COLUMBIA — Laurence Bowers wanted a shot at redemption.
Bowers got it when Missouri defeated Vanderbilt 85-82 in overtime on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena.
Out of high school, Bowers, a native of Memphis, Tenn., was frustrated that Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings didn’t recruit him more heavily.
“It’s a big deal for me,” Bowers said before last season’s game against Vanderbilt. “And being recruited by Vanderbilt, it’s a great time for me to go back to Tennessee and show Vanderbilt how I’ve developed because they kind of overlooked me my senior year.”
In last year's game in Nashville, Bowers struggled. He got in foul trouble early and only played a total of 15 minutes. And worse for Bowers, Missouri lost 89-83 in Nashville.
“I remember the game because it was a homecoming game for me,” Bowers said during Monday’s media day. “It was the first game I ever started, and I got in foul trouble real fast and sat out for most of the game. I just never really got into a groove last year.”
During Wednesday night’s game against Vanderbilt, Bowers scored only eight points, but Missouri came out with a win to improve to 7-1. After scoring four points in the first couple of minutes, Bowers, like in last season’s game against Vanderbilt, got into foul trouble, and had to sit for 13 minutes in the first half. In the second half, Bowers made one more layup, but gave the Tigers a boost in overtime.
After the game ended regulation tied at 72, Bowers knocked down the first points for Missouri in overtime when he made two free throws after being fouled on a shot attempt. After those free throws though, Bowers fouled out of the game.
The struggles for Bowers against Vanderbilt are just a continuation of what he has been calling a “slump.” In the team’s last game against Oregon, Bowers scored only seven points. In the game before that against Georgetown, Bowers had 10.
“I personally feel like I haven’t been playing my best, and to the best of my abilities,” Bowers said during Monday’s media day. “I want to have a good game, but it just seems like I’m not having the best games right now. Every good player goes through a slump, and every good player can find their way out of it, and I consider myself a good player. “
Bowers will have another chance to end his slump when the team faces Presbyterian on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.