Jan 08, 2020 5:46 AM

Mizzou falls at home to Tennessee 69-59

Posted Jan 08, 2020 5:46 AM

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- In the second game of his college basketball career, Tennessee's Santiago Vascovi was barely noticeable for the first 34 minutes. He then scored 12 points to lead the Volunteers to a 69-59 victory over Missouri.

"I really didn't feel the pressure," said Vascovi, a midseason enrollee who arrived at Tennessee on Dec. 28. "Back in Uruguay, all the stands are crazy. It's almost like a soccer game. They're all chanting all the game. It's another environment. Once I got here, it doesn't affect me."

Mizzou Arena was about half-full Tuesday, but the home crowd was riled up with the score tied at 53 in the final six minutes. That's when Vascovi, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard who had yet to score, went on a personal 8-0 run. He made two 3-pointers, then stole an in-bounds pass and converted a layup.

"I was still feeling confident," said Vascovi, a native of Uruguay who scored 18 points in his college debut against LSU on Saturday. "The 3 that I made really helped me get back in the game. That was a crucial part of the game."

Six players scored in double figures for Tennessee (9-5, 1-1 Southeastern Conference). Jordan Bowden scored 13, and Josiah-Jordan James, John Fulkerson, Yves Pons and Jalen Johnson each scored 11. It was a career high for Johnson.

Tennessee entered the game ranked 13th in the SEC in shooting percentage (.426), while Missouri was the league leader in field-goal percentage defense (.365). The Volunteers weren't bothered in the least, shooting 53.5% overall and 45.8% from 3-point range. That made up for some sloppy ball-handling. Vescovi had five turnovers.

"Twenty-one turnovers are hard to live with, but that shows you we have the ability," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "I do think we have a good shooting team, especially when we move the ball."

Tray Jackson scored a career-high 11 and Mitchell Smith added 10 points for the Tigers (8-6, 0-2 SEC).

The teams combined for eight traveling violations in the first half, but Tennessee cleaned up its act in the final minutes and scored the last six points to take a 32-28 halftime lead. Johnson, who entered the game averaging 2.4 points, scored 11 first-half points on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range.

In the second half, the Volunteers opened an early 10-point lead. Smith helped the Tigers fight back, and his two free throws gave Missouri a 53-50 advantage. Then James answered with a tying 3-pointer before Vescovi took over.

"He has a slower jump shot, but if he gets it off, it's going in," James said. "He's so methodical. He measures it before he shoots it, but I know it's going in every time he shoots it."


Jackson, a freshman forward, didn't even play in the Tigers' loss at Kentucky on Saturday. But Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin is unpredictable in his substitution patterns, and he called on Jackson for nine very productive minutes against Tennessee.

Jackson made 3 of 5 field goals and 4 of 4 free throws.

"I was happy to see the way Tray played," Martin said. "He played great. He was a little winded, but he played great. He has the mentality to score the ball."


Missouri: Junior forward Jeremiah Tilmon sat out with a stress fracture in his left foot. Tilmon, who was on crutches Tuesday, is out indefinitely. A preseason second-team All-SEC pick, Tilmon has struggled to stay on the court this season because of frequent foul trouble and recently the sore foot. He is averaging 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game.

Tennessee: The Volunteers did what few teams have against Missouri: made shots. The Tigers had held five straight opponents to five or fewer made 3-pointers. Tennessee made 11 of 24 from beyond the arc.

"They're really hard to score on the first side," Barnes said. "You have to move the ball against them. They're not going to give you anything easy. We felt like we could get the ball going from side to side and get some things. Josiah is getting more and more comfortable. It normally takes our point guard a year and a half to understand our transition game, and it's not what it's been in the past, but we'll keep working on it."


Missouri: The Tigers face Florida on Saturday at home.

Tennessee: The Volunteers play South Carolina on Saturday at home.

--- Associated Press ---

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Jan 08, 2020 5:46 AM
K-State loses on a late tip-in to TCU 59-57

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kevin Samuel and TCU had been bludgeoning Kansas State on the offensive glass all night.

Made perfect sense that's where the Horned Frogs would ultimately beat the Wildcats.

Their bruising sophomore center deftly tipped in RJ Nembhard's errant floater with 1.7 seconds remaining Tuesday night, moments after the Wildcats had hit a 3-pointer at the other end to tie the game, and that allowed the Horned Frogs to escape from a stunned Bramlage Coliseum with an ugly 59-57 victory.

"Big thing for us -- and it's always been -- offensive rebounding is a big part of everywhere I've been," said TCU coach Jamie Dixon, whose team pulled down a whopping 15 offensive rebounds. "I mean, Kevin was terrific and has been. Defensively, he does so many things for us and 15 rebounds says a lot."

The last one was the biggest one. It came after the Wildcats had tied the game on David Sloan's 3-pointer with 13 seconds left, and Nembhard had driven left on Mike McGuirl and hoisted up his shot. Samuel's tip-in found the bottom of the net with so little time left that all Sloan could do was throw up a heavily guarded, off-balance 3 at the buzzer.

"That's what Samuel does. He's a monster," TCU's Desmond Bane said. "I tell him that every day. He's gotten a lot better since last year, his motor is a lot better, is tough. Around the rim is a lot better. These are the types of games he's going to have throughout the season."

Samuel finished with 10 points to go with the 15 boards and lead four players in double-figures scoring, helping the Horned Frogs (11-3) start 2-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since joining the league. Bane contributed 16 points, Nembhard added 15 and Jaire Grayer finished with 10 in a total team effort.

Xavier Sneed led Kansas State (7-7, 0-2) with 19 points, though he was just 5 of 14 from the field. His biggest help came at the foul line, where he was 8 of 10 and the rest of the team was just 3 of 9.

"We need to get where we're getting consistent production out of guys every game and so far that hasn't happened," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "It's typical of our season that we've had to deal with one thing after another."

The Horned Frogs allowed Kansas State to hang around as long as they were clanking 3-pointers

That started to change late in the first half.

Nembhard's deep shot from the wing broke a 23-all tie, then the Wildcats came up empty on their next two possessions, and Bane and Edric Dennis Jr. added back-to-back 3s that helped TCU take its largest lead of the game.

Makol Mawien scored just before halftime for Kansas State, but he left enough time for the Horned Frogs to race up the floor. The ball got loose but wound up in the hands of Grayer, and his buzzer-beating 3 gave his team a 35-25 lead at the break.

The Horned Frogs started 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. They proceeded to hit eight of their next 12.

Another lull hit TCU midway through the second half, but the Wildcats struggled to take advantage of it. They trailed 40-29 when the Horned Frogs went more than six minutes without a field goal, but when Bane ended the drought with a 3-pointer with 10:45 to go, the visitors from Fort Worth still maintained a 44-40 advantage.

Kansas State kept up the defensive pressure, though, and Sneed took it upon himself to carry the Wildcats on the other end. He buried a 3-pointer from the wing to pull within 51-49 with 3:50 left, then was fouled driving to the basket moments later and made the second of two free throws to make it 53-50 after the final media timeout.

That set the stage for the frantic final couple of minutes.

"Coaches are on me for being on the court too much. Maybe I need to jump on it and get a technical (foul) to wake our guys up a little bit," Weber said. "They made the big plays."


TCU had lapses in poise that could be attributed in part to playing its first true road game -- even though there may have been more empty seats than full ones. The Horned Frogs' only other games away from the Dallas metro this season came against Clemson and Wyoming in late November at the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas.

Kansas State has struggled to score all season, so it made was somewhat poetic that the Wildcats would lose another game on a missed shot at the buzzer. Six of their seven losses have been by single digits.


TCU returns home to face Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Kansas State heads to Texas on Saturday night.

--- Associated Press ---