Back on the road for the second time in two weeks, the No. 20 Missouri basketball team followed one of its worst halves of the season with a second-half surge at Texas A&M but couldn’t finish the rally, falling to the Aggies 82-64 at Reed Arena.
In their lowest scoring and worst shooting game of the season, the Tigers (13-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) fell behind by 21 points in the first half on a horrendous shooting night but got within four of the lead in the second half. before crumbling late. Against a Texas A&M team that controls the glass and lives at the free throw line, Mizzou picked a bad night to go cold from the 3-point arc. At one point the Tigers missed 16 consecutive 3s and finished the night 7 of 31 and a season-worst 35.6% from the floor overall.
In their first matchup against a ranked opponent this season, the Aggies (11-5, 3-0) won their fifth straight game behind a massive rebounding edge (42-25) and 32 trips to the foul line thanks to Mizzou’s season-high 29 fouls.
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Kobe Brown led the Tigers with 12 points — all but two coming in the game’s opening minutes. Tyrece Radford led six Aggies in double figures with 16 points.
From here, Mizzou stays on the road and faces an uphill challenge, playing Saturday at Florida, then coming home next week to host nationally ranked Arkansas and Alabama.
The Tigers played what might have been their worst half of the season to open the game — or at least as bad as its opening half against Kansas a month ago.
After taking a lead into the second media timeout, Mizzou went nearly 11 minutes between field goals, missing 10 consecutive shots during the drought. Gates’ two leading scorers, Brown and D’Moi Hodge, were on and off the court with early fouls. The Tigers couldn’t keep A&M off the glass or the foul line and once again extended the Aggies’ possessions with an inability to secure defensive rebounds. Brown, back on the floor late with two fouls, couldn’t match his explosive start, following an air ball with a miss at the rim the Aggies blocked from behind to ignite another transition chance for the home team.
The Tigers made just 1 of 10 3-pointers in the dreadful half and finally emerged from their shooting drought on Sean East’s floater with 2:55 left, ending what had been a 10:52 stretch without a field goal.
Whether it was drives and dishes to big men Henry Coleman and Julius Marble or corner 3-pointers from Tiger killer Hayden Hefner, the Aggies had their way with Mizzou throughout the half. Hefner, who scored a career-high 17 points against MU last year, had scored just 13 points in A&M’s previous 10 games but scored 12 in the first half Wednesday.
Halftime might have been A&M’s worst enemy. The Aggies struggled with turnovers early and often in the second half, just as Mizzou finally busted free from his shooting slump. DeAndre Gholston’s 3-pointer 7:36 into the second half broke a string of 16 consecutive misses from deep for the Tigers and inched Mizzou within 12 points of the lead.
With 11:14 left, A&M’s Wade Taylor IV delivered an elbow to Nick Honor’s chin while waiting for a teammate to inbound the ball, giving the Tigers two free throws and the ball, which Hodge turned it into a 3-pointer for a 7- Point deficit, then drained another to get the Tigers within four, all part of a 10-0 run. The Tigers never got closer as fouls and turnovers plagued Mizzou’s comeback bid. Hodge fouled out with 5:30 left, leaving the Tigers without the ammo to spark another late push.