Missouri men lose road finale, complicate SEC seeding situation

A loss to Ole Miss means the Tigers will finish with a losing record this season.

In need of a road result to improve its seeding for the upcoming Southeastern Conference tournament, Missouri men’s basketball (14-16, 6-11 SEC) paid a visit to Ole Miss (15-15, 6-11 SEC) on Wednesday night.

The Rebels and Tigers entered the game jockeying for position near the bottom of the conference’s standings. Though it was, at times, a close affair, Ole Miss emerged a 75-67 victor.

Despite going down by 15 points in the first half, the Tigers battled back in the second, tying the game at 51 apiece at the 14:04 mark of the period. Missouri was within two points with fewer than five minutes to play, but did not make a shot from the field in the final 2:24.

The Tigers shot 29% from the field in the second half, making only one 3-pointer.

Sophomore guard Xavier Pinson yet again led Missouri in scoring, putting up 16 points. Junior forward Jeremiah Tilmon was the only other Tiger to score in double-digits with 12 points.

Coach Cuonzo Martin took advantage of a fully healthy team and rotated heavily. No player was on the floor for more than 32 minutes (Dru Smith) and 10 players were in the game for at least 10 minutes.

The loss complicates Missouri’s chances of avoiding a game on the first day of the SEC tournament. With one game to go, the Tigers are in 12th place, level with Ole Miss.

A 10th place finish, which would keep Missouri away from day-one action, is still possible. The Tigers need a win over Alabama plus other results in the conference.

Missouri will honor senior forward Reed Nikko in its last regular season game of the year on Saturday against the Crimson Tide.

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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