Tigers to sulk. Coming off a disappointing 78-75 loss Thursday night at Vanderbilt, a quick turnaround has Missouri (13-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) hosting Alabama (8-8, 2-1) at 1 p.m. today at Mizzou Arena.
Michael Wacha emerged as a postseason hero for the St. Louis Cardinals last October. Now the 22-year-old right-hander might be fighting for a spot in a stacked starting rotation.