Tigers barely hold off Bucknell

Tigers barely hold off Bucknell

Credit: AP

Missouri's Phil Pressey, center, celebrates after he scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won the game 84-73. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

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by Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on January 5, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 5 at 8:03 PM

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Phil Pressey scored a career-high 26 points and Laurence Bowers added 16 to help No. 12 Missouri get by Bucknell 66-64 on Saturday.

Pressey missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 10.3 seconds remaining, setting off a frenzied final few seconds. Bucknell's Mike Muscala stepped on the baseline with 4.1 seconds left after catching a pass from Ryan Hill.

Earnest Ross made two free throws for the Tigers (11-2), but a foul by Jabari Brown put Muscala on the line for a final attempt to tie the game. After making the first free throw, Missouri's Stefan Jankovic grabbed the rebound on the second to end the game.

Muscala led the Bison (13-3) with 25 points and 14 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. Cameron Ayers added 13 points and Bryson Johnson scored 11.

Pressey made a career-high 10 field goals, and his seven consecutive points down the stretch helped the Tigers (11-2) narrowly complete their seventh consecutive season without a loss to a nonconference opponent at home.

The back-and-forth action of the second half contrasted with the first half of the game when both teams failed to shoot 40 percent and looked confused on the court. Bucknell recorded 20 assists Wednesday at Cornell, while Missouri had 21 in its last game at UCLA, including a school-record 19 by Pressey.

In the first half, Missouri's guards combined for six turnovers and no assists. The Tigers were able to keep the halftime deficit to 28-24 thanks to outrebounding Bucknell 24-18. But for the first time this season, Missouri, the top rebounding team in the country, was outrebounded 39-38.

The Bison lost its 10th consecutive game against a ranked opponent, falling to 3-26 all-time against the Top 25.

Bowers has scored in double figures for eight straight games, a personal best, leaving Louisville as the only game this season in which he failed to do so. During that stretch, he has shot 57.1 percent from the field (64 of 112).

Bowers scored the first six points of the game for Missouri, as Muscala did for the Bison. The crowd had little else to stand up for, though, cheering its loudest after Ross was fouled underneath the basket after Alex Oriakhi saved a loose ball for an offensive rebound with 4:30 left in the first half.

Fittingly, Ross missed both free throws.

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