Day in the Top 25 • No. 22 Notre Dame outlasts Evansville.
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Columbia, Mo. • While rehabbing all last season from a knee injury, Laurence Bowers was able to do a lot of shooting.
The 6-foot-8 forward showed off his increased range in No. 15 Missouri's 83-69 season-opening victory over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Saturday, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and finishing with 20 points and seven rebounds.
The season before he was hurt, Bowers attempted just eight 3-pointers and missed them all.
"I was shooting a ton when I was hurt, so it's paying off," Bowers said. "I've just got to continue to stay after practice and work out."
Coach Frank Haith pointed out that Bowers was on the line or just inside it on two other jumpers while going 9 for 14 overall.
"That's what we challenged him to do, make his game more well-rounded," Haith said. "Laurence, he was excited for Midnight Madness. I think he's just glad to be back, and guys, he's going to get better and better."
Bowers outscored the Cougars 10-2 by himself during a two-minute stretch early in the second half for the Tigers, who are ranked to start the season for a third straight year. Not much later, he dazzled with a tomahawk dunk.
"It felt good," Bowers said. "That's the first time I've dunked in a game in a long time."
Phil Pressey scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half and had nine assists with just two turnovers. Alex Oriakhi, part of a strong transfer class, had 15 rebounds, eight points and three blocked shots.
"Those guys, they're good," SIU Edwardsville coach Lennox Forrester said.
No. 22 Notre Dame 58, Evansville 49 • In South Bend, Ind., Jack Cooley scored the first nine points of the game and finished with 19, Scott Martin had 17 rebounds and Notre Dame beat Evansville in the season opener.
Cooley got the Irish off to a quick start and it wasn't until he took his first breather 5:34 in that another Notre Dame player scored when Eric Atkins hit a jumper. Cooley had 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting in the opening half to help send the Irish into the break with a 28-21 lead.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey limited Cooley's minutes in the second half after the center picked up his third foul on an offensive charge just 1:22 into the period.
Colt Ryan scored 15 and Ryan Sawvell had 12 points for the Purple Aces.