Missouri Shoots Bears; ND Roars Back to Beat Detroit
By Eliza Smith
Phil Pressey lead the way to an 81-63 Tiger win over Mercer on Monday, scoring a career-best 22 points with four assists and five steals in the first Regional Round of the Progressive CBE Classic.
Joining the sophomore point guard in double digits were Kim English with 18, Mike Dixon with 14 and Marcus Denmon with 12.
The win extended No. 24 Missouri’s school-record non-conference home winning streak to 60 games, dating back to the 2005-06 opener, and gave new head coach Frank Haith his second victory of the season.
The squad lacks height — especially with 6-9 Laurence Bowers out for the year with a knee injury — and often had four guards on the floor going up against four Mercer forwards, but they still managed to win the rebounding battle by four boards.
“Rebounding isn’t just about how tall you are,” Haith said. “It’s about your desire, your passion, and paying attention to detail. It’s about blocking out and lots of fundamentals, and then going to get the ball.”
The Tigers played an active first half with 23 deflections and ten of their total 14 steals, holding Mercer to a 40-24 halftime score, but took some gambles in the second half. Mercer went on a 14-4 run to get within ten points — but that was as close as the Bears could get.
Jibri Bryan led Mercer with 19 points off the bench in the second game of his career. He redshirted last season after knee surgery.
The team is adjusting to a different style of play under Haith, bringing their game back to the half court but still relying on pressure.
“Pressure busts pipes,” Dixon said. “I just think we’ve translated our full court defense to the half court, and brought it in and got a little more organized.”
“The results are still the same,” English said.
South Bend Regional
Trailing 41-33 with 14:04 to play, Notre Dame went on a 14-0 run to capture a 59-53 win over Detroit in the Progressive CBE Classic.
Joey Brooks and Eric Atkins paced the Irish with 13 points apiece, with Brooks also pulling down nine rebounds and Atkins handing out four assists. Jerian Grant added 11 points and Pat Connaughton had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Detroit received a game-best 20 points from Ray McCallum, who netted 12 of those points in the first half. Chase Simon had 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Progressive CBE Classic continues on Tuesday with No. 22 California hosting Austin Peay. The game will air on ESPN2 at 10:00pm as part of ESPN’s College Basketball Marathon.