Isiaih Mosley helps Mizzou men’s basketball win against Mississippi Valley State

From Calum McAndrew Special to Post-Dispatch

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Nick Collins briefly threatened to give Missouri and Dennis Gates men’s basketball a November nightmare, but Nick Honor and Isiaih Mosley quickly and forcefully pulled the Tigers out of the early slump.

Mississippi Valley State came into Mizzou Arena on Sunday as the second-worst team out of the 363 in Division I, according to KenPom, and an 83-62 win for the Tigers is unlikely to change that ranking much. But the Delta Devils kept it awkward for much longer than most expected.

The Tigers ran away with the game in the second half after going into halftime with a three-point lead. That can be pinned en masse on Mosley’s shoulders.

Between the 15- and 10-minute marks of the second half, he scored 10 of the Tigers’ 12 points that helped move them out of upset territory and displayed a variety of what made him such an exciting newcomer.

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Mosley connected on consecutive 3-point attempts; He drove between traffic twice before sinking a delicate left-hander layup under pressure. He unleashed a thunderous dunk that drew the loudest cheer of the night from the Mizzou Arena crowd.

Gates has praised the Missouri state transfer for working past the sniper day he was billed for. But against Mississippi Valley State, he showed signs of the player promised to Missouri fans.

Overall, he finished the evening with 18 points in 7-of-14 shooting.

And this form came at a good time.

In the early stages of the game, Missouri keeper D’Moi Hodge and Mississippi Valley State keeper Terry Collins traded points. Hodge shot 3 of 3 to open the game, all from beyond the arc. Collins went 4 of 4, two of which came from deep, and the Tigers had a slim lead.

But when Hodge checked out, Collins – at times – seemingly had the place to himself. By the end of the half, Collins had 22 of the Delta Devils’ 37 points. He had managed 15 shots from the field, including seven relatively open looks from deep. And he single-handedly held the visitors to three points before the break.

One of the few reasons the Tigers even had a three-point lead was due to MU’s point guard honor wasting little sparingly throughout the evening. If he had an open look, he’d take a shot — something Gates emphasized in his first few weeks as Missouri coach.

And he often gave the looks that Honor had. He was the first player to reach double digits for the Tigers, grabbing a pair of top-of-the-key 3s to get there.

Honor finished the night with the 10-point mark he had achieved in the first half, but his performance was much bigger than his score. He proved a creative spark on a number of Missouri possessions while the game was tight — hardly a surprise for a player who has led the Tigers with 3.5 assists per game so far this season.

He helped Kobe Brown, who had a quiet opening half, announce his presence in a familiar manner early in the second half. From the top of the key, where Honor roamed most of the evening punishing MVSU, he rebounded a through-post pass to Brown, where the All-SEC selection is most dangerous. Brown edged a defender out of the way before springing up for an easy finish.

Moments after one assist, Honor had another — part of a season-high six assists.

The Clemson transfer was the player Gates sent to a full-court press early in the second half, and Honor made it work. He grabbed a steal near half-court, charged forward and threaded a pass to Hodge in step, who didn’t need a second invitation to plunge the Tigers into their first double-digit lead of the night with 15 minutes to go.

And Hodge was back in scoring mood after a game after posting a season-high 31 points for the Tigers. Though his early production waned, he still managed to lead Missouri with 18 points on 12-of-17 shooting.

The scoreless Tigers fit that bill again as Gates and Co. improved to 5-0.

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