Frank Haith

Laurence Bowers’ double-double helps push No. 13 Missouri past Stanford, 78-70

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The return of Laurence Bowers to the basketball court was highly anticipated among Missouri fans, especially when considering the fact that they Tigers had just one true interior player on last season’s Big 12 tournament champion squad.

That group fell to Norfolk State in the NCAA tournament, and it’s difficult to think that Bowers wouldn’t have had an impact alongside Ricardo Ratliffe in 2011-12.

Bowers is making up for lost time in his fifth season with averages of 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, and the Memphis native scored 19 points and grabbed ten rebounds in Missouri’s 78-70 win over Stanford in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.

Bowers scored 13 of his 19 in the second half and point guard Phil Pressey added 18 and eight assists, and four players reached double figures to help Missouri survive shooting 36.6% from the field.

Missouri was even worse from beyond the arc, where they made just four of their nineteen attempts, and Earnest Ross shot a frigid 3-of-19 from the field. It was obvious that the Tigers miss their two best shooters in Michael Dixon Jr. and Jabari Brown.

While Brown, who transferred in from Oregon, won’t be eligible until the end of the semester the suspended Dixon Jr. did make the trip to the Bahamas and there’s the thought that he may be able to play this weekend.

But even with the issues shooting the basketball the fact that Missouri grabbed 16 offensive rebounds (Ross grabbed seven) and won the battle on the boards is an encouraging sign.

Stanford’s Chasson Randle led all scorers with 22 points and Dwight Powell added 18 and ten rebounds, but the Cardinal’s perimeter shooting (6-of-26 3PT) did them no favors against the Tigers.

Missouri next plays the winner of No. 2 Louisville and Northern Iowa, and if the Cardinals win that would set up an interesting match-up between Missouri assistant Tim Fuller and his former boss (also, freshman Negus Webster-Chan was originally a Louisville commit).

While it is too early to make a definitive judgment on Missouri given the fact that they aren’t whole, there’s no denying what the return of Bowers means inside. Welcoming him back and adding newcomers Alex Oriakhi and Ryan Rossburg gives Frank Haith something he was in desperate need of last season: interior depth.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Tennessee G Hubbs undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery

Robert Hubbs III, Anton Beard
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee guard Robert Hubbs won’t practice this week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.

The school said in a news release that Hubbs had it done “to address chronic swelling issues that have been present since the preseason.”

No timetable has been set for when Hubbs could return to action, but he is considered doubtful for Tennessee’s next game on Dec. 12 at Butler. Tennessee (4-3) is in the midst of a 13-day break from games, which marks the program’s longest layoff during a season since December 1967.

Hubbs is averaging 15.3 points per game to rank third on the team. The 6-foot-4 junior has scored at least 13 points in each of Tennessee’s seven games.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.