If Laurence Bowers scored 17 points, his season average, Saturday night for No. 10 Missouri, the Tigers would have walked out of C.M. ‘Tad’ Smith Coliseum with a win.
But the senior forward and MU’s leading scorer was out with an MCL sprain and the Tigers (12-3, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) missed him dearly, falling to unranked Ole Miss (13-2, 2-0 SEC) in Oxford 64-49.
Senior Murphy Holloway led the upset effort for the Rebels posting 22 points, eight rebounds and four steals in a game in which Mississippi never trailed.
Three early Ole Miss three pointers gave the home team an early lead as Missouri struggled to hit shots, going nearly seven minutes before its first field goal.
From that stretch, the lead only widened. MU pulled to within 41-33 with 16 minutes left, but was stymied by the Rebels strong defense. Ole Miss forced the Tigers into 19 turnovers on the night.
Sophomore guard Jabari Brown led Missouri in scoring with 13 points. Not far behind was Keion Bell with 11 and Phil Pressey with 10. The Tigers shot just 36.8 percent from the field on the night.
Missouri will face Georgia on Thursday back at Mizzou Arena and Bowers will be reevaluated after the game. MCL sprains are typically week-to-week injuries.
Coach Frank Haith’s squad, which was set to take a big leap in the rankings after No. 4 Arizona fell at the hands of Oregon on Friday and No. 1 Duke suffered its first loss at North Carolina State earlier Saturday, will hope to be at full strength when they travel to Gainsborough on Friday to meet No. 11 Florida.