KANSAS CITY — Sickness and foul trouble cost the Missouri Tigers two of their better players on Tuesday night against the Maryland Terrapins.
But not the game.
MU defeated Maryland 84-70 in the consolation game of the O’Reilly Auto Parts College Basketball Experience Classic at the Sprint Center.
The Tigers won despite forward DeMarre Carroll only playing five minutes in the second half because he picked up his fourth foul with 16:27 left in the game. Carroll went on to foul out with 2:18 remaining.
While Carroll was unable to play because of foul trouble, guard Stefhon Hannah did his best to play through an illness.
“I had no idea Stefhon Hannah was going to play today,” coach Mike Anderson said. “He was very, very sick.”
While everything seemed fine for Hannah in the first half, the Tigers’ point guard did not come out of the locker room until five minutes had expired off the second-half clock because of what Anderson described as digestive problems.
Because of his illness, Hannah was not in his typical attack mode. He didn’t score in the second half until he hit a jumper with 2:27 remaining in the game. But he was able to knock down all six of his free-throw attempts in the final two minutes to help ice the victory for the Tigers.
Anderson said that Hannah’s sickness might have helped MU a little bit.
“Maybe he needs to get sick a lot because it slows him down and he actually runs the show like I want him to,” Anderson said.
With its two leading scorers either not playing or not playing at full strength, MU needed somebody to up his performance. Forward Leo Lyons was able to fill the void by putting together a career night.
Lyons led the Tigers with 23 points and 11 rebounds, both of which were career highs. That combination also meant Lyons’ first double-double of his college career.
“I saw we were being a little passive and playing it a little safe,” Lyons said of what he saw when Carroll went to the bench. “So I knew I had to go out there and attack and get some more points in the paint.”
The big game for Lyons came after a disappointing game against Michigan State on Monday. He scored eight points but played just 12 minutes. He sat out most of the second half in what Anderson called a challenge to the forward.
“I challenged him in a pretty strong way,” Anderson said. “I just didn’t think last night that he brought the things he can give our basketball team.”
Lyons viewed the challenge in a positive way.
“The good thing about coach is that he is never satisfied with anything you do, he always thinks you can do better,” Lyons said. “By him challenging me, it just makes me go out there and play harder.”
The win brought Missouri to 4-1 on the season while Maryland fell to 3-2. MU gets a short break for Thanksgiving; the team does not play its next game until Sunday against Western Illinois.