Missouri wins ‘Rally for Rhyan’ game, raises over $50,000

Assistant coach Brad Loos: “You couldn’t have scripted this day any better than how it went today.”
Missouri guard Namon Wright (12) gets fouled on his way up to the basket for a layup during the basketball game against Tennessee on Feb. 13 in Mizzou Arena.

The Missouri men’s basketball team broke its nine-game losing streak with a win over Tennessee 75-64 on Saturday with a season-high 10,563 fans in attendance.

Missouri hadn’t won a game since Jan. 9, but on Saturday, in the “Rally for Rhyan” game, basketball wasn’t the headliner. Assistant coach Brad Loos’ 5-year-old daughter, Rhyan, was diagnosed with cancer on Oct. 6. Hosting students for free and all fans for general donations, Mizzou basketball was able to create a day of awareness for pediatric cancer.

In doing so, Missouri was able to generate more than $50,000 for the cause. And for everyone, that’s the takeaway from Saturday.

“The most important thing that went on here today was what Missouri did for Rhyan Loos,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said postgame. “It’s unbelievable that they would do that, and I’ve always had respect for the University of Missouri and their fans and to have a fundraiser like that for the disease that we all hate, that was the biggest win of all.”

Mizzou started off hot as sophomore guard Namon Wright drilled two three-point buckets and scored seven points in the first three minutes. Then, thanks to eight early points from senior center Ryan Rosburg, Missouri held an early 23-11 lead with 11:04 to play in the first half.

It’s that kind of performance that Mizzou fans have become accustomed to in recent contests. In the last three games, Rosburg has averaged 21 points and eight rebounds, numbers that have given Missouri the chance to win games like this.

“I’m playing like I’ve got nothing to lose,” Rosburg said. “My days are numbered and I know that I don’t want to leave anything or have any regrets looking back. It’s a countdown now and I’m just playing hard, shots are falling and teammates are finding me.”

For much of the crowd, feeding off the Chesterfield, Missouri, native Rosburg was almost too easy. Freshman forward Kevin Puryear also fed off Rosburg. The 6-foot-7 forward hit two threes Saturday and stretched the floor for Missouri in a way that generated more points.

At halftime, Missouri led 38-27, and Rosburg had 12 points. And in the second half, the Tigers picked up right where they left off.

Mizzou expanded its lead to 14, but Tennessee made runs late in the second half to try to steal a perfect afternoon from the Tiger faithful, cutting the Missouri lead to four with just over a minute to play. Ultimately, though, Missouri prevailed in a way that coach Kim Anderson called “necessary.”

“You couldn’t have scripted this day any better than how it went today,” Brad Loos said. “For everything that everybody’s done, ‘Thank you’ doesn’t do it justice. I’m happy for the way the day went, I’m happy for the win, I’m absolutely thrilled about the amount of money that we raised and I’m really happy for our guys.”

Saturday wasn’t centered around basketball, but it was a perfect day for Missouri to pick up its first win in over a month.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Puryear said.

And for the team, coaches, fans and everyone involved, Saturday was just what the doctor ordered.

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