The Tigers came into Wednesday night's SEC opener against Georgia with the longest active home winning streak in the country. The Tigers had won their last 26 games at home and were 41-1 at Mizzou Arena since the 2011-12 season.
Wednesday night's game would be an easy win for the Tigers to start off the SEC schedule. After all, Georgia was 6-6 against an incredibly weak nonconference schedule and were massive underdogs against the Tigers. Everything pointed to an easy home win for the Tigers, but it certainly was not. In fact, the end result was not even a win at all.
Georgia came out and grabbed an early 8-2 lead against the Tigers and held that lead until the Tigers' Earnest Ross hit a three-pointer with 5:57 remaining in the first half to give Mizzou a 20-19 lead. Georgia snatched that lead back on their next shot, and held on to take a 30-25 lead into the half against the No. 21 ranked Missouri Tigers.
The Tigers came out strong in the second half and changed their five point deficit into a five point lead. It appeared that the Bulldogs would not be able to keep up with the Tigers offensively in the second half, but as the clock continued to tick, Georgia continued to hang around.
The Tigers and Bulldogs continued to exchange blows throughout the second half, but Mizzou fans confidently waited for their team to stick the final dagger in Georgia.
That dagger never came, though.
The Bulldogs instead grabbed a 56-53 lead going into the final minute of the game. Mizzou answered back with a huge three-pointer by Jordan Clarkson to tie the game at 56 with 53 seconds remaining.
After a huge defensive stop, Clarkson had the ball in his hands with a final shot to win the game. Instead, Clarkson's jumper came up short and the Tigers and Bulldogs went into overtime.
The Tigers jumped on Georgia early in overtime by scoring seven of the first nine points. It finally looked like the Tigers would pull away. That was not the case, though. Georgia went on to score 11 of the game's final 12 points over the course of the final 2:32 and held on to stun Missouri 70-64.
Wednesday night's victory was an emotional win for Georgia head coach Mark Fox who was still grieving from the death of his father last Friday night. The Bulldogs all showed a lot of emotion after the game as they came together to win a big game for their coach.
On the other side, though, the Tigers were left stunned and disgusted. There was no excuse for this loss. The Tigers were outplayed by a team they certainly should not have been outplayed by.
The Tigers proved in their nonconference schedule that they were a good team, and their No. 21 ranking in the country showed that they had earned the respect and attention of the rest of the college basketball world. All of that was suddenly gone.
The Tigers are likely a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament now, and although there is still plenty of time for them to change that status, it certainly will not be easy. The tournament committee does not simply forget bad losses, and there is no doubt that this loss will affect their tournament seeding and possibly even cost them a tournament spot, depending on how they play in the rest of their conference schedule.
The biggest things Missouri needs right now are short-term memory and a killer instinct. The Tigers are one of the better teams in the SEC and will have a lot of winnable games on their schedule to help improve their tournament resume. This team could still certainly finish the year in the Top 25, but it may take some time for them to get back in the rankings.
The Tigers need to just go out and beat the teams they should beat throughout SEC play and everything will work itself out. They are simply too talented for losses like these to occur.
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