D’Angelo Allen sparks Missouri Tigers’ win over Auburn

Anderson said: “I just thought our activity was really good and that’s the way we have to play. I don’t even know who played what minutes, but everybody I thought came in and contributed and for us to win, we have to do that.”
Freshman forward Kevin Puryear (24) rebounds the ball with help from sophomore forward D’Angelo Allen (5) and freshman guard Cullen Vanleer (33) against the Auburn Tigers on Jan. 9, 2016, in Mizzou Arena. Missouri won 76-61, and Allen’s presence on the court help to push the team to their first Southeastern Conference victory.

D’Angelo Allen is from Dallas, Texas, — the Lone Star state — and on Saturday, he was the star of the night for Missouri.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore forward is averaging 8.2 minutes per game this year, which ranks third worst among the 13 players on the roster. On Saturday, though, against Auburn, Allen played 12 minutes, scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds to spark Mizzou to a 76-61 victory.

“D’Angelo was tremendous tonight,” freshman forward Kevin Puryear said post-game. “I’m super proud of him and super happy for him. You know, he’s been through a lot this season and to see him have a moment like that, he’s definitely deserving.”

After a push-and-shove moment between Auburn junior guard Kareem Canty and Mizzou junior guard Wes Clark, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl received a technical that Missouri sophomore guard Tramaine Isabell said got Mizzou “locked in.”

Then, trailing 16-15 at the 8:04 mark in the first half, Allen was subbed in and seconds later he scored a putback bucket to give Missouri the lead. Then, on defense, Allen recorded a block and rebound that led to two more points on the other end.

At the half, Missouri led 39-24, and it was a lead that Auburn ultimately wasn’t able to overcome as the black and gold Tigers emerged with the victory.

Some called this game against Auburn a must-win. Obviously, no regular season game in college basketball is a must-win in terms of record. But in terms of psyche? Well, then yeah, this one certainly mattered.

Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference opener against Georgia in which Mizzou lost, 77-58, had the players and the fans down, but not Anderson.

“There’s no magic,” Anderson said after Georgia. “I can’t go in there tomorrow and wave a wand and say ‘OK, you’re going to be better.’ You’ve just got to keep working at it.”

And work at it they did. Everyone from Puryear, who said was motivated by his mom to play “more intense,” to Allen, who says he “loves practice,” was ready to go in the SEC opener at Mizzou Arena.

“I thought our guys played so hard and really prepared themselves over the last couple of days,” Anderson said. “I just thought our activity was really good and that’s the way we have to play. I don’t even know who played what minutes, but everybody I thought came in and contributed and for us to win, we have to do that.”

To put it into perspective, Allen averaged 17 minutes per game last year — which was more than senior center Ryan Rosburg, junior forward Jakeenan Gant, and Isabell — and has not played much all this year.

Against Georgia, Allen played 11 minutes. Against both Arkansas Pine-Bluff and Savannah State, he played a total of 14 minutes. Against Illinois, he didn’t even step on the court.

Does this 3-4 shooting performance filled with an energy boost earn him more minutes?

"We’ll just have to see,” Allen said. “I’m just comfortable where I am right now, getting a ‘W’ for the day.”

Out of all things, one can assume it’s those types of comments that Anderson hopes his team will build off of going forward.

Next up for Missouri is a home matchup against Arkansas (7-7, 2-1) and former Missouri coach Mike Anderson at 8 p.m. Tuesday on the SEC Network.

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