Posted: Mar 3, 2013 7:59 PM by Nick Thompson
Updated: Mar 4, 2013 12:07 AM
COLUMBIA - At the final buzzer, it appeared the Missouri Tigers had once again taken advantage of home--where in this one, they beat a team they lost to in Baton Rouge just a month ago.
In the first half, the Tigers found themselves in an unfamiliar spot, trailing Anthony Hickey and LSU by thirteen points.
The Tigers needed a Senior leader to let loose and record his best scoring performance in SEC play to get back into the game.
"Well I just got lost in the game," Laurence Bowers said. "Coach sent me a text this morning that just said play free. And that's what I did and it really helped me and I just got to continue to keep that approach throughout the rest of the season."
Another Tiger wanted revenge after the road loss to LSU, and he joked about the opportunity the team had this time to pound the ball down low to Bowers.
"I knew the guy who was on him couldn't guard him," Alex Oriahki said. "I just told him go to work and he was able to do that.I mean that's what I think man. 'Elbow's' a good player man, not a lot of people can guard him."
LSU could'nt contain Bowers and they also couldn't contain Oriahki when the pair got going. Bowers had 23 points, Oriahki had 18, and both big men ripped 10 rebounds.
This tandem has come together at just the right time for the team's guards who look inside for them to produce.
"Alex emerged as a player when 'Elbow' was out. And you saw him become more of a factor in our offense" Coach Frank Haith said. "Now Elbow had to find his niche and get it to where both of those guys are playing at a high level. So that takes time. So I think we saw today the frontline that we can have when both those guys are being productive."
Tiger fans know about Bowers, or "Elbow's," career and accomplishments, but Haith gives similar praise to the newcomer Oriahki, who he calls a jovial, jolly green giant who has come a long way.
"You go back to his interviews earlier in the year and he says I don't really think I'm a good offensive player, some of the things he said," Haith said. "The biggest thing with Alex is we just want him to be a confident young man and I think we've seen him establish himself to have a terrific year."
So, a jolly green giant and an elbow--look for them to take it up strong down low in the tough tests ahead.