Bowers gives Missouri men's basketball team early-season boost

Thursday, December 6, 2012 | 7:41 p.m. CST; updated 8:04 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 6, 2012
MU forward Laurence Bowers blocks a shot from SEMO guard Nate Schulte on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena. Missouri plays Tennessee State at 2 p.m. Saturday.

COLUMBIA — He tweeted out the message Wednesday.

“When you sit out a whole year. The most important thing you learn is to appreciate the game. It can be taken away from you in a blink,” Laurence Bowers said. 

So far, the senior forward on the Missouri men's basketball team is savoring every moment. Bowers, who sat out last year with a torn ACL, has led the No. 12 Tigers to a 7-1 record this season. 

He is averaging 16.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He tied a career high with a 23-point performance Saturday then bettered that mark with 26 points Tuesday.

“He’s playing well,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said after the game Tuesday. “He’s scored in a lot of different ways, and he’s answering the bell. When you’re a big-time player, that’s what you want. You want the ball, and we’re going to give it to him. The speed that he’s playing at is really good right now.”

Most importantly though, Bowers is making the shots that matter. He helped lead the Tigers back from a 10-point deficit against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday, scoring 15 points in the second half. 

“Coach is throwing up plays, getting the ball inside,” Bowers said Tuesday. “Obviously, if coach draws plays for you, he trusts you to make something happen. So, that’s all I did. I was just trying to be fearless and attack the basket.

“Everything was just falling for me. If it wasn’t, I got to the line a few times. I’ve just got to continue to build off of that.”

He will try again Saturday when Missouri faces Tennessee State (4-5) at 2 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.

Tennessee State is led by senior forward Robert Covington, who is averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this season, and will certainly have the tough task of coming up with a game plan against his opponent Saturday.

“(Laurence) can do everything,” senior guard Keion Bell said Tuesday. “He can stretch the defense. He can make post moves. He can play physical. He can shoot threes. He can pass the ball. His skill set is so diverse that you can’t really come up with a game plan of how to stop him, or trying to contain him.

"Laurence, he can just do everything on the floor.”

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