Mixed Emotions As Mizzou Men Lose, Women Win Over The Weekend

Ryan
163 days ago.
The Missouri Tigers and Florida Gators tip off in a men's basketball game on January 6, 2018 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.

Missouri Men Lose To Florida In Gut-Wrenching Fashion, While Women Upset Defending National Champ South Carolina

Mizzou Arena, home of the Missouri Tigers men's and women's basketball teams, as seen on an off-day before the season.
Mizzou Arena, home of the Missouri Tigers men’s and women’s basketball teams, as seen on an off-day before the season.

It was a big weekend of basketball at Mizzou Arena in Columbia this weekend. The University of Missouri men’s basketball team played Southeastern Conference (SEC) foe Florida in its conference home opener while the women’s basketball team welcomed defending National Champion South Carolina.

Saying it was a mixed bag of emotions for Mizzou fans would probably be an understatement.

Cuonzo Martin’s men’s team lost to Florida 77-75 on a controversial finish and Robin Pingeton’s women’s team knocked off #4 South Carolina 86-74.  The officiating crew became an issue in both games.

Cuonzo Martin Left Frustrated With Officials Saturday Afternoon After Mizzou Loss

On Saturday afternoon, Missouri and Florida were tied 75-75 with roughly 12 seconds to go in the game. Missouri’s Jordan Geist had the ball for the Tigers at halfcourt with time winding down when this happened.

Florida’s Chris Chiozza tipped a Geist pass intended for Kassius Robertson and raced down the court for the game-winning layup. The clock read 0.1 seconds as the ball dropped through the net.

The moment Chiozza tipped the pass the Mizzou Arena crowd went silent. Moments before, the majority of the crowd had been on its feet. The air was filled with the crowd voicing its displeasure with the officiating crew’s performance during the game.

Mizzou had led the Gators for much of the second half, including a 75-70 lead with 1:32 to go in the game.

With 21 seconds left and Missouri leading 75-73, Kassius Robertson was called for this foul on a Gator three-point attempt.

Jalen Hudson made two of three free throws to tie the game and set up the final play.

Missouri was forced to play with final 5 minutes without ones of its tallest players in Jeremiah Tilmon, who fouled out with 5:35 to play.

Tilmon’s fifth foul was another controversial call. The 6’10” freshman from East St. Louis played just 8 minutes due to foul trouble.

Jontay Porter, a 6’11” freshman for Cuonzo Martin, picked up his fourth foul less than ten minutes into the second half on a missed Florida dunk attempt. Replays showed Porter didn’t make contact with the Florida player, leading to an uprising from the home crowd.

Local product Jordan Barnett (Christian Brothers High) led all scorers with 28 points. The junior forward was 6-of-9 from behind the three-point line and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

Jontay Porter had an interesting stat line of 9 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a steal on the day.  The freshman, who reclassified to play at Missouri this season and just turned 18 in November, leads the team in rebounds, steals and blocks.  The Tigers have amassed 77 blocks on the season. Jontay is credited with 44% (34) of those.

Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin stopped short of directly criticizing the referees in his postgame comments. The coach was visibly frustrated with the officials (Don Daily, Olandis Poole and Garrick Shannon)  during the game, he could be seen on the sidelines talking with one of them after many of the calls against his players. Martin also talked about how he feels many of the fouls called this season against Jeremiah Tilmon (52 in 15 games) have been suspect.

Watch Martin’s comments below in this video from Gabe DeArmond at PowerMizzou.

Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin postgame comments after loss to Florida

 

Missouri is back in action Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena as the Georgia Bulldogs come to town. The Tigers will look to move to 2-1 in SEC play, Jeremiah Tilmon will look to stay out of foul trouble and Jordan Barnett will look to continue his strong play.

Sophie Cunningham Puts On A Show To Upset # 4 South Carolina As Dawn Staley Gets The Boot

The Missouri women’s basketball team was on-hand at Mizzou Arena on Saturday afternoon to cheer on the men’s team.

On Sunday afternoon,  Sophie Cunningham put on a show in front of Cuonzo Martin and several members of the men’s team to help Mizzou upset defending National Champion South Carolina.

While the #4 ranked Gamecocks got the last laugh last season when they beat Mississippi State in the National Championship last season, Dawn Staley’s team was looking to avenge the loss from last February in Columbia. Last season, South Carolina brought a #6 national ranking into Columbia West and saw Sophie Cunningham score with 0.6 remaining to give Missouri a 62-60 win. 

While this year’s Missouri team looked a little different — Lindsay Cunningham on the bench as a graduate assistant and Sierra Michealis in the stands sporting an Antler shirt — Sophie Cunningham was still the main thorn in South Carolina’s side.

Cunningham put up 26 points in last season’s win while going 10-16 from the floor and 5-6 from the line. Her performance seemingly left little room for improvement.

But as Benjamin Hochman wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning, “Mizzou’s Golden Girl” managed to grow her own legend.

Cunningham missed Thursday’s game against LSU after suffering a scary sprained knee against Alabama on New Year’s Eve. Mizzou lost 69-65, ending a 13-game winning streak.

Sophie was ready to play this weekend, even if she had to wear a bulky leg brace while doing it. The junior scored 27 points while shooting 9-10 from the floor and 9-11 from the charity stripe.

Sophomore Amber Smith followed up her career-best 27 points against LSU with a 20-point performance against South Carolina.

Sunday’s women’s game was similar to Saturday’s men’s game in that the quality of the officiating was again called into question.

South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson is the two-time SEC Player of the Year and was a finalist for several National Player of the Year awards last season.

The senior spent just 19 minutes on Norm Stewart Court, scoring 8 points before fouling out with 2:56 remaining.

Wilson’s fifth foul led to South Carolina being called for a technical foul and Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley being ejected from the game.

It was the first time Wilson had fouled out this season and just the fourth time she’s done so in her career. Staley delayed making a substitution for Wilson in protest, leading to the technical foul.

Dawn Staley voiced her displeasure with the officials and Missouri’s play after the game.

“Dirty” Missouri Plays At South Carolina Later This Month

To say South Carolina’s coach and fans were heated after the game would also be an understatement.

The State, South Carolina’s most honored newspaper, ran a story giving two examples of Robin Pingeton’s team “playing dirty.”

The first example given was a play in which Cierra Porter, older sister of Jontay Porter and Michael Porter Jr., appeared to bump into Wilson while setting up to defend a play. Wilson would leave the game for a short time.

Calling that a “headbutt” is obviously a bit of a stretch. No foul was called on the play as the officials ruled it to be incidental contact.

The second example featured Cunningham, who drew the majority of the fans’ wrath.

A foul was called on Cunningham on the play, which came with 15 seconds left in the first quarter and was her second of the game. She picked up her 4th foul of the day less than three minutes into the fourth quarter and played the last 7:10 of the game a foul away from a permanent spot on the bench.

There’s no shortage of bad blood between these two teams. To add to the recent on-the-court results, the Missouri roster features former Alabama Player of the Year Haley Troup. The freshman committed to South Carolina and practiced over the summer with the team before electing  to transfer to Missouri. She is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Sophie Cunningham and the Missouri Tigers travel to Columbia, South Carolina on January 28 for a rematch of Sunday’s contest.

It’s safe to say that South Carolina fans will be ready.

Safe to say that Sophie Cunningham and her Mizzou teammates will be ready as well.

 

The Tigers have work to do before the rematch with the Gamecocks. The team will travel to Nashville this Thursday to take on Vanderbilt and to Oxford, Mississippi on January 18 to face Ole Miss. Sophie Cunningham and company return to Mizzou Arena to face Arkansas on January 21.

The latest AP Women’s Basketball Poll, released earlier today, has Missouri up three spots to #12 while South Carolina down from #4 to #9.

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Ryan

Ryan is a weird dude. He doesn't cook, yet owns a plethora of kitchen gadgets. He rationalized buying a SodaStream while unemployed. He counts Step Up 2: The Streets as one of his favorite movies along with Footloose, Rent, Grease and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. He loves Mizzou but only wants them in the SEC so he can tailgate in Nashville. He owns a ShakeWeight and AbLounger, but still loves him some John Donut and Billie's Fine Foods. You can get more of Ryan at iLoveSoulard.com or just check the stool on the far end of the bar at iTap in Soulard.

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