Posted: Aug 18, 2012 9:52 AM
COLUMBIA -- Missouri Basketball turned up the heat in the fourth quarter outscoring Cergy 30-11 over the final 10 minutes to earn an 81-61 victory in the final game of its 2012 European Tour in Cergy, France.
Mizzou led by just one (51-50) entering the fourth period and actually trailed, 53-51, early in the quarter before unleashing a 21-0 run over the next 5:43. The Tigers shot 58 percent from the floor in the fourth and limited Cergy to just four field goals to fuel the huge rally. Ryan Rosburg was key for Mizzou, starting the run with six consecutive points and Keion Bell scored 10 of his game high 15 in the period to be the difference-maker.
Bell used his athleticism to attack the rim at will and Missouri out-muscled a good-sized Cergy team to score 20 of those 30 points in the paint.
"We found ourselves in some foul trouble and guys like Keion and Ryan really took over in the fourth quarter when the game was still in doubt," Head Coach Frank Haith said. "They got that lead and there was a lot of emotion on the floor, but our guys stayed calm and really took control of the game with good ball movement and a great attacking mentality."
After losing the lead Missouri's next 10 field goals were layups and the Tigers applied improved defensive pressure and dominated the defensive glass to earn transition opportunities.
"We relied too much on our perimeter jumper and went away from our strength, which is attacking the rim," Haith said. "I had a feeling our perimeter game might struggle tonight because the rims were off center and probably lower than 10 feet at one end, but once our guys started attacking the glass and we got some fouls called, they had to take their hands off us and it was a completely different game."
Bell produced a number of highlights, including a pair of incredible dunks over the opposition. One was called off due to an off-the-ball violation, but his athleticism set the tone for a dominating final period.
"Keion can do that and he's played very well over the last two games," Haith said. "He had seven boards and seven assists too, so not only was he scoring, but he was attacking the glass and used his dribble to set up his teammates."
Five Missouri players were in double figures and both Alex Oriakhi and Earnest Ross produced point-rebound double-doubles. Oriakhi scored nine of his 13 points in the opening period and both he and Ross combined for 22 rebounds (Cergy had 29 total) to control the rim. Ross finished with 13 points and 10 boards and both newcomers had five offensive caroms apiece.
Overall Missouri had 50 rebounds compared to Cergy's 29 and four different Tigers had at least six boards, including Rosburg who finished with six points, six boards a block and a steal in 14 minutes.
"Ryan is getting better and better every game," Haith said. "He was absolutely huge early in the fourth. Don't forget that he is playing against guys that are in their late 20s and early 30s and he changed the complexion of the game."
Missouri led by as many as 12 in the second quarter but were forced to go deep into the bench with early foul trouble once again. Adjusting to the officiating in a third country, the Tigers were whistled for 14 fouls in the opening half, many of which were called away from the basketball.
Oriakhi paced the squad with 11 points in the first half, including nine in the first quarter. Missouri used its size and athleticism to earn a 27-16 advantage on the glass, but was unable to sustain that early surge.
Ross hit three of five treys in the first half and grabbed six of his 10 boards. The rest of the team struggled from deep, going 0-of-6 from bonus distance.
Missouri will leave Paris early Saturday morning and is scheduled to arrive back in Columbia around 11 p.m.