UPDATED: Missouri basketball dismisses Wes Clark

Kevin Puryear: “South Carolina is a really good team and they’re going to come here and play their hearts out and we’re definitely going to come in and do the same.”
Missouri guard Wes Clark (15) drives in on a Tennessee defense Feb. 13 in Mizzou Arena. Clark racked up five of the team’s 41 rebounds that all contributed to the Tigers’ win.

On Tuesday, Missouri's athletic department announced that junior guard Wes Clark would no longer be a member of the basketball team.

“Wes Clark had failed to meet the academic expectations of the Mizzou Athletics Department and is no longer a member of the men’s basketball program,” read a statement from the school. “Due to this issue relating to academics, Mizzou Athletics will have no further comment.”

Clark was suspended for two games his freshman year and this comes after he's been the second scoring leader for Missouri averaging 9.8 points per game. Clark is the third player to be dismissed from Missouri for disciplinary reasons since Anderson took over the program in April 2014.

This comes just before Missouri will host South Carolina (21-4, 8-4 SEC) at Mizzou Arena. Here are three things to watch for ahead of the matchup:

Rosburg’s reliability: In the past three games, senior center Ryan Rosburg produced in a way that Missouri needed, averaging 21 points and 8 rebounds over that stretch.

“I’ve been playing like I’ve got nothing to lose,” Rosburg said Saturday following the Tennessee game. “My days are numbered, and I don’t want to have any regrets looking back. I want to give it my all and play my heart out every game we’ve got left.”

For Missouri to upset South Carolina on Tuesday, Rosburg’s mirroring his recent production will be critical.

The crowd’s response: In terms of attendance, Saturday’s crowd of 10,563 was the largest at Mizzou Arena all year. Rosburg and Puryear referred to the crowd as assistants in grabbing the 75-64 win against Tennessee and it’s hard to refute their sentiment.

Much of that attendance can be contributed to the “Rally for Rhyan” support and cheaper admission for that game, but it’s that type of crowd that coach Kim Anderson would like to see for Tuesday’s game.

“I thought the crowd was great and that really got us going,” Anderson said after the game against Tennessee. “I hope that those people will come back. Obviously they really helped us.”

There’s no telling what a crowd will look like for the South Carolina game, but a big one could only help.

Keep the momentum: After Missouri’s first win in over a month, you could sense the feeling of accomplishment with Rosburg and freshman forward Kevin Puryear as they sat at the podium postgame.

“I would say the drought was definitely tough but now that we did win, it’s good for our confidence,” Puryear said. “South Carolina is a really good team and they’re going to come here and play their hearts out and we’re definitely going to come in and do the same. This, though, gives us momentum.”

In order to carry that momentum, Missouri must put up a good showing against South Carolina. The game will be aired at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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