Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  By Stan McNeal  |  Last updated 1/9/14
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- If you were starting to believe the Missouri Tigers were working on a special season, you might want to stop. At least for now. Special seasons are difficult to come by when you lose your conference opener to a team ranked 251st in the RPI ratings. Especially when you're playing at home, where you had won 26 straight. And after you've just climbed to No. 21 in the rankings after an impressive 12-1 showing in non-conference play. Actually, moving up to a season-high spot in the polls proved to be the biggest obstacle the Tigers faced in their 70-64 overtime loss to Georgia Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena. It was almost like the Tigers believed all they needed to do was show up and the W would be there by the end of the night. Who needs urgency when you're in the Top 25, right? "The guys will tell you, I hate the word 'cool,'" Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "We were really too cool. Cool will get you beat. Cool got us beat tonight." Georgia was not cool. Georgia was inspired. Georgia was playing for a coach, Mark Fox, who had been away from his team to attend the funeral of his father, Raymond Fox, who died last Saturday. The Bulldogs came out fighting, grabbed an 8-0 lead, and didn't stop. Even when the Tigers showed signs of playing up to their ranking, the Bulldogs bounced back. They fell behind by 5 with 2:51 left in overtime, then outscored the Tigers 12-1 the rest of the way. Twice, the Bulldogs' Nemanja Djurisic found himself open right under the basket for easy layups. On another possession, he was left open for a deep 3-pointer that he nailed. Georgia dominated where effort matters most, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds and scoring 40 points in the paint. They out-boarded the Tigers, 43-34, an impressive showing for a team that has had its troubles in said category. "Rebounding is effort," Haith said. "They went with way more tenacity than we did. They're long, they're athletic, and you have to check those guys off the glass. We did not. They played inspired, came in and whipped our tails." Still, the Bulldogs had plenty of moments when they played down to their standing as the SEC's lowest-ranked team. They missed eight of their first 10 free throws. They threw at least two out-of-bounds passes to no one. They blew a 30-25 halftime lead by missing nine of their first 12 shots after the intermission. They had a chance to go up by five points with 1:07 left but missed two free throws. But the Tigers did not take advantage. Give Georgia some credit for excelling in another area that had given it problems during its 6-6 non-conference schedule. That would be defense. Fox said the last time he talked to his father was on Christmas Day and his dad, a former high school coach, offered some blunt advice. "You need to play some damn defense," Fox said his dad told him. "He was right." Georgia turned up the defense on Tigers' leading scorer Jordan Clarkson, who missed 10 of 14 shots and finished with 12 points, one game after scoring only 11 against Long Beach State. Clarkson hit a deep 3 late in regulation to tie the game, but could not get off a clean shot at the buzzer that could have allowed Missouri to escape with a victory. While Georgia had guards that matched up nicely against the 6-5 Clarkson, Haith thought his point guard's biggest problem was self-induced. "Jordan has to pass the ball," Haith said. "He's got to get that ball in and out of his hands. The ball stuck way too much tonight." Don't pin too much responsibility for this one on Clarkson, though. This was a team-wide effort, or lack thereof. "I really sensed it this week, preparing," Haith said. "We didn't have the right look about us. The (lack of) toughness thing is something that's hard for a coach to accept. You gotta compete. We didn't compete." Said Jabari Brown, who scored a game-high 19: "We're going to have to learn from it and remember this feeling so we don't have it again." The sting of defeat will linger at least until Saturday when the Tigers play at Auburn. It figures to take much longer to regain the feeling that this could be a special season. You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker