Tigers Bounce Back with Win
One week after Missouri was crushed by No. 6 Illinois, the Tigers bounced back Wednesday night to beat Eastern Illinois 68-56.
"A win is a win, but it would definitely be nice to beat a team by 20 or 30," McKinney said. "Somehow they just kept getting it down, and I was mad, too, because I wanted to beat them by more than 20 just to get that confidence and that spirit back."
The Tigers (5-4) were led by Thomas Gardner, who scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. Marshall Brown had 19 points and 11 rebounds, his first career double-double, and McKinney added 11 points for Missouri. The win is Missouri's fifth straight at home and its first victory since last week's 32-point loss to Illinois in the neutral court "Braggin' Rights" game.
"Coming off the Illinois loss we definitely wanted to come out and play well and set the tone for how we wanted to play for the rest of the season," Brown said.
Missouri coach Quin Snyder said Brown's play sparked the Tigers.
"I was really happy to see Marshall play as aggressively as he did on the glass," Snyder said. "I thought that was a big lift for us, and that's the one reason he scored, too. We've got to have better play from him. It's good to see him kind of breaking through a little bit since he hasn't played as well as of late."
Missouri led by as many as 13 points in the second half before the Panthers went on a 8-0 run to trim the lead to 48-43 with 7:47 left in the game. But that's as close as Eastern Illinois would get as Missouri responded with a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach.
"That was the difference; the game turned right there," Eastern Illinois coach Mike Miller said. "We didn't take care of the ball very well, we weren't getting, if any, good looks and they were. They were making shots, they were getting put-backs and they got to the foul line."
Missouri was 23-for-32 from the free throw line, including 10-for-10 for Gardner, who leads the Big 12 with a 20-point scoring average.
"The shots weren't going for us, so we made it a habit of getting to the basket and we got into the penalty early in the second half," Gardner said.
Mike Robinson led the Panthers (1-8) with 13 points, and Josh Gromes and George Tandy each had 11. Missouri started slowly and trailed by as many as five early in the first half, but a pair of 8-0 runs helped the Tigers build a 29-22 halftime advantage. Missouri starting point guard Jason Horton did not play.
"We've got certain standards in practice and in games and we'll play the guy that meets those standards consistently," Snyder said.
Marcus Watkins replaced Horton in the starting lineup, and McKinney took over point guard duties.
When Horton was asked why he didn't play, he said, "I don't know, you've got to ask Coach Q. I'm not the coach. I don't run the program. This ain't my program."
Missouri is a perfect 26-0 against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference. The Tigers play two more nonconference games at home before the Big 12 season begins.
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