You wouldn’t think third place in the Battle 4 Atlantis would be such a big deal. But both Mizzou and VCU came indoors out of the sunshine to play a hard-fought contest as the undercard to the Louisville/Duke title game.
Both teams traded buckets down the stretch, but it was Phil Pressey’s timely step-through between two Ram defenders that provided the winning margin. Pressey’s basket came with 14.6 seconds left on the clock, putting the Tigers up by three, but Troy Daniels’ attempt to tie the game fell short. The Tigers claimed a 68-65 win as time expired.
It was a meaningful neutral-court game for two programs preparing to test the waters of new conferences. VCU is a new member of the Atlantic 10 this season, and Missouri is already a favorite to make waves as newbies in the SEC.
Pressey’s heroics in the final minute put him into double figures for the night. He ended with 11 points, 8 assists and 5 turnovers against VCU’s pressing defense. Pressey’s busy night as a distributor paid dividends for his teammates as well. Earnest Ross (11 points) and Negus Webster-Chan (12 points) helped Missouri keep pace with VCU, going a combined 5-11 from behind the arc. Laurence Bowers led all scorers with 14 points, and chipped in a game-high 11 boards as well.
VCU got 12 points apiece from Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic, but fell to 3-3 on the season. Mizzou is now 5-1, with a relatively easy stretch of four games against lesser oponents before the Braggin’ Rights game against Illinois on December 22, followed by a Dec. 28th trip to No. 11 UCLA.
This had to be disappointing for VCU players and coaches. Even though they’ve moved to a competitive, multi-bid league, early season wins against power-conference opponents are crucial to their chances of nabbing a post-season Big Dance invite. A December game against Alabama and former Rams coach Anthony Grant will be the last BCS test before A-10 play begins.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
N.C. State, whose season has been something of a disaster to date, face a must-win game against Wake Forest in Raleigh on Saturday afternoon, and since nothing can be easy for Mark Gottfried’s club, they’ll have to find a way to win the game after their bus broke down en route to PNC Arena:
This is why you can’t have nice things, N.C. State.
The Atlantic 10 invades NBCSN and the NBC Sports app on Saturday with two games that will air as part of a doubleheader.
It starts with Fordham at UMass at 12:30 p.m. and concludes with Rhode Island heading to Duquesne at 2:30 p.m.
CLICK HERE to watch the Atlantic 10 on NBCSN
During North Carolina’s blowout win over N.C. State on Jan. 8, the Tar Heels weren’t the only ones in the building who were feeling it.
As it turns out, North Carolina ball boy Asher Lucas was the hottest shooter of anyone in the building that night.
During halftime of that Jan. 8 game, Lucas nailed three consecutive halfcourt shots, as his father, Adam Lucas, a North Carolina columnist, released the video this week to YouTube. The video quickly went viral as Asher’s unreal streak of shots was all over TV and the Internet.
The Tar Heels have been struggling to find consistent perimeter shooting for the last few seasons, so maybe they need to start scouting Asher for a future roster spot.
Milwaukee picked up a Horizon League win on Friday night as guard Brock Stull knocked in a buzzer-beater to topple Cleveland State.
Stull only had four points on the night as he played 30 minutes and finished with five assists and six rebounds.
Oregon released a statement on Friday afternoon that said star forward Dillon Brooks had seen doctors and was in a walking boot, but gave no further update on his condition.
Brooks suffered what the program termed a “lower leg injury” on Thursday night against Cal. The injury was to his left leg – on replay, it looked like he rolled his ankle – which is concerning because his left foot is the foot that he injured over the summer, which caused him to miss the first three games of the season.
“He’ll be evaluated in the next couple of days and see where he’s at,” head coach Dana Altman said after Thursday’s game.