Every loss has a story

After the Tigers broke the program record for consecutive losses, The Maneater broke down every one.

Before last night’s 64-52 victory over the Florida Gators, Missouri men’s basketball team had one win to their name in 2015. Yes, the win was nice but it’s not enough to help fans heal from that brutal 48-day dry spell. After all, the team accumulated 13 consecutive losses in that span.

This got The Maneater sports staff thinking: What are 13 reasons for these 13 losses? So we broke it down, game by game, to tell each story individually.

In NCAA basketball, a 13-game losing streak is considered to be especially heinous. At Missouri, a program that has reveled in success spanning back decades, these losses have accumulated to create the worst losing streak in the school’s history. These are their stories.

Jan. 10: at Auburn

Coming off a huge win against Louisiana State at home, the Tigers traveled to Auburn. Missouri gave up an eight-point lead late in the second half after going nearly five minutes without a made field goal down the stretch. The other Tigers pounced, pulling out an 85-79 win. Let the losing commence.

Jan. 13: at Kentucky

Words cannot describe this game. It was like watching a group of high school varsity players take on the seventh grade B team. No, it was worse. The big, strong, physical and flat-out more talented Wildcats handed Missouri its worst loss of the season, by a margin of 49 points. Staff writer Daniel Witt compared the game to the Tune Squad vs. the Monstars in the film “Space Jam.” Witt noted, however, a certain player bearing the No. 23 was missing from the Missouri bench. But let’s be honest, Michael Jordan probably couldn’t have even saved the day.

Jan. 17: vs. Tennessee

The Vols handed Missouri its third straight loss when the Tigers couldn’t hold a lead at home. The second-half meltdown gave Tennessee a perfect opportunity to make a comeback, as they controlled a 9-0 run down the stretch. Missouri gave up turnovers on three-straight possessions, went scoreless for almost three and a half minutes, and shot themselves in the foot once again.


SPOILER ALERT: It gets worse.

Jan. 21: at Texas A&M

Second-half leads for Missouri are like that girlfriend you keep going back to because you think it’ll be different this time. It never is. She breaks your heart, leaves you emotionally and physically broken, and throws you to the side of the road, waiting for you to crawl back. She broke the young Tigers’ hearts once again, as they lead by seven at halftime. But it was only a matter of time until Missouri gave up the lead — and its fourth consecutive loss.

Jan. 24: vs. Arkansas

Those at the game didn’t think it was possible to have such a summit of emotional excitement dip down to a low valley within a matter of seconds. But like the Tigers had previously done (and would continue to do), they surprised us. The basketball gods dealt Missouri pocket aces, but like they had done four previous times, the Tigers simply folded.

Jan. 29: vs. Kentucky

OK, it wasn’t so bad this time around. Keanau Post absolutely destroyed Devin Booker with an emphatic block that left Mizzou Arena in a state of hysteria unmatched all year. The Tigers held a lead — a very brief lead — in the opening half, but once again, they were unmatched against the undefeated Wildcats. Hey, at least Post made SportsCenter.

Jan. 31: vs. Ole Miss

Losing by 20 points is bad. Losing by 20 points at home is worse. The Rebels handed Missouri its worst home loss in five years, as the Tigers couldn’t handle a pesky zone defense and the effort simply wasn’t there, coach Kim Anderson said. In addition, Missouri shot just 31.1 percent, a season-low. But wait. Is that the sun shining through the clouds? Could this nightmare be over?

Feb. 4: at Alabama

No.

Feb. 7: vs. Texas A&M

Losing by 22 points is bad. Losing by 22 points at home is worse. The Tigers broke their own home-loss record just a week later, falling to the Aggies at Mizzou Arena. It was the worst loss at home in nine years. With freshmen Tramaine Isabell, Montaque Gill-Caesar and Namon Wright all suspended, the Tigers still managed to record their best shooting percentage (43.8 percent) of the whole streak. A&M responded with a 70.9 field goal percentage in the second half to pull away.

Feb. 10: at South Carolina

The image of a 65-60 loss on the scoreboard isn’t what makes this arguably the worst loss of the year. Instead, it was Wes Clark, screaming in agony as his elbow broke through his skin on the court in the second half. After diving for a loose ball, the sophomore got tangled up and landed awkwardly on his arm. The injury was so gruesome that SEC Network wouldn’t air the replay. With Clark out for the season, the Tigers would have to rely on a single ball handler in Keith Shamburger.

Feb. 14: vs. Mississippi State

On Valentine’s Day, the Tigers once again tried crawling back to the ex-girlfriend. With a one-point lead with just minutes to go in the second half, it seemed all was well once again. Missouri had moved back in, fallen back in love and was finally happy. For 17 seconds. The Bulldogs got their own offensive rebound and retook the lead, never giving it up. The girlfriend kicked Missouri to the curb again. But man, were those 17 seconds great.

Feb. 18: at Arkansas

The Tigers tied their program record for most consecutive losses in Fayetteville with an uninspired performance against the No. 18 Razorbacks. Turnovers plagued the Tigers as Arkansas’ full-court press rattled a young Missouri team. Without Clark, the ball handling was as sloppy as it had been all year. Kim Anderson’s team trailed just eight points after the first 20 minutes, despite 14 turnovers in the opening half. The latter half wasn’t even close.

Feb. 21: at Vanderbilt

After 42 days of agony, the Tigers finally broke the program record for consecutive losses. Throughout the past month and a half, Mizzou Arena has gotten quieter, the Missouri bench has gotten shorter, and confidence seems to be at an all-time low. Vanderbilt, a team even younger than Missouri, outshot, outhustled and outperformed the Tigers, dealing them their 13th straight loss — the worst in 109 years of Tiger basketball.

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