Missouri’s Laurence Bowers is relieved that the Missouri men’s basketball team is done traveling to hostile environments.
“I still hate that we ended the road season the way we did, but every game from here on out is home or neutral, so that’s a bit of a relief right now,” Bowers said in a telephone interview following Missouri's 69-58 loss Tuesday night at Nebraska. “At the end of the day, it’s the Big 12 and it’s tough to win on the road, I don’t care what anybody says."
With the loss, the Tigers finish off their Big 12 Conference travel schedule with a 1-7 record. Their lone win came at Iowa State, the last-place team in the conference standings.
"It’s kind of been the same story on the road this season,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said in his postgame radio interview. “We get to that pivotal point in the game, and you’re thinking that we’re continuing to get better and make plays, but we don’t make plays.
“The consistency that we talk about that we got to have, especially on the road, we didn’t have tonight. The last road game this season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but it’s because our guys weren’t fighting.”
Three of Missouri's road losses (Colorado, Kansas State and now Nebraska) came against teams that the Tigers, who are 7-0 in conference play at Mizzou Arena, defeated at home.
In Tuesday’s game, Missouri struggled in an area that it often has success in — not turning the ball over. On Tuesday, Missouri turned over the ball 17 times. In its 77-69 win over Nebraska on Jan. 12, Missouri only had nine turnovers.
“I was really disappointed with our guys inability to take care of the basketball,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t because of what Nebraska was doing, it was because of the mistakes that we were making.”
Despite Missouri’s numerous turnovers, the Tigers stayed even with the Huskers for the majority of the game. But with 13 minutes left and the score tied at 40, Nebraska went on an 11-0 run behind the effort of guards Drake Beranek and Lance Jeter.
The run started when Beranek made a layup, which was followed up with a 3-pointer by Jeter. After Nebraska added three more points, Beranek made another 3-pointer.
“We were never able to bounce back from that run,” Bowers said. “They executed and got good layups at the basket. I thought the turnovers played a big part in that, ultimately leading to the loss.”
After Nebraska's run, Missouri never got back in the game, unable to reduce the deficit to fewer than nine points.
With the loss, Missouri falls to fifth place in the Big 12, and trails fourth-place Kansas State by one game. The top four teams in the Big 12 receive a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament.