Allen steps up, leads Tigers past Elon

D’Angelo Allen scored a career-high 12 points while Keith Shamburger hit nine out of nine free throws.

Fans might know #5 for the Missouri Tigers as D’Angelo Allen, but inside the locker room, teammates have given him another name to go by.

“Fat Boy.”

“I’m just trying to get in shape, and if I can get in shape and lose some weight, I think I could be a good role player for this team and get wins,” Allen said. “As a fat boy.”

Fat Boy sparked the Tigers in the second half, scoring a career high 12 points off the bench and helping Mizzou close out a 78-73 victory over Elon. The forward scored on three consecutive possessions from put-backs in the second half.

Before Thursday, Allen averaged just 2.3 points per game.

“I had a good game, but not my best game,” Allen said. “I can do much better.”

“He had some big tip-ins,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “And he competes. It’s not always pretty, he makes mistakes. But when he makes them, he’s going.”

Despite a record night for Allen, he still believes he has more to bring to the table. By losing weight, he said he could be more useful for the Tigers.

While Anderson has struggled to find an “energy guy” all year, Allen might be that missing piece. The coach credited his competitive attitude and ability to spark the Tigers when they need it most.

“He is a guy that brings energy,” Anderson said. “He’s a guy that you never know what’s going to happen.”

The Tigers, who are used to being plagued by slow starts, made the opposite mistake Thursday night, giving up 46 points in the second half after going into the locker room at half with a 19 point lead.

In contrast, Mizzou scored just 32 points in the final half.

The lead was the largest of the Anderson era, and Elon came within a point with under a minute left in the game, only to miss a tying free throw with seconds remaining.

“The bad news is we let them come back,” Anderson said. “But the good news is we did handle the pressure at the end.”

Nobody handled the pressure better than senior Keith Shamburger, who was 9-9 on free throws, including four down the stretch to keep the lead at three.

The Tigers practice free throws every day, according to Shamburger, one reason he didn’t feel the pressure as Elon cut the lead to just a point.

“I really didn’t feel tensed too much,” Shamburger said. “We just have to go out there and win the game. I really wasn’t tense, I just wanted to get the game over with, and win it.”

Shooting 59% from the field, 67% from beyond the arc and 74% from the line, the Tigers played their best half of the season in the opening 20 minutes.

The Tigers face Xavier (7-2) Saturday, a team Anderson credits as being well-coached and disciplined. It’s arguably Mizzou’s best non-conference home game of the year, which really has Fat Boy pumped up.

As the freshman stood up from the post-game press conference, his excitement took over.

“They just gonna hear MIZ-,” Allen said. “-ZOU.”

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