Missouri men's basketball team loses second straight

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | 10:51 p.m. CST; updated 12:23 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 3, 2009
Missouri guard Zaire Taylor, left, fights for a loose ball with Vanderbilt forward Steve Tchiengang in Wednesday night's loss in Nashville, Tenn.

The Missouri men's basketball team achieved a first on Wednesday night — only it was the wrong kind of first.

The Tigers lost consecutive games for the first time since the 2007-08 season, falling to Vanderbilt 89-83 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Tigers made a run in the last five minutes of the second half to cut a 12-point deficit  to one, but it wasn't enough. The Commodores' big men posed too tough of a matchup for the Tigers (4-2), who were outrebounded 44-23. Vanderbilt center A.J. Ogilvy scored a team-high 25 points to help keep the Commodores ahead most of the game. Vanderbilt (5-1) was previously ranked No. 24 in the AP poll before its only loss to No. 22 Cincinnati.

"I thought we just ran out of time," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said in a radio broadcast after the game. "We got beat on the boards, but I thought we neutralized it with our defense. I think the main thing is making plays down the stretch, and making the right kind of plays."

Guards Kim English, who scored 20 points, and Zaire Taylor, who added 17, led Missouri. The Tigers forced 23 turnovers, but Vanderbilt's second-chance points helped it maintain the lead. Anderson said he was pleased with Taylor's effort, and expects more games like this one.

"Zaire Taylor stepped up big for us. He's a key to this basketball team, and made big plays for us especialy defensively," Anderson said. "He was a reason why a lot of (the comeback) began in the first place."

However tough Wednesday night's loss was for the young Tigers, Anderson said it was crucial for development. He said the team will gain some much needed experience playing in tough road games so it will be prepared for the rigors of the Big 12.

"Right now it hurts these guys, we don't like losing. Hopefully our guys will want to get this bad taste out of their mouthes," Anderson said. "This is a learning experience. We will play these kinds of games in Big 12 play."

Missouri will have a short break before its next game against Oregon on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

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