Seeking at-large NCAA berth, Missouri faces lowly Ole Miss


Missouri enhanced its case for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament by posting a 17-0 record in Quad 2, Quad 3 and Quad 4 games this season.

The Tigers (22-8, 10-7 Southeastern Conference) will try to complete their regular season without a resume-damaging loss when they host Ole Miss (11-19, 3-14) Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri rallied from a 40-22 deficit to win 81-76 at LSU Wednesday night.

“We were down (37) minutes of that game, and we were able to edge out a victory,” Missouri coach Dennis Gates said. “It’s magical. It’s March. It’s madness, all in the same breath. Happy first of the month.”

Kobe Brown (15.9 points per game), D’Moi Hodge (14.3) and DeAndre Gholston (10.3) pace the Missouri attack. Tre Gomillion returned from a groin muscle strain to score 16 points and grab 14 rebounds in two games, but then he aggravated the injury at LSU.

Gomillion played just four minutes in that game and is questionable for Saturday.

“It was just a little soreness that he felt,” Gates. “And I told him coming into the game if there was something of such then just hold yourself out. And he agreed with that. So it’s one of those precautionary things.”

The Rebels are finishing out the season under interim coach Win Case. Ole Miss fired coach Kermit Davis 28 games into the season and began its search for his replacement.

Case has urged the team to focus on its opportunity to start afresh at the SEC tournament. The Rebels beat LSU 82-69 after the coaching change, then they lost at home Tuesday to Texas A&M 69-61 despite a spirited effort.

“I’m just very proud of the guys,” Case said. “They continue to fight. The thing we want to try to do is get better with each ballgame, getting ready to go into that (SEC) tournament, put some momentum.”

Missouri won the previous game between the teams 89-77 in Oxford, Miss., on Jan. 24. The Rebels were missing leading scorer Matthew Murrell in that game due to injury.

Murrell poured in 26 points against Texas A&M, so Ole Miss will have more firepower in the rematch.

“We’re going to go to Missouri, we’re going to learn from this (Texas A&M) loss here, we’re going to have our heads up and we’re going to go in there fighting, and get ourselves ready for that tournament,” Case said.

–Field Level Media

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