Missouri v LSU

Missouri falls on the road to LSU in Laurence Bowers’ return

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Frank Haith and Missouri got good news early Wednesday afternoon, when Laurence Bowers, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, was ready return to action after missing the previous five games with a MCL sprain. He was suppose to help Mizzou get back on the right track, after Mizzou gone 3-2 without the 6-foot-7 forward on the floor.

Even with Bowers’ 10 points and six rebounds (four offensive), it wasn’t enough to cure Missouri’s offensive struggles.

No. 17 Missouri is now playing .500 ball over the last six games, falling 73-70 to LSU on the road Wednesday night. The offensive woes for Missouri got LSU off to a double-digit lead heading into halftime. as the home team led by as many as 16 in the first half. Mizzou shot 27 percent in the first half, 37 percent for the game. In three of Missouri’s last four games, the Tigers have shot in the 30’s.

Midway through the second half, LSU still held a 10-point lead. That’s when Mizzou made a run to get back in the game. During a seven minute stretch Missouri outscored LSU 13-6 to get withing three several times off baskets from Earnest Ross and Phil Pressey.

LSU would initially fight off Missouri comeback. But with under a minute to go, LSU gave Missouri it’s best chance to steal the win by missing free throw after free throw.

Shavon Coleman made one free throw to make it 73-70 and proceeded to miss his next four. Offense plagued Mizzou until the end, as the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity.

Pressey led Missouri (15-5, 4-3) with 25 points, five assists and four rebounds. Anthony Hickey, the nation’s steals leader, provided the defensive pressure, while also scoring 20 points to go along with four assists and two steals for LSU (11-7, 2-5)

Missouri tried to get back on track against Auburn at home on Saturday. The Tigers are now 0-3 on the road in SEC play with double-digit losses at both Ole Miss and Florida.

In those three road losses, Mizzou is shooting under 37 percent. Turnovers were a problem against Ole Miss and Florida, as the Tigers averaged 20 turnovers over those two games. Against LSU, Missouri only coughed it up eight times.

Mizzou will look to gets its first SEC road victory against Texas A&M next Thursday.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.