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Missouri men's basketball team dominates LSU at home

Saturday, March 2, 2013 | 5:04 p.m. CST; updated 10:49 p.m. CST, Saturday, March 2, 2013
The Missouri men's basketball team gained a victory over LSU on Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — They huddled.

Before lining up to shake Gov. Jay Nixon’s hand, before clapping and laughing at Alex Oriakhi’s infamous chicken dance, before running out of the tunnel to a screaming home crowd, before the game even started, they stood quietly, raised their arms, and huddled.

Phil Pressey led the chant, only loud enough for his teammates to hear.

“Believe in yourself, believe in your team.”

On Saturday, the Missouri men's basketball beat LSU 89-76.

The stadium was silent, while the fan with the purple and gold striped shirt stood and clapped.

He was glared at and heckled at, and he loved every second of it. LSU was up 25-12 with 10 minutes left in the first half, silencing the home crowd.

The purple and gold Tigers had just made three 3-pointers in a row, and had six so far in the game. They were making wide-open threes, off-balanced threes, and nearly-blocked threes.

This was the same team that beat Missouri 73-70 on Jan. 30, the same team that Oriakhi scored only one point against, the same team that the Tigers shot only 37.7 percent against. 

Missouri coach Frank Haith called a timeout.

Believe in yourself, believe in your team.

The halftime buzzer sounded, and the score was now 43-39 Missouri.

Laurence Bowers, Earnest Ross and Keion Bell helped Missouri get back into the game, driving hard to the basket and coming up with positive results.

Seconds later, the team trotted toward the tunnel.

Despite a four-point lead, Missouri had still given up eight 3-pointers, and allowed LSU guard Anthony Hickey to score 17 points.

Haith walked in behind the players with a blank expression on his face, and quickly disappeared in to the locker room.

It had been over a month since his team won both of its games in a week. Missouri beat South Carolina on the road 90-68 on Thursday, so a win tonight could break the streak.

After a 15-minute talk, the players reappeared in the tunnel, and huddled.

Believe in yourself, believe in your team.

Pressey made the perfect fast-break pass to Bowers, who got fouled on his successful layup. 

And-one.

The crowd was going crazy. Fans high-fived and smiled, while the LSU fan with the purple and gold striped shirt sat with his arms crossed.

Bowers made the free throw, pushing the Missouri lead to 76-60, and six minutes later, the final buzzer sounded and Missouri had won 89-76.

As he walked in to the tunnel, Pressey was all smiles. Oriakhi snuck up behind and quickly threw his arm around him, playfully rubbing the point guard’s head.

They laughed and huddled together, walking back toward the locker room. 

Missouri dominated in the paint against LSU, a huge change from the last time the two met. Oriakhi (18 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks) and Bowers (23 points, 10 rebounds) both finished with double doubles, while the Missouri guards constantly drove hard to the basket. Pressey paired 15 points with eight assists, Ross added 13 points, and Bell had 11.

Missouri shot 58.1 percent and outrebounded LSU 35-30. The win puts Missouri at 21-8 on the season and 10-6 in Southeastern Conference play, as they prepare to welcome back former coach Mike Anderson when they face Arkansas at home on Tuesday.


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