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Columbia Missourian

Ross shows toughness for Missouri men's basketball team in victory over Georgia

By Justin Yang
January 16, 2013 | 9:08 p.m. CST
The victory against Georgia pushed the Tigers to 13-3 overall and helped the team get back on track in Southeastern Conference play at 2-1. Missouri is set to play Saturday afternoon at No. 10-ranked Florida.

COLUMBIA — Things were going well for the Missouri men's basketball team. Halftime was just about three minutes away, and Missouri was up 36-22 against Georgia on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena.

Missouri seemed to be coasting to another victory already. The shots were falling for most players. Those who were not shooting well were still producing in other categories.

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Point guard Phil Pressey, who only scored five points in the No. 17-ranked Tigers' eventual 79-62 victory, had three steals in the first half.

Then, for the first time all night, the crowd was left in suspense — and it wasn't because of a lead change.

It was guard Earnest Ross, streaking across the court, away from the student section after a play. He fell to the ground clutching his ankle, rolling left and right in pain until the medical staff rushed to his side.

After the staff examined him, they helped Ross up. Ross made it to the bench on his own and then jogged into the locker room before halftime.

Right before the start of the second half, Ross was seen running in the tunnels under the stands.

Ross emerged from the tunnel looking energized and was subbed in with 18:21 on the clock.

Nothing seemed to bother Ross in his return. Ross still attacked the basket and fought for rebounds  — showing toughness. Ross ended the night with 15 points, tying guard Jabari Brown for the team high. Ross also had four rebounds.

It was during a rebound that Ross scared the crowd again. Ross was fouled as he went up for an offensive rebound, his legs went out from under him and he fell flat on his back.

The thud from his fall was heard throughout the arena.

Then, much to the crowd's relief, Ross showed off his durability once again. He got up, tried to loosen his muscles, wiped his hands on his shorts, dribbled the ball a few times and made a free throw.

Missouri coach Frank Haith was happy with Ross's performance.

"I think Earnest played great tonight. He was very aggressive and was all over the court," Haith said. "That's the way we need him to play. He's an energy guy."

The victory pushed the Tigers to 13-3 overall and helped the team get back on track in Southeastern Conference play at 2-1. Missouri is set to play Saturday afternoon at No. 10-ranked Florida.