December 09, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Missouri's tallest player is 6-foot-10 senior Ryan Rosburg. With an average height of 6-4, some would call the Tigers' roster undersized. Yet, for the third consecutive game, Missouri out rebounded (37-34) and outscored an opponent in the paint (32-20).

That's how the Tigers beat Omaha, 85-78 Wednesday night.

Kevin Puryear scored 18 points and hauled in eight rebounds as Missouri held off the Mavericks to improve to 5-3.

At 14.1 points per game, Puryear, a freshman, is The Tigers' leading scorer. He was particularly efficient Wednesday night, shooting 5 for 8 from the field and 7 for 8 from the free-throw line in 25 minutes.

Puryear, who scored 13 of his points in the second half, was more deliberate after halftime.

''I was definitely more aggressive at that point in the game,'' Puryear said. ''I felt like I needed to do something, whether it was score or rebound the ball. Just help contribute to the win and put them away.''

Terrence Phillips caught the hot hand early, making his first three 3-point attempts for a total of nine first-half points. Phillips finished with 14 points before fouling out with 2:36 to play.

The Tigers led 37-30 at halftime after shooting 50 percent from the field, while holding the Mavericks to 33.3 percent shooting.

Despite its sharp shooting, Missouri struggled to hold onto the ball in the first half, committing 13 turnovers, it's most in a half all season. Omaha took advantage of the sloppy ball handling, scoring 13 points off turnovers in the half.

''We talked about not turning it over,'' Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. ''That's definitely something we've got to get better at. Some of the turnovers were careless; some of them were just trying to do too much, so we basically just talked about all of that.''

The second half told a different story, as the Tigers committed only five turnovers, which the Mavericks turned into five points. Meanwhile, Omaha committed 10 second-half turnovers, which led to 16 Missouri points.

Omaha coach Darren Hansen said the teams' road trip may have affected its energy level. The Mavericks won a fast-paced game, 100-97 Sunday at Montana State.

''I don't think we played smart all the time,'' he said. ''Missouri had something to do with that. I don't think our starters had as much pop in their legs. I don't think we played well all the time tonight. I think our trip had something to do with that.''

Jake White led Omaha with 18 points, including 14 in the second half. White grabbed a team-best 10 rebounds for his second double-double in the last three games.

Devin Patterson added 17 points to go with seven assists and Tra-Deon Hollins had 13 points, including nine in the second half. Omaha's leading scorer and rebounder, Tre'Shawn Thurman, was held in check most of the night, finishing with nine points on 2 of 7 shooting. Thurman drew a technical foul with 5:30 left by reacting to a charging call and fouled out of the game.

Missouri forward Jakeenan Gant scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds and K.J. Walton added 10 points on a perfect 3 for 3 from the field.

TIP-INS

Missouri: The Tigers held five of their first seven opponents to less than 40 percent shooting ... Gant blocked a shot in six of the Tigers' first seven games and leads the team with seven ... This was only the second meeting between the schools. Missouri won the first meeting 105-83 on Nov. 29, 1983 in Columbia.

Omaha: Hollins entered the game leading the nation in steals with 34, an average of 4.3 per game ...The Mavericks entered the game ranked eighth nationally in steals with 81 over the course of eight games ... Omaha leads the Summit League in eight statistical categories including points per game (88.5) and rebounds per game (41.4).

UP NEXT

Missouri visits No. 13 Arizona Sunday.

Omaha visits Grand Canyon Sunday.

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