Missouri wasn’t overwhelmed by a quick start from its last opponent, but it still lost another road game. The Tigers face another challenge from a tough home team as they try again to pick up a rare victory outside of Columbia on Tuesday night.
The No. 22 Tigers look to avoid back-to-back losses when they face Nebraska in the Cornhuskers’ final Big 12 game at the Devaney Sports Center.
Riding a four-game winning streak and with a chance to take a two-game lead over fifth-place Kansas State in the race for a first-round conference tournament bye, Missouri (22-7, 8-6) lost 80-70 to the Wildcats on Saturday.
The Tigers were down by just three at halftime after trailing 13-2 in the opening 3:35. Missouri, though, was outscored 9-0 after Michael Dixon’s 3-pointer made it 60-all with 6:16 left.
“They made plays down the stretch,” said junior guard Mike Denmon, who scored the Tigers’ last 10 points to finish with 22. “… We had a lot of mental mistakes as a team. We did a lot of things that you can’t do on the road.”
Missouri is 1-6 on the road in league play, the lone victory coming by a 76-70 score over last-place Iowa State on Feb. 19.
Missouri is averaging 75.0 points in Big 12 road games compared to 83.0 at home in conference. The Tigers are forcing 12.6 turnovers per game in Big 12 road contests - 7.0 fewer than at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri will look for a better effort in its final road game of the season as Nebraska (18-10, 6-8) plays at home for the last time as a member of the Big 12.
The Huskers are looking for their first NCAA tournament berth since 1998 before moving to the Big Ten next season, but they likely squandered any hope of getting one with an 83-82 overtime road loss to the Cyclones on Saturday.
Senior guard Lance Jeter set career highs with 27 points and five 3-pointers, but Nebraska dropped its second straight following a 3-0 stretch that was capped by a victory over then-No. 3 Texas on Feb. 19.
“Everyone wants the season to get over with so everyone knows what’s going to happen,” coach Doc Sadler said. “As crazy as this sounds, there are two games left for a lot of teams, and both of those are huge.
“Obviously, we were disappointed Saturday, but it doesn’t end our season.”
Nebraska is 16-2 in Lincoln, including 5-2 in conference.
Before closing the regular season against Colorado on Saturday, the Huskers will look to avenge a 77-69 loss at Missouri on Jan. 12 that ended their 11-game winning streak.
Denmon scored a career high-tying 27 points in that matchup while teammate Ricardo Ratliffe added 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
Ratliffe, though, had just two points and one rebound in 12 foul-plagued minutes Saturday. Nebraska center Jorge Brian Diaz stepped up with a season-high 18 points and 11 boards.
Denmon scored a then-career-high 24 points and Laurence Bowers added 12 off the bench in Missouri’s last game in Lincoln - a 74-59 Tigers victory Feb. 20, 2010.
Missouri leads the all-time series 126-92.