Men’s basketball losing streak extends to 12 games

The Missouri men’s basketball team lost its 12th straight game with a 63-53 loss to South Carolina.
Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear, 24 defends against South Carolina senior guard Sindarius Thornwell, 0. Puryear played 35 mins of the game.

South Carolina left little doubt as to why it holds the No. 1 spot in three-point defense in the country on Saturday.

The Gamecocks made the Tigers’ three-point game disappear in their 63-53 win in Columbia, holding Missouri to one three-pointer on 17 attempts. South Carolina’s efforts halted the three-point momentum Missouri had gained in recent games, going 11-25 a week ago.

“They certainly padded that stat tonight,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said.

The non-existent three-point game is just the latest way Anderson’s team has found a way to lose a game. Missouri lost its 12th straight game on Saturday to South Carolina at Mizzou Arena. With the loss to the No. 23 Gamecocks, Anderson still has not defeated a ranked team in his time with the Tigers (5-15, 0-8).

Based on how the Gamecocks started the game, Anderson’s team looked as if it might have a chance to end their coach’s three-year losing streak against ranked opponents. South Carolina failed to score a single point in the opening five minutes of the game.

The Gamecocks often halted their own efforts, traveling on four of their seven opening possessions.

“Offensively, we aren’t starting games real good,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. “I have to figure out a way to fix that right now. That is the one thing that is bothering me.”

Missouri struggled to take advantage, though, despite opening up the game on a 7-0 run during that five-minute span. The Gamecocks quickly erased that deficit as they took a 10-9 lead with 11:30 left in the first half.

The Tigers stuck with South Carolina, trailing 26-22 at halftime. But any time Missouri looked to gain some kind of lead, the Gamecocks quickly squashed those efforts.

The white rally towels fans received when they entered the game occasionally made appearances. But whenever the Tigers seemed to gain momentum and the towels began to twirl, South Carolina answered. Often, the answer came in the form of a three-point basket.

“It is the story of the season: we will go down and score, and then we can’t get a stop,” sophomore K.J. Walton said. “We have to figure something out.”

South Carolina’s lead grew to double digits early in the second half, which the Tigers could not overcome. Anderson attributes it to Missouri’s inability to get 50-50 balls.

“We have to get those,” Anderson said. “We can’t give away possessions.”

If not for the Tigers giving away possessions by taking pre-mature three-point shots early on, they may have been able to overcome a seven-point threshold late in the game. Anderson said he thinks his team took some quick three-pointers it didn’t need to early in the game. He saw improvement in the second half.

Missouri’s three-point struggles epitomize its play over the 12-game losing streak. The Tigers have led at halftime in four of eight Southeastern Conference games, losing each of those four.

Anderson is hoping his team can put everything together soon so his team does not set a record for the longest losing streak in Missouri men’s basketball history.

“We have got to get all the guys playing well together in one night, or playing well together in two halves,” Anderson said.

Up next:

Missouri heads to Florida on Thursday to face the No. 25 Gators. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. Central.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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