As senior guard Phil Pressey posted a career high nine turnovers, the No. 13 Missouri men’s basketball team suffered its first loss at the hands of No. 2 Louisville in the Battle 4 Atlantis semi-final.
Led by guards Peyton Siva and Russ Smith, the Cardinals (5-0) thrashed the Tigers (4-1) 84-61.
The game was billed nationally as the battle of nation’s two best point guards, Pressey and Siva, and the Louisville senior notched a slight edge Friday night. Siva scored 13 points to go along with five assists and only one turnover. Pressey scored 15 with eight dimes and nine turnovers.
With Siva keeping the Cards clicking offensively, Smith chipped in defensively, baffling MU’s backcourt with stifling full-court pressure. He finished with 18 points and a whopping six steals.
With the Tigers up 6-4 early in the first quarter, Smith plucked Pressey then scored a three-point-play in transition when junior Earnest Ross went to contest his layup. Smith hit the foul shot then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and dunked, plus another foul, swing momentum to Louisville early and permanently. After that run, MU would never again hold a share of the lead.
Missouri kept the game close for the rest of the first half—Louisville’s lead never exceeding single-digits—but in the second half the Cards pulled away as guard Luke Hancock began to heat up from three-point range. He finished with a game-high 19 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the arch.
Leading the charge for the Tigers was senior forward Alex Oriakhi who posted another strong performance. The Connecticut transfer scored 15 points and displayed a plethora of refined post moves to accompany seven rebounds, a steal and a block.
Missouri will play Virginia Commonwealth at 6 p.m. tomorrow in the third-place game. Louisville will play No. 5 Duke at 9:30 in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament championship.