COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Men’s Basketball (5-7) got a career-high 18 points from sophomore guard Jordan Geist (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and the first career double-double from junior forward Jordan Barnett (St. Louis, Mo.), but fell short against Lipscomb (7-9) in its nonconference finale, 81-76, on Thursday night (Dec. 29) at Mizzou Arena. Barnett tallied 15 points and 13 rebounds, both career-highs, while Geist now has 30 points on 8-of-16 shooting over his last two games.
Geist and Barnett were two of four Mizzou players to score in double figures Thursday as sophomore forward Kevin Puryear (Blue Springs, Mo.) added 14 and Russell Woods (Chicago, Ill.) recorded 10 for his fourth game with double figures this season. Sophomore guard K.J. Walton (Indianapolis, Ind.) also scored nine points in the setback. The difference in the game came at the three-point line as Lipscomb hit 10-of-26 attempts, while Mizzou hit just 4-of-20, including 1-for-9 during the second half.
Mizzou got to the free throw line a season-high 41 times, hitting 28, and out-rebounded Lipscomb, 47-34, with a decisive 15-8 lead in second-chance points, but it was not enough to overcome Lipscomb’s barrage of makes from distance. Of the Bisons’ 10 three-pointers, five came from guard Nathan Moran, who finished with a game-high 22 points. Garrison Mathews added 16 points with a trio of three-pointers, while center Rob Marberry and guard Josh Williams each added 14 points.
Lipscomb used a 10-2 run midway through the first half to get some separation despite feisty defense from the Tigers, who tallied four blocks in the first 10 minutes of action. Despite the blocks, Lipscomb owned a nine-point lead with 4:15 remaining in the half before Geist hit back-to-back three-pointers late in the first half to pull Mizzou within five, 41-36, at the intermission.
Geist was tremendous in the first half after earning his first career Division I start. He played 18 minutes and scored 12 points on 3-for-4 shooting with a pair of makes from deep range, also shooting 4-for-4 from the line. Mizzou also went 15-of-18 from the line as a team in the opening frame to keep the deficit manageable.
Lipscomb opened a 49-40 lead at the 16:31 mark of the second half as it continued to shoot lights out from distance. A Barnett three-pointer then kick-started a Mizzou run. Walton connected on a three-point play and Barnett and Puryear tallied six points in the paint on consecutive possessions as Mizzou cut the lead to 58-54 with 12:05 remaining.
Puryear went to the bench with his fourth foul at the 10-minute mark of the second half, but sophomore guard Terrence Phillips (Orange County, Calif.) made a streaking full-court sprint that ended in a layup to cut the Lipscomb lead to 60-57. Mizzou held the Bisons off the scoreboard for more than three minutes and a Walton layup – his fourth and fifth points of the game – gave Mizzou the lead at 61-60 with 8:05 to play.
Mizzou extended its run to 7-0 over a span of 3:14 as Lipscomb missed four consecutive shots and went 1-for-7 to cool off from a 20-for-41 pace prior to the slump. Walton knocked down a pair of free throws after the under-eight timeout to give Mizzou a 63-60 lead. The lead grew to 65-60 as Mizzou stretched the run to 11-0, holding Lipscomb scoreless for nearly six minutes of game action.
After gaining its largest lead of the game at 65-60, the Bisons scored nine of the next 11 points and went on a 9-0 run to regain a 71-67 lead with less than four minutes to play. Mizzou cut the lead to one at 71-70 after a nice put-back by Woods and Geist drew an offensive foul on Lipscomb’s next possession to get the ball back to Mizzou with a chance to take the lead.
But Mizzou could not convert and missed four free throws in the final two minutes of the game as the Bisons closed out the contest by hitting free throws down the stretch.