First it was Stefhon Hannah. Then Matt Lawrence did it twice, and DeMarre Carroll followed. On Wednesday night it was Keon Lawrence who came up big as the Tigers laid another egg on the road.
Lawrence scored a season-high 24 points as Missouri lost 92-84 at Texas Tech. Missouri is now 0-5 on the road this season.
“He played the way he is capable of playing,” coach Mike Anderson said on a radio show after the game . “He just needed some help tonight.”
That has been the trend throughout the Tigers’ road woes. Missouri has had one or two players step up in each of its five road losses but the rest of the team hasn’t been able to keep up.
“It’s not really what we want, we want more of a team thing, have a lot of guys show up on the road for big games,” Matt Lawrence said on the phone after the game . “But when you have a guy like Keon rolling you want to get him the ball a little bit more too.”
Carroll had a solid game, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds before fouling out with 2:09 left in the game. Hannah added 17 points, but no other Missouri player scored more than six points.
Still, it’s always going to be hard to win when the other team shoots 50 free throws. Texas Tech made 36 of its 50 free-throw attempts, dwarfing Missouri’s 12-for-15 performance from the line.
Tech’s star guard Martin Zeno burned the Tigers for a career-high 33 points including 19 from the free throw line. Guard John Roberson also added 25 points, including 10 from the free throw line.
“We kind of let it slip away,” Matt Lawrence said. “It’s kind of a recipe for a loss.”
It is the third game in a row in which Missouri has put itself at a major disadvantage on the line. The Tigers gave up 37 free-throw attempts in a loss at Iowa State and 45 in a loss against Kansas last week.
“The thing I keep talking about that’s not going to let you win games on the road is the inability to control the basketball and keep them off the free throw line,” Anderson said. “We’ve just got to get tougher, mentally tougher on the road.”
Missouri turned the ball over 21 times.
After another slow start, Missouri came back from a 12-point deficit as Keon Lawrence made two layups to tie the score at 29-29 and then to give Missouri a two-point lead. Hannah hit a 3-pointer before halftime to give Missouri a 40-37 halftime lead.
Another Hannah 3-pointer gave Missouri its biggest lead of the game, 47-42, before Texas Tech fought back to make the score 57-67. Missouri got within three points when Hannah made a layup to make it 84-87 with 36 seconds left, but then Tech pulled away.
The Tigers, now 11-8 overall and 1-3 in Big 12 Conference play, have held a lead in four of their five road losses. It was Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight’s 901 career win.