Maybe Missouri should stay on the floor at halftime instead of going into the locker room.
It seems the team that walks off the court at the break isn’t the same team that returns to finish the game.
Despite struggling for most of the second half, Missouri staged a late comeback on the strength of Thomas Gardner’s 3-point shooting, but fell to UNLV 74-71 on Wednesday at the Thomas and Mack Center.
The loss was Missouri’s fifth straight and eighth in its past nine games. The Tigers (10-13, 2-7 Big 12 Conference) have never lost five straight during coach Quin Snyder’s tenure.
The Tigers are 3-1 all-time against UNLV (10-11, 2-6 Mountain West Conference) but it was the first time Missouri had traveled to Las Vegas since 1993. The game completes a four-game road trip. Last season, five Missouri players reached double digits as the Tigers routed UNLV 94-60.
The Tigers didn’t play well in the first half but were even worse in the second takhasty shots and faltering on defense. Still, Missouri came back and tied the score at 67 with just less than two minutes to play. The Tigers couldn’t hold on. The Running Rebels hit eight of their last nine free throws and shot 50 percent in the game.
Missouri jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, bolstered by a couple 3-point shots. UNLV missed often on quick outside shots, shooting 14 percent for the first five minutes.
The Rebels brought themselves back into the game and took the lead by capitalizing on Missouri misses. Each time the Tigers missed no one was in a good position for a rebound and UNLV would score on the ensuing possession.
Later in the first half, Missouri calmed down and start running its offense. The steady offensive play allowed the Tigers to buckle down on defense and they amassed a 37-32 halftime lead. Heading into Las Vegas the Tigers were 9-2 when leading at half time.