Georgia-Missouri Preview

The Associated Press

Missouri hopes it learned enough of a lesson from its last contest to be able to win without its leading scorer.

With Laurence Bowers out at least one more game, the No. 17 Tigers look to bounce back from their first SEC loss and keep visiting Georgia winless in the league Wednesday night.

Missouri (12-3, 1-1) looked lost without Bowers, averaging 16.8 points per game, in a 64-49 defeat at Mississippi on Saturday. With the senior forward just watching due to a sprained MCL suffered in an 84-68 win over Alabama last Tuesday, the Tigers shot 36.8 percent and posted a point total 29.9 below their season average.

"It's part of the game and we aren't going to make excuses, but it is difficult (without Bowers)," said coach Frank Haith, whose Missouri teams are 7-0 in games immediately following losses.

Though the Tigers hope to have Bowers back for Saturday's showdown at No. 10 Florida, they first must find a way to play better with him on the bench Wednesday. Jabari Brown had a team-high 13 points with seven rebounds against Ole Miss, but was 4 of 13 from the field as Missouri trailed the entire game and went 2 of 18 from 3-point range.

The Tigers also committed 19 turnovers.

"Any given night, if we execute like that we're going to get beat,'' said guard Phil Pressey, who scored 10 points and turned the ball over five times for the second straight contest. "I put that on ourselves, I put that on me. We've got to execute better. If we play like that it's going to be a long season.

"But we're going to get back to the drawing board and play like we play.''

For that to happen they may need a more balanced effort on offense as long as Bowers is out. Brown has totaled 35 points in the last two games but Alex Oriakhi was held to a season-low four Saturday and has failed to score in double figures in three of four.

Pressey, averaging 13.4 points, has totaled 21 in the last two contests after scoring a combined 45 in the previous two.

A visit from Georgia (6-9, 0-2) might help the Tigers get back on track as they try for an 11th consecutive home win. Losers of 14 of 16 away from home, the Bulldogs have dropped six straight on the road since Feb. 11 by an average of 15.2 points.

Sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16 points, but went 0 of 6 in the second half as Georgia shot 32.8 percent in a 72-61 home loss to Mississippi State on Saturday. Caldwell-Pope is scoring 16.9 points per contest but no other Bulldog averages more than 8.1 for a team that's near the bottom of the conference in scoring (59.5) and field-goal percentage (40.6).

"We've got to get somebody else that can score the ball when they take Kentavious away," coach Mark Fox said. "We're having trouble doing that right now."

Bowers scored 23 to help Missouri improve to 3-0 against the Bulldogs with an 89-61 home victory Jan. 2, 2010.

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