February 27, 2009

Bowers makes the most of his minutes

The questions have become so regular, so predictable, that Mike Anderson greets them now with a knowing chuckle. There has to be a way to get Laurence Bowers more minutes, doesn't there?

"I keep scratching my head," Anderson said. "It's time for him to go now."

Bowers has seen increased time on the court of late. And go he has.

With a 16-point, six rebound outburst against Kansas State, Bowers continued to state his case as a more regular member of the Tigers' 11-man rotation.

"Playing behind two great players in DeMarre and Leo, they're two potential pros, I just think about whenever I get in there, just do something to contribute," Bowers said. "If I don't score points, I need to get rebounds or block shots. But if my offense is going, that's even better you know. (Wednesday), my offense was there."

Most noticeable was a 44-second span at the end of the first half in which Bowers scored six points. The final four came on two offensive tip-ins, both of which occurred in the last six seconds of the half, giving Mizzou a 55-32 edge over Kansas State.

For the season, Bowers is now averaging a point for every two minutes he plays, a rebound for every three. As the Tigers continue to win, Bowers increases the pressure he puts on himself.

"When I get out there for the No. 8 team in the nation, I don't want to be the guy that, I don't know how to say it, but be the guy to not do too well and have it go downhill," Bowers said. "Any time I get out there, I just try to get physical if it's offense, defense, whatever."

If asked, Bowers craves more minutes, like any player. If not, his teammates know he will play his role.

"No matter how much time he gets, when he's called, some people don't really respond to a situation like that," Zaire Taylor said. "He's kind of in a similar situation to Cole Aldrich last year being behind real talented big men. When he was called on, you see what he did to Hansbrough and things like that."

On Sunday, Bowers will get another close-up view of the player to whom Taylor compares him. Aldrich, a reserve on Kansas' national title team a year ago, is now averaging a double-double and will likely be a first-team all-Big 12 selection. Could his sophomore season hold the same for Missouri's freshman forward? Only time will tell.

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