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01/16/2013 11:26 PM EST
No. 17 Missouri whips struggling Georgia 79-62
MISSOURI 79, GEORGIA 62

By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri's second game without Laurence
Bowers went a lot better than the first.



Alex Oriakhi had 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting, eight rebounds
and four blocks without the 6-foot-9 Bowers as an inside
complement to help the 17th-ranked Tigers rebound from their
biggest loss of the season with a 79-62 victory over Georgia on
Wednesday night.



"I knew it was a game where I had to demand the ball and post up
strong," Oriakhi said. "I knew I had an advantage inside and my
teammates did a great job of finding me, and when they missed
shots I did my best to clean it up."



Coach Frank Haith said he wasn't sure if Bowers, who leads
Missouri with a 16.8-point average and is second with 6.9
rebounds, would be ready Saturday at No. 10 Florida. Bowers has
a sprained right knee.



"Oh, he's doing great, he's actually doing really well," Haith
said. "We got some really good news at how it's coming along. I
still don't know that he'll play Saturday, but we're really
pleased with his progress thus far."



Even with Bowers in street clothes at the end of the bench,
Georgia had its hands full.



"In some ways, it makes them more difficult to defend when he's
not in the game," coach Mark Fox said. "I know he's a terrific
player, but he doesn't shoot the 3 quite as much as some of
these other guys."



Earnest Ross scored 15 points while surviving two spills for the
Tigers (13-3, 2-1 SEC), who were held to a season-low 49 points
in a 15-point loss at Mississippi on Saturday. Missouri is 10-0
at home this season and 26-1 at the Mizzou Arena in two seasons
under Haith.



Vincent Williams had a career-best 23 points on 7-for-10
shooting for Georgia (6-10, 0-3), nine more than his previous
best after entering with a 4.1-point average. Kentavious
Caldwell-Pope, the Bulldogs' lone player averaging in double
figures, added 15 points.



"Vincent's really the only player who's been in our program for
the three-and-a-half years I've been there," Fox said. "And he
knows what we're supposed to do, how we're supposed to
function."



Ross was held to three points at Mississippi while missing six
of seven shots, Oriakhi had four points and six rebounds and
Missouri was 2 for 18 from 3-point range. The Tigers were 9 for
22 against Georgia, getting three apiece from Ross and Jabari
Brown, who added 15 points.



"Coach always talks about `How do you handle adversity, how do
you play when things don't go your way?" Oriakhi said. "I think
it was a great test and we'll have to build off this."



Ross missed the last 2:52 of the first half after injuring his
left leg. Then he landed hard on his back after getting fouled
under the basket with just under 6 minutes to go, making one of
two free throws not long before limping to the bench for good.



"Earnest is OK," Haith said. "Earnest played great, he was very
aggressive and all over the court. He's an energy guy."



Georgia is in a stretch of three Top 25 opponents in five games
that started with a 33-point loss at Florida Jan. 9 and ends
with Florida, now No. 10, at home on Jan. 23. The Bulldogs have
lost three straight but shot 46 percent.



"I see us heading pretty far, we'll be fine," Williams said.
"Just a tough start, we'll be fine."



Haith juggled his lineup, with forwards Tony Criswell and Stefan
Jankovic each getting their first start in place of Ross and
Keion Bell. Jankovic scored Missouri's first five points but
lasted just 4 minutes in the half after drawing three fouls, the
last just 37 seconds after re-entering.



"Stefan, he puts his hands on everybody," Haith said. "Those are
easy fouls for the referees when you do that."



Bell got a lot of work at point guard in relief of Pressey, who
had five points and six assists in 30 minutes, and had 14 points
and four assists.



Ross scored a career-high 30 points for Auburn against Georgia
on Feb. 5, 2011.



The Tigers hit five 3-pointers and twice led by 14 points in the
first half, but were outscored 8-2 over the last 3 1/2 minutes
as Georgia shaved the gap to eight points at the break.



Six players were whistled for at least two fouls in the first
half, four from Missouri.

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