COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri’s Big Three of Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross combined for 59 points and West Virginia needed a furious late-game surge to avoid a beatdown at the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Most of Clarkson’s 25 points came in the paint, as the big 6-foot-5 guar dpushed the Tigers toward what looked like a runaway before WVU closed strong to make the final score a respectable 80-71.

“Guys like (Clarkson) really benefit from the way they’re calling the game now,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “But you can’t (allow them to) live in the lane like that. We didn’t keep them out of the lane.”

Missouri (8-0) enjoyed its largest cushion, 63-38, with 9:43 to play after a 3-pointer by Brown, who finished with 18.  But the Mountaineers (6-3) climbed within 75-67 in the final 1:11 on Remi Dibo’s 3, his first points of the night. The margin was cut to seven with 33 seconds to play before Mizzou held on.

BOXSCORE: Missouri 80, West Virginia 71

“For 33 minutes we were terrific defensively,” said Missouri coach Frank Haith.

Juwan Staten led WVU wth 16 points, while Gray Browne and Terry Henderson added 14 each and Devin Williams added 10. The team’s top scorer, Eron Harris, scored eight points on only 3-of-6 shooting, partly attributable to being benched for a 10-minute chunk of the second half after forcing up an ill-advised 3-pointer.

After entering the game making 3s at a 46-percent clip, West Virginia sank only 4-of-19.

“We did a solid job of communicating and rotating,” said Mizzou’s Clarkson. “We ran the guys off the 3-point line. We knew they were a good 3-point shooting team.”

Missouri, led by 10 rebounds from Tony Criswell, outboarded WVU 40-32. Staten and Williams topped the Mountaineers with six rebounds each.

“We haven’t rebounded the ball all year,” Huggins said. “We didn’t rebound it again today.”

West Virginia was cold from the start, falling behind 16-4 and never drawing closer than seven points the rest of the way.

WVU trailed 11-1 seven minutes into the game before making its first field goal, a Henderson 3 in transition. That was the lone 3-pointer of the half, which the Mountaineers finished 1-of-11.

VIDEO: Staten discusses early breakdowns

Staten and Harris combined for one field goal, three turnovers and only four points during the opening 20 minutes, whereas Mizzou’s Clarkson scored 14, including two free throws with 3 seconds left that built a 36-22 lead.

Missouri opened the second half on a 9-2 run, including Clarkson’s runout dunk after Jabari Brown blocked Harris’ 3-point try.

By the time the Tigers made 11 of their first 15 shots in the second half, any prospect of a WVU comeback seemed to be snuffed out. But West Virginia climbed back into the game with a 32-14 run—the lone salvation of an otherwise bleak trip to the Midwest.

“We’re not going to quit. I’ve only ever had one team that ever quit,” Huggins said. “We would’ve laid it down last year. There would’ve been guys taking just the worst shots in the world and I’d sub somebody else in and he’d take a worse one than that.”

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  • pghmountaineer

    Macon's not going to make it. He can't qualify due to grades. Not even close.
    Time to move on.

  • TruthTeller

    How much money did WVU accept to lose?
    That is the real question.

  • TruthTeller

    You people just don't get it. There are no real games anymore. The Elite pay off teams like WVU to lose. The Elite are controlling the out come of all the games so only the rich and bigger schools get all the benefits of winning. Since WVU moved to the Big 12 there will be no more BCS bowls. No more NCAA tournament trips. The Elite are paying all of these teams millions to lose and not to be a threat to the richer and bigger schools. That is how WVU can shoot the lights out against the smaller schools but can't make even a free throw against the richer and bigger schools.
    Am I the only one that sees what is going on?
    You sheeple need to wake up!!! All these games are fixed anymore. So that the rich and bigger can collect all the benefits including the best recruits. GAME OVER

  • Dave

    Good to see you drop "rout" out of the story headline.

  • Lou Reed

    Mr.Taylor,what is the deal with Macon ? Is it grades or what ? It shouldn't take the NCAA this long to check a kids grades.

  • Crockett

    Huggins needs to quit benching players every time they make one bad play!! I'm sure they are always looking over their shoulders.

    One bad shot = 10 minutes of bench time ... and it's your best player? Nice!!!

    No wonder we can't get the best recruits.

  • Dave

    Don't know how you can call it a rout when West Virginia outscored Mizzou by 5 in the second half and the difference in the game was only 9 points. We've lost a couple tough games but I like how this team has a never give in attitude. We definitely need some bigger and tougher guys under the basket. Huggins is a great coach and I liked his attitude with this young group of guys tonight.

  • Low Rider

    Nice effort in the 2nd half, but yet another loss to a top 30 team. WVU's last win against a "relevant" opponent was against Pitt in February of 2012. With Gonzaga and Purdue games coming up over the next 10 days, let's see if the Mountaineers can pick up a victory over a power team.


    WVU sure does miss an inside game. Teams know the only game this bunch has is an outside game. When and if Macon and Holton become eligible, It will help them out. Until then, look for teams to put a lot of pressure on the perimeter shooters. Still need, penetration and kick outs to help open the shooters.I think some of them, need a little talk about passing and teamwork, instead of worrying about double doubles!!

  • Say What?

    I listened to the game. Very poor offensive output. 22 points in the first half is unacceptable. And our foul shooting continues to suck.

  • Cardinal

    All we can do is pray that this is NOT a prelude to the rest of the season.

  • William

    Never ever in the game, that is called a BIG ROUT!

  • Robert

    This team looks better than last year's. We had a very poor offensive start to the game, and never seemed to recover. But good overall effort. We didn't win this one, but it was a good road test for our young team. Looking forward to conference play.

  • mark

    I still like this team very much. Even when they were down and couldn't make a shot, they maintained a positive attitude and encouraged their teammates. Good character is a good start toward rebuilding the program. Kudos to Coach Huggins for not screaming at or denigrating his players. He is doing more teaching this year and it will pay off in the end. Add Holton and Macon to this mix, and we are looking pretty good down the road.

    • 4WVUinKY

      Good post Mark. Getting those two in the mix will help down low where we need a spark.

      This team has a positive attitude and approach to the game and they are focused on helping each other. I can see them coming together very nicely as the season moves forward. Love these guys for their spirit, work ethic, and perseverence. Good things are happening. We all should support these young men and their efforts. Go eers!

    • Robert

      I agree mark. That was a good display of team character tonight. There is a bright future with this team as they gain more and more experience.

    • William

      That's good, add Holton & Macon to the mixed and have TURMOIL in the locker room!

      Those are NOT the type of players that I would want to see in a WVU uniform!

      The more recruiting "Sweatsuit" Huggins does, the more I am disliking WVU basketball!

  • 4WVUinKY

    That's OK boys...we true Mountaineer fans still love ya! Keep working together and you will be successful.