Turnovers doom Tigers in 75-65 loss to Ole Miss

Jordan Geist led Missouri with 23 points.

Despite a snowstorm on Friday which delayed Missouri’s flight, the team managed to get to Oxford, Mississippi Saturday morning.

The Tigers arrived at The Pavilion at Ole Miss about 90 minutes before tipoff where they immediately struggled, starting the game 8-for-24 from the field and coughing up the ball 15 times in the first half.

The late arrival could have been a factor in MU’s sluggish start, as Missouri (12-12, 3-9 SEC), couldn’t overcome a 9-point halftime deficit or 25 total turnovers, falling 75-65 to Ole Miss (18-7, 8-4 SEC) on Saturday.

Senior point guard Jordan Geist led Missouri with 23 points and freshman guard Xavier Pinson added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Missouri’s 25 turnovers tied the season-high it reached against Iowa State on Nov. 9. Pinson finished with a team-high five turnovers while sophomore K.J. Santos and Geist each had four, but they weren’t the only culprits. Junior forward Reed Nikko was the only player to play more than six minutes and not commit a turnover for the Tigers.

Ole Miss took advantage of the miscues and scored 32 points off of Missouri’s turnovers.

Despite his turnover troubles, Geist willed the Missouri offense in the second half to keep it within striking distance. He had 8 quick points to pull Missouri within nine with 10:25 remaining after the Rebels led by as many as 19 in the second half. Geist muscled through the paint for an old-fashioned 3-point play to pull Missouri within seven with 4:03 left, but Ole Miss went on a 10-2 run in the next 2:30 to put the game out of reach.

After going five straight games without fouling out, sophomore center Jeremiah Tilmon fell back into foul trouble and picked up five fouls in 15 minutes, limiting Missouri’s ability to take advantage of the size it had over Mississippi’s four-guard lineups. Tilmon finished with 4 points, four rebounds and one block. He went to the bench for good with 5:30 to go.

Missouri also went back to getting minimal production from the other forward position. Senior Kevin Puryear was a revelation for the team when he provided some production with an 8-point, eight rebound performance against Arkansas, but that disappeared Saturday.

Puryear, Santos and redshirt sophomore Mitchell Smith played a combined 38 minutes. In that time, Puryear had the group’s only 5 points while the trio combined for only five rebounds and eight turnovers.

Sophomore guard Mark Smith also made his return from an ankle injury for Missouri after missing six-straight games. He came off the bench with 3 points on 1-for-4 shooting with three rebounds and three turnovers in 14 minutes.

Next, Missouri comes back to Columbia to play No. 5 Kentucky (20-4, 9-2 SEC) on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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