COLUMBIA - With only two minutes left in another home blowout victory for Missouri, the crowd perks up.
It’s not because it just saw a fast-break dunk or one of the 14 of three pointers Missouri made in its 106-69 victory over Oregon. It was because little-used guard Jarrett Sutton is checking into the game. It’s a moment that the crowd and Sutton have come to savor because it means another easy victory for Missouri.
“It’s fun, it makes what I do, all the hard work I put in, all worth it,” said Sutton.
Sutton then does what he has done all season. Make the crowd go ballistic every time he touches the ball. The third time Sutton catches the ball, he sees an opportunity to shoot. He extends and shoots the ball over an Oregon defender, swishing the three-pointer. The crowd erupts and a satisfied smile creeps onto his face.
Sutton has become known for coming in during the last minute of blowout victories for the Tigers. He has become a fan favorite and makes the most of his minutes. He has made three three-pointers in only 11 minutes this season. Anderson said it is something he is still amazed by.
“I kind of marvel that this kid is sitting there for like 38 minutes, and the ball comes to him and his first shot he, drills it,” Anderson said. “That’s hard to do, and he does it consistently.”
The junior guard, made the team last season as a walk-on. He goes through the daily grinds of practice, understanding he might not play. He said it is tough, but the playing time he receives in games like Saturday’s, makes it worthwhile.
“It means a lot. Sometimes when you’re working hard in practice and sitting on the bench, sometimes it gets a little rough,” Sutton said. “Obviously when you get some minutes, it makes you smile and makes practice a little easier.”
Because Sutton knows he won't play, he said he stays focused by looking for ways to make the team better. He does whatever he can, whether that is hustling in practice or motivating them during the game.
He said part of his motivation is the new scholarship he was granted by Anderson this year helps.
“I feel like everyday I’m trying to make (Anderson) happy, he did his part and it’s time to help make this team better,” Sutton said. “If it means I’m not going to play for two or three games that’s what it means,” Sutton said.
Sutton has picked up on a few habits to make the most of his minimal playing time. He is often seen stretching during TV timeouts and sprinting to the scorer’s table, not out of excitement, but to warm up.
“I can kind of tell when I’m going to go in,” Sutton said. “Usually, I will try and run to the scorer’s table and run onto the floor. That kind of helps a little bit. Any little edge I can get.”
While Sutton has become used to getting in during the last minute of games like Saturday’s, he said he is still amazed by how far he’s come. Just two years ago, he was in the stands cheering the team on, now he is playing against the team’s he rooted against.
“When the opportunity is there, it is just kind of incredible,” Sutton said. “It’s incredible, it is kind of like I’m living the dream still.”