Phil Pressey, J'Mychal Reese

No. 21 Missouri’s road struggles continue in loss at Texas A&M

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No. 21 Missouri returned to the polls on Monday, but because of their continued problems on the road the Tigers stand a good chance of falling out of the Top 25 next week.

A Fabyon Harris three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining gave Texas A&M the 70-68 victory in College Station, dropping Missouri to 0-5 in true road games. Harris sprung open on the right elbow when Missouri paid too much attention to leading scorer Elston Turner, and after misses from Phil Pressey and Keion Bell the Aggies had their first win over a ranked opponent this season.

Missouri didn’t lead the game until Laurence Bowers hit a three-pointer with 53 seconds remaining, as they struggled for much of the night to establish any kind of continuity on the offensive end.

Four starters reached double figures with Alex Oriakhi’s 15 points leading the way, but Phil Pressey racked up seven turnovers and as a team the Tigers finished with 16 (Texas A&M scored 22 points off of turnovers).

In Missouri’s four SEC road games Pressey has accounted for 20 assists and 25 turnovers, a far cry from his assist-to-turnover ratio for the season before Thursday’s contest (2.0). And with Pressey being the lone Tiger capable of consistently getting his teammates quality looks, Missouri needs him to be better at the point of attack if the team is to be successful on the road.

But the turnover issue shouldn’t rest solely on the shoulders of Pressey, even if he’s the point guard. Tigers other than Pressey have accumulated 14 assists and 39 turnovers in four SEC road games, and there have been occasional bouts with bad shot selection as well.

Missouri has talented pieces but for whatever reason the Tigers have yet to become a cohesive unit, and the quest to improve begins with a home game against Ole Miss on Saturday. With four of their next six games on the road, the Tigers don’t have much time to remedy their issues away from Columbia.

Whether or not the Tigers turn things around on the road will ultimately determine how successful they are this season. Entering SEC play another NCAA tournament appearance looked to be a lock for Missouri, something that can’t be said at present time.

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

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?