NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Despite being 400 miles away from Columbia, the Missouri men's basketball team looked right at home.
The Tigers shot well, played strong defense and even wore its white and gold home jerseys in Thursday night's 62-50 win over Texas A&M in Missouri's first game in the Southeastern Conference tournament at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
SEC tournament quarterfinals
vs. Missouri (23-9)
WHEN: 9 p.m.
WHERE: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
TV: KMIZ/Channel 17
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 & 103.1 FM
Missouri constantly found holes in Texas A&M's interior with Tigers forward Alex Oriakhi making multiple dunks, clapping in his opponent's face after one them in the first half.
After Missouri point guard Phil Pressey found Oriakhi for another wide-open dunk in the second half, a calmer Oriakhi simply smiled at one of his teammates.
Oriakhi led Missouri with 13 points and 10 rebounds, good enough for his 11th double-double of the season, and the Tigers outrebounded Texas A&M 40-26.
The Aggies's offense struggled and did not shoot well, making only 6-of-26 shots in the first half and 14-of-58 in the game. Texas A&M had trouble making 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers and even layups.
The Tigers, on the other hand, made 21-of-45 of their shots. Missouri forward Laurence Bowers and guard Jabari Brown both had 10 points. Pressey had two points and five assists.
When the Tigers and the Aggies last met on Feb. 7 in College Station, Texas, the Aggies won 70-68. Texas A&M guard Fabyon Harris led his team with 17 points in that game, while Aggies guard Elston Turner had 15.
Harris had 15 points Thursday night, but Missouri contained Turner all night, limiting him to seven points.
Missouri advances to the tournament quarterfinals where they will play Ole Miss at 9 p.m. Friday.
The Tigers split two games with the Rebels during the season, losing 64-49 in Oxford, Miss., on Jan. 12 before defending their home court with a 98-79 win on Feb. 9.
The winner of Friday's game will face the winner of the game between Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the tournament semifinals on Saturday.