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Columbia Missourian

Turnovers cost Missouri men's basketball team in first loss

By Brendan Meyer
November 23, 2012 | 11:16 p.m. CST
Missouri forward Ryan Rosburg, left, protects the ball from Louisville forward Chane Behanan on Friday night at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article had the incorrect date for the tournament's third-place game. It will be at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Two seconds left in the game, and the bench hadn’t moved in 20.

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Forward Tony Criswell grabbed the loose ball and briefly prepared his shot. He took one dribble, the final dribble, and the ball was gone.

Stolen, again, for the 12th time.

It was the 23rd turnover for the Missouri men's basketball team, which lost 84-61 to No. 2 Louisville on Friday night at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in Nassau, Bahamas.

The No. 13-ranked Tigers struggled to gain rhythm offensively, made bad passes and had careless errors, costing them the early in the second half.

“It was the turnovers," Missouri coach Frank Haith said to The Associated Press. "We just had some careless plays. We have to find a ways to make plays. Guys were trying to make home run plays instead of the easy plays."

Despite pairing 15 points with seven assists, guard Phil Pressey was pressured all night, and it showed. The Southeastern Conference Preseason Player of the Year had a record high eight turnovers, six coming in the first half.

But the junior guard was not alone. Eight of the nine players who played Friday had at least one turnover in the game.

"We just didn't execute,” Pressey told the AP. “That's what their defense does, force turnovers. I felt I was careless. The mistakes were mental, ones I myself don't usually make."

Pressey and freshman guard Negus Webster-Chan both led the Tigers in playing time. But Haith appeared in need of a guard who could control the offense against the overly aggressive Louisville defense. Senior guard Michael Dixon Jr. remains suspended for breaking team rules and did not play again Friday night.

Senior forward Laurence Bowers had six points and one rebound in the game, compared to his season averages of 16.3 and 6.5.

Despite the loss, the Tigers did have some strong points. Senior forward Alex Oriakhi continued to show progress on the offensive end, adding 15 points with eight rebounds, but struggled from the free-throw line, shooting 1-for-5 on the night. He was not the only one. The Tigers shot 10-19 from the stripe.

Criswell also added nine points on 4-for-5 shooting with seven rebounds.

Louisville guard Russ Smith led his team with six steals in the game.

The Tigers (4-1) will play in the tournament's third-place game at 6 p.m. *Saturday night. They face VCU (3-2), which lost to No. 5 Duke 67-58 earlier Friday.