For 38 of the 40 minutes of game time Saturday night, Missouri looked like it was going to land its biggest win of the season, playing against No. 25 LSU at home. Then came two minutes the Tigers won’t soon forget, as well as an overtime no one saw coming.
Missouri (10-8, 1-5 in SEC) blew a 14-point lead with 2:14 remaining, ultimately losing 86-80 in overtime.
The collapse began with a barrage by LSU’s Skylar Mays, who reeled off three straight three-point plays, each followed by a Missouri turnover. Two of those were shots from beyond the arc, and one was an old-fashioned three point play, a layup and foul and additional free throw.
Then Missouri’s Jordan Geist, who had a tremendous game overall, made just one of two free throws, and LSU (16-3, 6-0 in SEC) buried yet another three, this one by Tremont Waters to make it 71-68 with 1:21 to go. In 53 seconds, the lead had melted from 14 to 3.
Missouri then had a bad offensive possession, seemingly more fixated on running the clock than scoring, ending in a turnover. LSU finally missed, but a foul on Missouri’s Jeremiah Tilmon during the battle for the rebound, one that drew loud boos from Tiger fans, gave LSU two free throws, which Naz Reid calmly made in front of a roaring Missouri student section to make it 71-70 with 36 seconds left.
Missouri then ran a horrendous offensive possession, culminating in a deep three-point heave from Geist that missed, giving LSU one last chance. LSU missed, but in the scrum for the rebound Ronnie Suggs was whistled for a foul with two seconds left. An LSU player was maybe climbing on Suggs’ back, and Suggs at least briefly hooked and pulled the arm of the LSU player, but it was a tough call, and at least fair to call it debatable. Still, Missouri had done plenty to contribute to the ghastly loss, and college basketball is a game of tough calls, so it’s hard to blame that call, or the one on Tilmon, too much.
Emmitt Williams made one of two free throws to tie the game, and in overtime, as you might expect, LSU prevailed on a series of dunks and three-pointers.
It was a gutting loss, especially since Missouri had played so well with its best shooter, Mark Smith, out with an ankle injury, and another key contributor, Javon Pickett, battling back issues.
Coupled with a double-digit road loss to Arkansas midweek, and it was a tough week for the Tigers after getting their first SEC win at Texas A&M.
Missouri has a tough road game at Auburn (7:30 p.m. on SEC Network) Wednesday, but then the Tigers have a good shot at another SEC win with a home game against Vanderbilt Saturday (7:30 p.m. on SEC Network). The Commodores begin the week as the only team winless in SEC play, so this is probably the most winnable game left on the schedule, and a chance for Missouri to bounce back.