Poor free throw shooting dooms Tigers against Aggies

Coach Mike Anderson is 0-5 versus Texas A&M.

Texas A&M sophomore Khris Middleton accumulated 11 points in overtime, helping the No. 13 Aggies knock off the No. 13 Missouri Tigers, 91-89. The loss was the third of the season for the Tigers, who are now 1-2 in Big 12 play.

The Aggies trailed by one point before Middleton stole the ball from junior guard Marcus Denmon and converted the layup with just over 30 seconds left in the game. Missouri turned the ball over on its next two possessions, allowing Texas A&M to seal the victory.

Junior forward Laurence Bowers got a tip-in as time expired to cut A&M’s lead to just 2 points, but it was too little to late for the Tigers. Denmon hit a 3-pointer to give Missouri an 87-85 lead with 90 seconds left in overtime, but those would be the last points the Tigers would score until Bowers’ last second tip-in.

Bowers had an opportunity to give the Tigers a 3 point lead with 27 seconds left in regulation, but was only able to hit one of his two free throw attempts. Middleton tied the game at 77 on the subsequent possession with a couple of foul shots. Missouri had an opportunity to win the game in regulation after Middleton’s free throws, but freshman guard Phil Pressey missed a jumper in the lane. Middleton finished the game with 28 points to lead all scorers.

The Tigers were ultimately doomed by a poor performance at the free throw line. They were able to convert just 9 of 19 free throw attempts. 4 of those free throws came from Steve Moore who was perfect at the line, meaning that the rest of the team was just 5 of 15 shooting free throws.

Four players finished in double figures for the Tigers, including Ricardo Ratliffe who fouled out at the end of regulation just a rebound shy of a double-double. Both he and Denmon finished with 19 points to lead the Tigers.

Pressey shed the protective glove he had been wearing after breaking his hand earlier this season and opted to just tape it up. He finished the game with 16 points.

Missouri had control through most of the first half, leading by as many as 12 points. However, the Tigers went cold in the final five minutes of the half and Texas A&M took full advantage breaking off a 20-4 run to take a 7 point lead heading into the break.

Texas A&M remains as the only Big 12 team that coach Mike Anderson has not beaten. He is now 0-5 versus the Aggies with the Tigers.

The Tigers’ last victory against the Aggies came in the opening round of the 2004 Big 12 tournament.

It’s a quick turnaround for Missouri, as the team now returns to Columbia for a Monday matinee game against the Kansas State Wildcats. Tip off is set for 4:30 at Mizzou Arena.

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