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.