The Maneater

Second chances help Missouri defeat Garner-Webb

Antlers ejected in 72-63 win.

The Missouri Tigers improved to 4-0 after beating the Garner-Webb Bulldogs at home, 72-63, Saturday in the opening game of the Las Vegas Invitational. It was not a pretty win for Missouri with 21 turnovers and two technical fouls.

“This is our fourth game together as a group,” interim head coach Tim Fuller said. “We are still very much gellin’ and meshin’ into the unit we need to be.”

Despite the blemishes, the Tigers improved on free throwing with the team shooting 80 percent from the line. Guards Jabari Brown, Earnest Ross and Jordan Clarkson did not miss.

In practice, Fuller said the players shot 100 free throws and only one was under 80 percent. Such numbers give him confidence that this team can be successful from the free throw line.

The Tigers also received help on the inside from freshman forward Johnathan Williams III, who had a career-high 17 rebounds.

“Back in high school, I had one of my coaches tell me rebound out of your area,” he said. “Don’t let the ball find you. You find the ball.”

Williams’ eight offensive rebounds created second chances for Missouri, Brown said.

Brown also said that Williams’ long arms helped him rebound. Williams, who stands 6-foot-9, has a great second jump as well, Fuller said.

Aside from free throws and two three-pointers, all of Missouri’s points, 46 of them, came from inside the lane. Williams scored seven points.

“That’s something we do every day,” Fuller said. “We call it rise to the shot. Our 3, 4 and 5 have to continue to test the backboard and have to continue to pursue the basketball, so again it didn’t happen by mistake. It’s something that’s a part of who we are, and that’s what we work on every single day.”

Fuller said establishing itself in the paint is something the team will continue to do.

The Bulldogs kept it close throughout the game until the final 10 minutes, when the Tigers pulled away on a 14-0 run.

The Garner-Webb squad hails from the Big South Conference and won eight of its last 10 games to close out last season.

The Bulldogs also handed the Tigers their closest win of the season.

“They won the intensity war in the first half,” Fuller said. “In the second half, we won the intensity war.”

The intensity was lacking from the crowd, which numbered 6,738. Missing were The Antlers, a provocative Mizzou loyalist contingent.

According to junior Emmett DeLaney, the group’s grand poobah (president), the group was ejected before the game began.

“We have high expectations from our student fans,” Athletics spokesman Dave Reiter said. “It was a game operations decision.”

The Tigers will play IUPUI on Monday, Nov. 25, before heading to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Invitational.

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