Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
The Mizzou point guard is turning heads early, which is exactly what was predicted of the team's best player.
The Missouri Tigers failed to win the Battle 4 Atlantis title, but it's clear that they are a tougher team than when they first came after playing several strong opponents back to back in the loaded tournament. Last night's win over Virginia Commonwealth was just the latest match-up against a team they could likely see again in the NCAA Tourney, and the Tigers came up big when they needed it. To be specific, Phil Pressey came up big.
Pressey scored Missouri's final five points and put the team over the top, 68-65. The star point guard finished with 11 points and 8 assists overall and he's averaging 15 points and 6.2 assists per game. It was the sort of close win that helps define a team's ability to deal with pressure and adversity, and Frank Haith has to be proud of his players.
"It was a hard-fought game. Give a lot of credit to Missouri. They made some shots down the stretch," VCU coach Shaka Smart said. "Pressey has to be one of the best point guards in the country. I thought he distributed all night long."
Pressey added that the slate that also included tough games against Stanford and Louisville, the team's only loss in the tourney, will help in the end.
"It's a good way to start your season off, because we played three great teams," Pressey said. "We learned something new every single game."
The Tigers face Appalachian State on December 1.