Missouri defeats WVU, 80-71

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – For 34 minutes, Missouri shut down West Virginia’s prolific 3-point offense.

Then Missouri lost its focus, according to guard Jordan Clarkson.

The Tigers won 80-71, but only after surviving a late 17-5 run by the Mountaineers. The scare gives Missouri (8-0) something to work on as its welcomes 18th-ranked UCLA to Mizzou Arena on Saturday.

“I think we allowed them to get into the paint,” coach Frank Haith said. “We gave up some broken plays where we weren’t back setting our defense. They had some plays where we bobbled some loose rebounds, and they stuck it in.”

The Tigers also opted to try to score after grabbing offensive rebounds, rather than working the ball to the perimeter to burn time.

West Virginia (6-3) settled for making 42 percent of its shots after entering the game averaging 85.1 points and shooting nearly 50 percent. The team only made eight of 29 shots in the first half.

“We didn’t score seemingly for about an hour and a half,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “So I would say we probably shot ourselves in the foot. Or blew our heads off.”

Clarkson scored 25 points and guard Jabari Brown added 18 for the Tigers, who shot 53 percent.

Missouri extended its national-best home-court winning streak to 23 games and has won 78 consecutive games at Mizzou Arena against non-conference competition.

“It’s tradition,” Clarkson said. “We want to keep that going. Just keep protecting the home court. We can’t let anybody come in here and do whatever they want to do.”

Juwan Staten scored 16 points, while Gary Browne and Terry Henderson added 14 for West Virginia, which fell to 0-3 against power conference teams.

Missouri scored the first nine points and led throughout as West Virginia never established a rhythm until the end of the night. The Mountaineers also averaged 10 3-pointers per game before Thursday, but only converted one of their first 14 attempts until Browne’s make with 7:51 remaining. They finished four for 19.

Earnest Ross added 16 points for the Tigers, who have won their first eight games for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Clarkson, Brown and Ross have combined for nearly two-thirds of the Tigers’ scoring this season.

Missouri also out-rebounded West Virginia 40-32 after the Mountaineers grabbed 62 boards against Loyola Maryland, their most since 64 in a contest against Radford in 1992. West Virginia had been averaging four more boards per game than its opponents.

“I think this team is really taking our focus on being a better defensive team to heart,” Haith said. “We’ve just got to stay with it.”

The Mountaineers used a 9-2 run to pull within 27-20 with 4:36 remaining in the first half, but Missouri countered with an identical run to take a 36-22 halftime lead. After Devin Williams opened the second half with a layup, Missouri then scored the next five points.

West Virginia again narrowed the lead late in the second half, as Staten capped the team’s 17-5 run with a layup with 1:45 left to narrow the Mountaineers’ deficit to 73-64. After two free throws by the Tigers’ Wes Clark, Rmi Dibo drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:10 left to make the score 75-67.

But the Mountaineers couldn’t get any closer.

Staten (16) and Eron Harris (8) combined for 24 points after only scoring four total in the first half. The duo previously averaged nearly 37 for West Virginia, which has also lost to Virginia Tech and Wisconsin. Coaches picked the team to finish seventh in the 10-team Big 12 prior to the season as the team lost its final seven games last year and finished 13-19.

“I need to realize I have teammates that are very capable, and I need to put my full trust in my teammates,” said Harris, who ranks second in the Big 12 with 20.3 points per game. “Not that I don’t trust them, but when I’m not getting shots, maybe it’s not my day to get shots.”

Missouri’s new chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, attended the game and was introduced to fans in the first half. He then went into the stands to shake hands and pose for pictures with students. Currently the president of Texas A&M, Loftin will begin his new job as Missouri’s leader on Feb. 1.

Men

Vanderbilt 69, Marshall 67

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Damian Jones and James Siakam scored 15 points apiece, and Vanderbilt defeated a hard-charging Marshall team 69-67 Thursday night.

Rod Odom added 11 points including two 3-pointers for the Commodores (5-3).

Kareem Canty led the Thundering Herd (4-4) with 18 points. Elijah Pittman scored 17, and Shawn Smith went 7-of-8 on the free throw line to finish with 15 points.

Dai-Jon Parker sank a 3-pointer just inside the final minute to give Vanderbilt a 69-65 lead after Canty’s 3-pointer had cut what had been a 13-point lead to 66-65. Smith sank his final two free throws and Marshall had a chance to tie it before Siakam stole the ball.

Vanderbilt’s Josh Henderson suffered a knee injury at 11:15 of the first half right after back-to-back blocks by his teammates on a Herd fast break.

Siakam made 9 of 11 free throws, hitting four straight sandwiched around Pittman’s 3-pointer that trimmed it to 64-62.

Jones’ 3-point play a half-second before intermission gave Vanderbilt the largest lead of the first half at 35-26. He powered in a basket after halftime, then slammed in a dunk on a loose ball for a 41-30 advantage.

Odom’s second 3-pointer stretched Vanderbilt’s second-half lead to 47-34. Marshall’s Pittman had just dunked, but only after the Herd blew a big dunk attempt and VU missed on an alley-oop.

Canty had a dunk following a turnover and scored on a three-point play for a 6-2 spurt that closed the gap to 49-41.

Smith hit four straight free throws and then made a layup for a 6-0 Marshall run that cut it to 58-54 at the 7-minute mark. Canty followed with his 3-pointer to pull within 1.

Odom hit two free throws and a 3-pointer as Vanderbilt took an early 12-6 lead. Marshall closed to 14-12 on Tyquane Goard’s alley-oop dunk and one of two free throws.

But Eric McClellan scored four straight baskets, his first points of the game, including three long jumpers to widen the margin to 22-14.

The Herd pulled within 22-21 with a 7-0 run capped by Pittman’s 3-pointer from the left baseline 3:46 before halftime. The Commodores answered with an 8-0 run including consecutive 3s by Kyler Fuller and Luke Kornet for a 30-23 lead.

Concord 83, Glenville State 71

ATHENS, W.Va. – BJ Hamlet drained 7 of 10 from downtown, finishing with 25 points, and teammate Terry Hopewell went for 21 to help Concord post an 83-71 victory against visiting Glenville State here Thursday in Mountain East Conference action.

Lamont Cole came off the GSC (3-2, 1-2) bench and canned 5 of 10 from 3-point land and finished with 19 points. Donte Morales’ 21 counters led the Pioneers, who received 15 markers from Lamar Mallory. Reggie Williams had 10 assists and five steals in the setback.

Women

Glenville State 100, Concord 72

ATHENS, W.Va. – Andrea Bertrand’s game-highs of 32 points and 12 rebounds weren’t nearly enough for host Concord on Thursday night as the Mountain Lions lost 100-72 to 17th-ranked Glenville State.

Kenyona Simmons’ 17 points led five Pioneers in double figures as GSC improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Mountain East Conference. Also aiding in the race to the century mark for GSC were Tasia Bistow (15), Keyanna Tate (12), Tiffani Huffman (12) and Kenyell Goodson (11). Pioneer Aesha Peters grabbed 10 boards.

Kentucky Wesleyan 81,

Ohio Valley 73

OWENSBORO, Ky. – Ohio Valley University trailed by just two at halftime here Thursday night, but the Fighting Scots couldn’t solve host Kentucky Wesleyan during an 81-73 setback in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Mdeye Meissa Diop’s game-high 28 points were wasted in the setback for the Fighting Scots, who watched Kayla Parsley go for a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. OVU (3-6, 0-1) also had double figure scoring efforts from Shelby Way (11) and Saira House (10). Imani Ward chipped in eight points while Diop had nine boards and two blocks.

Kentucky Wesleyan (5-2, 1-0) received a pair of 21-point efforts from Jordanne Gambill and Shelbi Tyra.