January 28, 2009

One of those nights

MANHATTAN, KS--Matt Lawrence said Missouri had until midnight to move past its 88-72 loss at Kansas State. The Tigers would probably like to forget this one a whole lot sooner.

"In this business, you've got to have a short memory," Mike Anderson said. "The games continue to come. They come fast, they come furious."

One of those adjectives might have described Missouri. The Tigers certainly had plenty of reason to be furious. Mizzou trailed by as much as 25 points on their way to their first loss in five games.

"They really brought the fight to us," DeMarre Carroll said. "And we didn't fight back."

Briefly, Missouri looked as if it had a counterpunch to the Cats' opening flurry. Despite a mostly miserable first half that featured 13 turnovers, the Tigers had scratched to within ten points at 43-33 with less than ten seconds left in the first half. That charge was thanks almost entirely to Lawrence hitting five consecutive shots, including four from three-point range. And then the Wildcats answered with a shooting exhibition of their own.

Denis Clemente charged down the court in the waning seconds of the first half. As Clemente dribbled left at the three-point line, Zaire Taylor fell down. Clemente lofted a three-pointer that bounced off the front rim, bounced off the backboard and fell through. The fortunate roll gave the Wildcats a 46-33 halftime bulge.

"That was a big shot for them," Anderson said. "That kind of gave them momentum."

"We had pulled within ten there, which we would have taken the way we had played," Lawrence said.

The Tigers fell for just the fourth time in 21 games and found themselves repeating a mantra so often heard outside losing locker rooms.

"It's just one game," Carroll said.

Missouri has to hope so. Saturday's showdown against Baylor just got a whole lot bigger.

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