GAME NOTES: The 21st-ranked Missouri Tigers will attempt to extend the nation's longest active home winning streak on Wednesday night, as they open up SEC action against the Georgia Bulldogs at Mizzou Arena.
Georgia has been inconsistent on its way to a 6-6 record, as it has thrived on its home floor (6-1), while floundering in road and neutral-court contests (0-5). The Bulldogs opened up their current three-game road swing by losing handily to both Colorado (84-70) and Georgia Washington (73-55).
Meanwhile, Missouri shined during its non-conference slate of games, winning 12-of-13 games to rise to No. 21 in the latest poll. The Tigers most recently downed Long Beach State on Saturday afternoon, 69-59, to improve to 8-0 at Mizzou Arena this season, and they've now won 26 in a row at home dating back to the 2011-12 season, which is tied with Stephen F. Austin for longest active streak in the nation.
Missouri has defeated Georgia on all four previous occasions, most recently downing the Bulldogs on Jan. 16, 2013, 79-62.
Despite shooting a respectable 46 percent from the field in their most recent outing, the Bulldogs still had their lowest-scoring game of the season by shooting just 1-of-10 from 3-point range, 8-of-15 from the free-throw line and committing 20 turnovers in the 18-point loss to George Washington. Despite the setback, Cameron Forte was red-hot in just 13 minutes off the bench, making all seven of his field-goal attempts for 14 points while also grabbing eight rebounds. Charles Mann added 11 points but did so on a mere 3-of-11 from the field.
On the season, Georgia holds a convincing advantage over its opponents in terms of field goal percentage, .481 to .406, but it only boasts a scoring margin of +2.2 due to its poor showing from beyond the arc (4.2 3-pointers per game at a 33.1 percent clip) and in the takeaway battle (-1.7 turnover margin). Mann is the spark plug on both ends of the floor with 13.0 ppg and 1.6 spg, while Kenny Gaines (11.5 ppg), Nemanja Djurisic (10.8 ppg) and Brandon Morris (9.6 ppg) have also been solid.
The Tigers shot greater than 52 percent from the field in their latest contest while holding LBSU to just 33.3 percent shooting, and they closed out the game on a 12-4 run to pull away for the 10-point victory. Jabari Brown was on fire on the afternoon, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free- throw line on his way to a game-high 22 points. Earnest Ross tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and two steals, Jordan Clarkson scored 11 and Ryan Rosburg collected 11 rebounds.
Missouri has displayed well-rounded play all season long, as it shoots 48.8 percent from the field for 76.2 ppg, while allowing just 65.1 ppg on 38.2 percent shooting. Its offense has been off the mark lately however, as it has scored fewer than 70 points in four straight. Even when its shot isn't falling with regularity, it is aided by the SEC's second-ranked rebounding margin (+8.9). Clarkson is the league's second-leading scorer with 19.3 ppg, doing so on 49.4 percent from the field and 84.5 percent from the charity stripe. Brown (18.4 ppg) is right on his heels, draining 34-of-81 from 3-point distance, while Ross (14.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) rounds out one of the nation's best scoring trios.
Despite having not played at the top of its game over the past several weeks, Missouri has still found a way to win of late, and its success at home should continue without much problem in this one against a Georgia squad that shrinks on the road.
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