Marcus Hall played an excellent game – for 38 minutes. Hall, the senior point guard, was nearly flawless in the first half, when he scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Hall added eight more points in the second half to total a season high 28.
The senior ignited the Buffs through much of the game. But his two miscues in the final two minutes of the game helped Missouri finish off a CU team that had led by as many as 14 points in the second half.
“We’ve had leads in almost every game,” said a dejected Hall after the loss. “We’ve got to learn how to finish it off.”
Whether or not the Buffs learn that lesson before the season is over is hard to predict. With the loss to Missouri, Colorado falls to 9-10 overall and 1-4 in conference play.
Head coach Jeff Bzdelik was more frustrated than he’d been after any home loss in this, his first season at Colorado. Bzdelik took the blame for the loss afterward. But it was apparent his patience with his players has worn thin.
“Being tough is executing under duress,” Bzdelik said. “(Missouri) turned it up a little (in the second half) and for whatever reason, when teams turn it up, we melt.”
Missouri came into the match-up on a three-game skid. Still, this is a team that opened conference play with a win over Texas, a team that went into this weekend ranked No. 12 in the country.
Colorado jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the game’s first four minutes. Missouri had no opportunity to put on its vaunted full-court press during that span. When they finally used it, however, it caused the Buffs no trouble. At least, until after the break.
Finally, Missouri’s full-court pressure started to cause the Buffs problems during the game’s final 10 minutes. While the Buffs committed just five turnovers in the first half, they ended with 16. Bzdelik was also displeased with the fact the Buffs gave up 15 offensive boards, for the second consecutive game.
Colorado led the contest until 1:59 remained in the game. That’s when Missouri (12-8/2-3) forward Matt Lawrence drained a trey, giving the Tigers a 61-60 lead. Hall threw the ball away on CU’s next possession and Leo Lyons dunked a breakaway, adding to the lead. It was Hall’s first turnover of the game. He committed another, then quickly fouled out and watched the rest of the way from the bench.
Searching for an explanation for his team’s meltdown, Bzdelik said, “You can’t be casual when the other team is desperate.”
Points: Marcus Hall 28
Rebounds: Richard Roby 14
Assists: three with 3
Turnovers: Roby 4
Blocks: Marcus King-Stockton 2
Steals: Cory Higgins, Hall 3
Points: Leo Lyons 22
Rebounds: Lyons 7
Assists: Stefhon Hannah 5
Turnovers: Hannah 4
Blocks: DeMarre Carroll 1
Steals: four with 1
Sophomore walk-on forward Trent Beckley was inserted into the game with 4:13 remaining in the first half. Marcus King-Stockton had three fouls and Jermyl Jackson-Wilson had two at that point. Beckley played the rest of the half and scored two points, his first two of the season. …Former CU All-American placekicker Mason Crosby was at the game and was introduced during halftime. Crosby led the NFL in scoring as a rookie this past season.