An average basketball highlight on TV lasts about a minute and a half. On Friday, the Missouri men’s basketball team showed just how much scoring it can fit into the time frame.
The eventual outcome of the game, a 114-6o win over Harris-Stowe State University, was obvious as halftime approached in the Missouri’s first exhibition of the season. The game, in theory, was over. The highlight, however, was just beginning. The Tigers scored 10 points in the final 1:30 of the first half, bringing the crowd of nearly 8,000 to its feet.
Phil Pressey was the match that sparked the blaze. In the dwindling 1:30 he dished out three assists and stole the ball once.
Two assists resulted in 3-pointers from fellow freshman Ricky Kreklow.
“I thought those guys, for freshmen, didn’t do a very bad job,” coach Mike Anderson said.
The crowd took an immediate liking to Pressey and Kreklow, its noise level increasing each time one of the two freshmen scored or hit the floor for a loose ball.
“When you’ve got some guys that are talented like these guys are, and they’re playing hard and playing together, people appreciate that,” Anderson said. “They look forward to seeing guys who play the right way. And on top of that, they’re talented kids.”
The most impressive play came between the Kreklow 3-pointers.
With barely more than a minute on the clock, Pressey poked the ball loose. It found the hands of Kreklow, who promptly fired it back. Pressey caught the ball in the middle of the lane and passed up the chance to shoot, instead tossing the ball over his head to be finished by a Ricardo Ratliffe dunk.
Not to be outdone by his younger brother, Matt Pressey got in on the scoring too. After Harris-Stowe made a shot with less than thirty seconds left, the junior guard kissed a layup off the glass with four seconds left to send his team into halftime up 59-27.
The exhibition game was labeled a tune-up for the Tigers, but with junior guard Marcus Denmon’s shoulder strain keeping him on the bench, Friday served as valuable playing time for the new faces on the team.
“I thought it was a good chance for us to see where we’re at as far as incorporating new guys into the system. I thought they handled it well,” junior forward Laurence Bowers said. Bowers led Missouri with 23 points.
Missouri plays its next exhibition game against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Friday.