COLUMBIA — Phil Pressey had only scored two points since he returned to the Missouri men's basketball team after breaking a bone in his shooting hand. He contributed quietly, snatching steals and delivering assists, but his scoring was nowhere to be found. That all changed after halftime in Missouri's 91-89 overtime loss to Texas A&M on Saturday.
Pressey scored 16 points, including four 3-pointers after he removed a protective glove from his right hand at halftime.
After sitting out four games because of the bone fracture in his right ring finger (fourth metacarpal) at a practice on Dec. 19, Missouri coach Mike Anderson had been easing Pressey back into games since the start of the Big 12 season.
Pressey played nine minutes in Missouri's loss to Colorado to open the conference season. A black and gray Nike glove on his shooting hand accessorized well with Missouri's black jerseys, but Pressey wasn't trying to make a fashion statement.
“It just kind of shields his hand right now — the wrist, where the bone is kind of healing,” Anderson said.
The glove covered padding and tape that surrounded the hand. His fingers, exposed to the middle knuckle, poked through five holes.
Pressey was held to two points from free throws against Colorado, but his impact on the game came in the form of the added spark and instant energy that follows the 5-foot-10 freshman onto the court. His ability to deflect lazy passes and knock the ball out of opponents' hands has a way of creating a scramble that usually ends in Missouri's favor. When the fast break starts, Pressey has a knack for finding the open man.
He had four assists in 21 minutes in Missouri's win against Nebraska, one of which included a crafty pass around a defender that ended in points for his brother, Matt Pressey. In his limited minutes against Colorado, he managed to steal the ball from Colorado players three times with his left hand.
Phil Pressey's scoring, however, was absent. The combination of padding, tape and glove was making it hard for him to find his shooting rhythm, and his trouble continued during the first half against Texas A&M.
Pressey had missed two free throws and a jump shot in first 20 minutes, and Missouri trailed 40-33 when it returned from the locker room. At the start of the second, the glove was gone. Only Pressey's padding and tape remained.
Following the game, Pressey said he removed the glove to have a better feel for the ball while dribbling. He found a better feel for his shot, one of the positives that can be drawn from Missouri's second conference loss on the road.