Ridley’s free throws save game

Free throws almost cost the Columbia College women’s basketball team a victory Saturday, but Charliss Ridley hit the two that mattered most.

In their 62-60 win against John Brown at the Arena at Southwell Complex, the Cougars shot only 52 percent from the line.

Cougars snap skid in dominating fashion

The possibility of a season-worst four-game losing streak was never more than an afterthought Saturday for the Columbia College men’s basketball team.

The Cougars dominated from the start, defeating Concordia Seminary 111-54 at the Arena of Southwell Complex, snapping a three-game losing streak. The win provided a much-needed confidence boost to a team that has found wins increasingly hard to come by this season.

Rolling onto the court

With their chairs on the line, Garrett French and Steve Hathaway await the sound of the whistle. “Let’s go, let’s go!” coach Steve Paxton says as the MU wheelchair basketball players propel their chairs through routines on the Student Recreation Center court.

As they approach the last turn, determination to beat their best times is etched on their faces. French is “in the zone” and before he can stop, he slams into a wooden wall, moving the partition several inches.

Freshmen play key role in victory

Kalen Grimes’ definition of a freshmen is a little different than most.

“We just got a big blast off the bench because we were four fresh freshmen,” Grimes said. “We were fresh. Our legs felt good, and I think that’s what took us up.”

Kleiza sheds slump for career-high night

Against Montana, Missouri forward Linas Kleiza had more points than minutes and was almost unstoppable in what turned out to be a career day.

In the Tigers’ 87-62 victory Saturday, Kleiza, a 6-foot-9 native of Lithuania, scored 26 points in 24 minutes to better his previous career high of 25.

Searching for answers

As Missouri's shooting percentage plummets, Coach Quin Snyder says he is changing how the Tigers practice. After reviewing the tape of the Tigers 65-52 loss to Arkansas on Tuesday, he saw the Tigers did not make use of 34 open shots and when they did, had a dismal record of 17-57. “Our guys got to get into the gym and shoot more on their own,” Snyder said.

Konrady’s final push anchors Bruins

Rock Bridge's Jake Konrady surprised even himself in a crucial match for the school's first dual meet victory this wrestling season. With only 6.7 seconds left in his match, Konrady took down Mexico's Kiefer Lowrance to tie the match, then flipped Lowrance onto his back for two more points. The win increased the Bruins' lead against Mexico. “Jake pretty much clinched it for us there,” coach John Kopnisky said. “At that point, we pretty much knew we had a good chance in beating them.”

Mannings leaves Tigers for personal reasons

Personal and professional reasons are causing the University to lose a coach and athlete. The Missouri women's basketball team will be losing freshman Brittany Mannings, a 6-4 center. The team announced the decision Wednesday, citing family concerns. In Missouri swimming and diving, coach Greg Triefenback will be leaving at the close of the semester to take a job at a private diving club in Midland, Texas.

Finishing touches

Although the NAIA No. 19 Columbia Cougars were outscored by Park in the early part of both halves, strong defense and steals for the Cougars kept the team pumped up and in the game. Forward Charliss Ridley was the offensive star Thursday night, earning 15 points in the first half with her quick moves to the basket. “Charliss is a special player,” Columbia College coach Mike Davis said. “She has the ability to take a player off the dribble like that.”

Missouri on the defensive

Against Arkansas, Missouri seemed to finally buy into coach Quin Snyder’s desire to make defense the backbone of this young Tiger team.

Great defense, though, didn’t get the job done as the Razorbacks claimed a 62-52 victory Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena. The loss was another example of a game that could have gone the Tigers’ way. Snyder said there are many changes the Tigers need to make if they want to start winning.

Taking care of business

The Missouri wrestling team traveled to Las Vegas last weekend, but the bright lights of The Strip couldn’t have been further from Ben Askren’s mind.

Askren relied on hard work and solid technique rather than flash to capture the 174-pound championship at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

MU fails SMSU’s offensive test

Final exams might be a nice change of pace for Missouri women’s basketball team.

Few exam situations could be tougher than the ruthless offense Southwest Missouri State used Wednesday night.

Extra Points: Morris returning to Cardinals next season

Matt Morris will return to the St. Louis Cardinals, agreeing Tuesday night to a $2.5 million, one-year contract that allows him to earn an additional $4.5 million in performance bonuses.

The NL champions also re-signed two other players, reaching one-year deals with right-handed reliever Cal Eldred ($600,000) and outfielder John Mabry ($725,000).

Shooting woes sink Tigers

Missouri tried its best to disguise a poor shooting night.

It almost worked.

Despite struggling from the field and from the line, the Tigers put themselves in position to pull out a victory. But Arkansas removed the veil and snatched a 62-52 win Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.

Tigers turn up defense

All season, Missouri coach Quin Snyder has been preaching the virtues of defense to his young Tiger team.

“I’ve been taking people out of the game when they aren’t guarding,” Snyder said. “I can’t get them out quick enough when they’re not playing defense.”

Bears hit stride without Koch

Taking a cue from Southwest Missouri State, the Missouri women’s basketball team must continue to come together.

Playing without its leading scorer, Kari Koch, has not been easy for the Bears. Still, SMS coach Kate Abrahamson-Henderson’s team is looking for its fourth straight win. “Playing together,” she said, is the key to a team’s success. “Absolutely, that is the number one thing, playing together.”

Scrappy Kewpies lose in 1st round

The Hickman girls’ basketball team lost to Blue Valley (Kan.) North 51-35 in the opening round of the Blue Springs/Blue Springs South McDonald’s Tournament. The Kewpies trailed 20-15 at halftime, but Blue Valley North pulled away in the second half. Lauren Nolke led the Kewpies (2-5) with 10 points.

MU quells Arkansas’ fast start

Arkansas started quickly in its first game at Mizzou Arena.

The Razorbacks jumped to a 6-0 lead. After scoring their first basket of the game, the Razorbacks used a full-court press to get two straight turnovers and converted both.

Sluggish start dooms Cougars

If the Columbia College men’s basketball team could somehow bypass the first five minutes of each game, things might be looking much brighter.

Instead, it was business as usual Tuesday, as Belleview University used an early run to deflate the Cougars en route to a 70-60 win at the Arena of Southwell Complex.

Growing into leader’s role

It might be hard to picture wrestling as beautiful, but that is what Rock Bridge senior Cam Purcell calls it.

Purcell, the Bruins’ lone returning state qualifier this season, said the sportsmanship in wrestling makes it beautiful, not the grappling between two sweat-soaked athletes.