COLUMBIA — Nearly three weeks after its last home game, the 25th-ranked Missouri men’s basketball team will return to the friendly confines of Mizzou Arena on Saturday afternoon when the Tigers close the nonconference portion of this season’s schedule against Long Beach State (4-9).
Friendly confines they’ve been, of late.
Who: Long Beach State 49ers (4-9)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mizzou Arena
Listen: Tiger Radio Network
With 25 consecutive home wins, Missouri owns the nation’s longest home winning streak. That streak is the fourth longest in school history. The Tigers are 40-1 at Mizzou Arena since coach Frank Haith was hired.
A win Saturday would give Missouri its eighth consecutive perfect record at Mizzou Arena during nonconference play. The Tigers have recorded 80 consecutive wins at home versus nonconference opponents, a streak that dates to the end of the 2005-06 season.
Long Beach State is 4-9, but the 49ers have won three consecutive games. That streak coincides with the addition of guard Tyler Lamb, the team’s leading scorer. A transfer from UCLA, Lamb is averaging 22 points per game on 36 percent shooting this season.
The 49ers share two common opponents with the Tigers: Nevada and North Carolina State. Missouri defeated Nevada by 13 and North Carolina State by 4. Long Beach State, minus Lamb, lost to North Carolina State by 10 but beat Nevada by 3 with Lamb.
Jordan Clarkson won his third Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honor on Monday. Clarkson is the SEC’s first three-time award winner this season and recorded his eighth 20-point scoring game of the season versus North Carolina State.
Missouri has clamped down defensively over its last five games. The Tigers faced two of the nation’s top scoring teams, West Virginia (85.1 points per game) and UCLA (90.6 points per game), but held the two clubs a combined 35 points below their season averages. The Tigers also held Western Michigan 10.6 points below its season scoring average, Illinois 6.5 points below its average and North Carolina State 13 points below its average.
Missouri is led in scoring by the junior tandem of Jabari Brown (18.1 points per game) and Clarkson (20 points per game). The duo is combining for 38.1 points per game, tops in the Southeastern Conference (tied with the Auburn duo of KT Harrell and Chris Denson).
The pair is one of four teammate tandems in high-major college basketball averaging 18-plus points per game.
Clarkson’s 20 points per game is tops in the SEC.