By: John M. Morrisroe, KCOU Sports
The Missouri men’s basketball team opened up their regular season against the University of Missouri-Kansas City with an unexpected 69-61 loss. The Kangaroos spoiled the start of the Kim Anderson era with strong defense and a disruptive style of play to beat the flagship state school.
Head coach Kim Anderson was visibly frustrated by the play of his alma mater, which had trouble getting the ball in the net early. In the first half, Missouri only scored 24 points and was held to a 33% shooting percentage.
UMKC was impressive in Mizzou Arena on Friday night, managing to convert 79% of their plentiful free throw opportunities against an uneasy Mizzou defense. Martez Harrison was the best of the bunch, scoring 26 points on the night to keep the Tigers reeling.
There were opportunities for the Tigers to swing the momentum in their favor, but had trouble converting in key spots where they could tie the game back up. On two occasions Missouri was only a three-point shot away from tying the game up and had the 7,014 in attendance on their feet, but the Kangaroos’ defense was able to press Mizzou in those key spots and force the stop.
The three-point shot was not kind to the Tigers on the night; Mizzou made only five times in 23 attempts for a lackluster 22% conversion rate. The entire offense of Missouri looked unprepared for the game, with sloppy handling and passing common throughout the night.
The game was the first for head coach Kim Anderson, who replaced Frank Haith and had to build a team that lost its best three scorers in Jordan Clarkson, Earnest Ross, and Jabari Brown. Anderson was left with Haith’s leftovers and has rebuilt the Tigers by recruiting strongly. Montaque Gill-Caesar, a true freshman and top recruit from Huntington Prep, was the best scorer for the Tigers on Friday with 21 points.
Mizzou will take on Valparaiso on Sunday, November 16, at 5 p.m. Catch the action on KCOU, and online at KCOU.fm and click the blue box.