Missouri looks sluggish without Laurence Bowers in loss at Ole Miss

Kyle Ringo
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Missouri might have misjudged how badly it needs Laurence Bowers. The Tigers sure seemed to miss their leading scorer in a 64-49 loss at Ole Miss.

Missouri failed to score for nearly 7 minutes to start the game and never seemed to find its rhythm playing for the first time since losing Bowers for at least two games to a sprained knee. The 10th ranked Tigers missed their first nine shots and also lost their third consecutive road game, which will certainly lead some to question their mental toughness.

Missouri would like to think it's a contender for the SEC title in its first season in the conference. With a healthy Bowers in the lineup, that is probably true, but Saturday's performance without him left a lot to be desire and creates plenty of questions about just how good this team really is. Missouri made just two of 18 3-point attempts.

Alex Oriakhi, the Tigers' best threat to score in the post with Bowers out, finished with just four points and Jabari Brown managed just 13 points in 38 minutes.

Point guard Phil Pressey continued his hot-and-cold ways. He scored just 10 points and finished with five assists and five turnovers in 36 minutes just a few days after dishing 13 assists against Alabama and a week after scoring 26 points against Bucknell. Both of those games were at home.

The best thing Missouri did against the Rebels was limiting Marshall Henderson, the SEC's leading scorer, to just 11 points. But it allowed 22 points to Murphy Holloway.

Beating the Tigers was easily the biggest win of the season for Ole Miss. It was the first game of the season against a ranked team for the Rebels.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleRingo

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