ORLANDO, Fla. – Despite a valiant effort against a ranked opponent in the first round of the Tire Pros Invitational, Mizzou Men’s Basketball dropped a heartbreaker, 83-82, to No. 11 Xavier in overtime on Thursday at the HP Field House. The Tigers had three players score 20 or more points for the first time since Feb. 8, 2014, led by freshman guard Frankie Hughes (Cleveland, Ohio), who scored 24 points.
Hughes led the Tigers in scoring for the second-straight game and became the first Tiger in program history to start his career with back-to-back games of 20 or more points. Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear (Blue Springs, Mo.) recorded his second career double-double in the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Terrence Phillips (Orange County, Calif.) contributed a career-high 21 points.
After falling behind 9-3 early in the game, the Tigers stormed back to grab a 10-point lead following a three-pointer from Puryear. The first three-pointer of the year for Puryear gave Mizzou a 27-17 lead with 6:25 remaining in the half. With time winding down to the final seconds of the opening period, Hughes converted a layup right before the buzzer to give Mizzou a 38-36 lead heading into the break. The freshman guard paced the Tigers in first half with 11 points, while Phillip chipped in 10.
The Tigers led for the majority of the second half, but found themselves down, 69-65, with 2:29 remaining in the game. Buckets on back-to-back possessions from Puryear and freshman forward Willie Jackson (Cleveland, Ohio), tied the score at 69-69, but Xavier scored again with 31 seconds left. With 12 seconds left, Puryear was fouled, went to the free throw line and converted both free throw attempts to send the game to overtime, 71-71.
In the extra period, Mizzou fell behind by five, but utilized a 7-0 run to go up 80-78 with 1:46 remaining after a Hughes layup. The game was tied at 82-82 in the final 30 seconds, but Xavier sank a free throw with less than a second remaining to seal the game, 83-82.
Mizzou next faces Davidson in the consolation semi-finals. Tipoff is slated for tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 18) at 10:30 a.m. CT at the HP Field House.