Four minutes. That's all it took for Missouri to take what was a nip-and-tuck game and turn it into an 83-76 victory over Georgia Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Bulldogs actually led 46-45 with 12:19 to play, but over the course of the next 4:09, the Big 12 Tigers outscored Dennis Felton's crew 25-10, enabling Missouri to cruise the rest of the way.
Turnovers certainly didn't help Georgia's cause.
Missouri scored 30 points off of 23 turnovers by the Bulldogs, who didn't do themselves any favors either by going 8-of-16 from the free throw line.
"It was a three minute span when we let the game get away from us. We strung together some turnovers, had a few defensive breakdowns at the same time and let them hit two 3-pointers," head coach Dennis Felton said. "We let them get a couple of extra shots but it's no doubt that in that stretch it started with the turnovers that got them feeling real good about themselves."
Missouri (12-2) led 75-56 after its second-half run, although Georgia (9-5) did manage to climb back within striking distance, the closest at 77-72 following a layup by Travis Leslie with 6:13 to play.
"We just had too many turnovers at critical times of the game," senior forward Terrance Woodbury said. "It was just too many mistakes."
"It (the run) made the basket bigger for them and what was a game that was tightly contested where both teams felt like they needed to work hard, all of a sudden they felt good," Felton said. "The basket got a little bigger looking to them and that made shots easier. Other than that three minute span it was a tie game for 37 minutes."
Missouri led 32-28 at the half despite a quick start by the Bulldogs who led for the first 18 minutes of the first half before the Tigers went up 29-28 on a jumper by DeMarre Carroll.
Carroll finished with 17 points, one of five Tigers in double-figures. Zaire Taylor equaled Carroll's 17 points, followed by Leo Lyons with 12 points with J.T. Tiller and Matt Lawrence chipping in with 10 each.
Woodbury, playing in his first game since injuring both his ankle Dec. 19, led all scorers with 27 points, followed by Trey Thompkins with 18 and Leslie with 10. Woodbury the decision to play him was a game-time decision.
"After warm-ups I just went down to the bench because I didn't think I was playing," Woodbury said. "But that's when Coach (Felton) came up and asked me if I wanted to start or come off the bench. I just told him to get me some drugs and tape this thing up and let me go."
Georgia returns to action Tuesday when the Bulldogs travel to Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs open SEC play Saturday when they host Tennessee.
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