COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Bucknell put up a fight, but in the end, the Bison suffered the same fate as the last 72 nonconference teams to visit Mizzou Arena as No. 12 Missouri beat Bucknell 66-64 on Saturday afternoon. Missouri finished the nonconference schedule 11-2. The Tigers' last home nonconference loss came against Sam Houston State, 80-77, on Nov. 14, 2005, when Quin Snyder was still the coach. Mike Muscala led the Bison(13-3) with 25 points and 15 rebounds but missed a free throw that would have completed a three-point play and tied the game with 40 seconds left. Muscala also stepped on the baseline with 4.1 seconds to play, turning the ball over before Bucknell could attempt a game-winning shot. Earnest Ross hit two free throws with three seconds to play to put Missouri up 66-63. The Tigers fouled Muscala, who made the first free throw before missing the second intentionally. Missouri freshman Stefan Jankovic grabbed the rebound and the clock ran out. Phil Pressey, the SEC preseason player of the year, scored a career-high 26 points to lead Missouri. Bucknell held Pressey in check throughout the first half. Pressey had racked up 30 assists in his previous two games, but had none at halftime and just four for the game. While he wasn't setting up his teammates, Pressey scored 20 points in the second half to help Missouri to the win. Bucknell held a 28-24 halftime lead paced by 16 points and eight rebounds from Muscala. His efforts on the glass helped Bucknell stay within 24-18 of Missouri in rebounding. The Tigers came into the game leading the nation in rebounds per game. Jankovic, who played only two first-half minutes, got the Tigers going after the break. He hit a three-pointer off a pass from Pressey on Missouri's first possession and threw down a one-handed dunk the next time down to give the Tigers a 29-28 lead. It was back-and-forth the rest of the way. Laurence Bowers had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Missouri. Cameron Ayers chipped in 13 points for the Bison. NOTES: Forward Tony Criswell missed a second straight game for Mizzou with a broken finger. Coach Frank Haith said he would be re-evaluated after the game. ... Pressey's 26 points came on 22 shots, the third consecutive game he has set or tied a career high in attempts. ... Missouri is second in the country in rebounding margin at plus-14.2 per game, but Bucknell stayed close, losing the battle on the glass just 43-39.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mike Muscala