Fri, 01 Mar 2013 05:09:19 GMT — This was not a quality win.But it would have been a really, really lousy loss.At this point, however, take it when you can get it.The Missouri Tigers --- who've had less success on the road than a car without wheels --- dismantled the South Carolina Gamecocks 90-68 on Thursday night in Columbia.This was in Columbia, after all ... Columbia, South Carolina.Missouri's two road wins this season have come against Mississippi State and South Carolina, the bottom-feeders in the worst major conference in the country.South Carolina has lost --- at home --- to a team called Elon (50 bonus points if you can tell me where Elon is) and Mississippi State, which is arguably the worst team in the country from a major conference. The Gamecocks (13-15, 3-12) have now lost seven of eight, eight of 10, and have now lost eight games at home this season. So hold the confetti for another day, Tiger fans.A lot of ticky-tack fouls were called early in the game. And so much for no blood, no foul ... MU's Earnest Ross received a bloody nose after taking a blow as he went up for a shot.No foul, just blood.In the first half, the Gamecocks hit a series of improbable shots to keep it close, including a banked in 3-pointer from the baseline --- yes, banked in from the BASELINE.Try that in your driveway.But the Tigers (20-8, 9-6) had an answer --- they had more dunks than your kids have with cookies and a glass of milk. They had 10 overall, seven in the first half, as they built a 45-38 lead at the break."When you play a team that really presses you like they do," Missouri coach Frank Haith said, "you have to be willing to drive the ball. We did that and we scored 46 points in the paint."For the Gamecocks --- who are neither game or cocky --- it only got worse from there."We were really good, defensively, in the second half," Haith said. "That helped us pull away from them."The Tigers --- who have now won 20 games for a school-record fifth straight season --- hit 12 of their first 13 shots in the second half to blow it open and never look back.This was a must-win for the Tigers, and they received some must-have efforts from Jabari Brown and Keion Bell.This was not the case in Saturday night's overtime loss at Kentucky, when that duo combined to go 5-of-17 from the field and scored just 15 points --- 11 points below their combined averages.On this night, however they were a combined 16-of-22 for 47 points ... Bell finished with 24 points, Brown had 23."Keion's been playing great and he's starting to understand where he can score," Haith said.Phil Pressey didn't score, but he had nine of MU's 19 assists and a team-high five rebounds. Alex Oriahki added 18 points for the Tigers, who host LSU at 3 p.m. Saturday. (Scott Bell was the winner of two lower-level tickets to this game, by the way, courtesy of Central Bank)."Alex is playing well," Haith said. I think he got some easy buckets because of our ability to share the ball."Now the Tigers return home, where they're 15-0. This should be an easy win against an LSU, another team that has its issues.No complaints. Take them when you can get them.
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