By: Ben Krakow
The Missouri Basketball teams began their 2016-17 seasons with their Halloween Hoops event at Mizzou Arena on Friday night in front of a fairly small crowd.
The women’s team was scheduled to scrimmage first, but that was cancelled due to the team having numerous injuries and already having had a full scrimmage yesterday according to Head Coach Robin Pingeton. Senior forward Jordan Frericks will miss the season with a torn right ACL. Frericks was a 2nd team All-SEC player last year voted on by the other SEC coaches and was the team’s leading rebounder the last three years. She plans to redshirt this season and return next season. Pingeton also announced to the crowd that the team had collectively gained 33 pounds of muscle during the offseason.
Instead of scrimmaging, several of the players came out and performed a dance routine to Beyonce’s “Formation” to the delight of the crowd.
A three-point contest and a dunk contest followed the dance routine. Each three-point contest team consisted of one player from each of the teams along with a fan from the crowd chosen through a raffle.
The team of Cullen Van Leer, Sierra Michaelis, and a fan won the three-point contest. The dunk contest consisted of Jordan Barnett, Adam Wolf, Reed Nikko, and Mitchell Smith. The contest was two rounds long and Barnett defeated Wolf in the finals. Barnett, the transfer from the University of Texas, had a couple of highlight real dunks including a 360 windmill dunk and a finishing slam after a jump over Truman the Tiger, the mascot, to seal the victory. Barnett said afterwards that he got inspiration from watching dunks of Indiana Pacers star Paul George.
“A lot of people tell me I look like Paul George. The 360 windmill, that’s Paul George,” Barnett said.
Before the scrimmage, Head Coach Kim Anderson surprised the crowd by hiding in a coffin and then suddenly appearing from the coffin. Legendary Missouri coach Norm Stewart who Anderson played for in the 1970’s, reportedly did this back in the 1980’s. Anderson announced to the crowd the meaning behind the coffin.
“Many others have buried us. We hope to prove them wrong this year.”
The Men’s team then proceeded to scrimmage pitting the more experienced Black team versus the younger Gold Team. The scrimmage consisted of two eight minute halves with one timeout in each of them. The black team defeated the gold team 35-22. Anderson said after the scrimmage he was much more pleased with the first half of basketball than the second half.
“I thought the first half for the blackshirts was pretty good,” Anderson said.
Among the highlights of the scrimmage was Barnett, who is not eligible to play until December 17th due to NCAA transfer rules, scoring 11 points including going 3-6 from three-point range. Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear had 10 rebounds. Anderson had challenged Puryear to become a better rebounder and Puryear said after the scrimmage that he was focused on his rebounding.
“After my first couple, I got into a nice little rythym…. I’m always open to new challenges. Rebounding is a weakness of mine. Coach Anderson challenged me about that. I kind of make it a focal point now. I think I’m going to be a better player because of it,” Puryear said.
Sophomore guard Jordan Geist who is new to the team after transferring from Ranger College, did not play in the scrimmage due to an issue with his right pinkie finger. Anderson said after the scrimmage that the pinkie is not broken, but Geist will have more tests on Monday. According to Anderson, if it is a tendon injury, Geist could miss several weeks.
Both Missouri basketball teams will play exhibition games this week at Mizzou Arena against Central Missouri. The Women’s team will play on Tuesday while the Men’s team will play their first real game in front of fans on Friday night. Both game times are set for 7pm. Anderson did confirm the Men’s team will play what is called a “secret scrimmage” on Sunday that is closed to the public.
Update: The scrimmage was versus Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska. The Tigers tied the 23rd ranked Blue Jays 41-41 in the first twenty-minute stand-alone half. The Blue Jays had a 45-31 advantage in the 2nd half. Missouri freshman Frankie Hughes led the Tigers with 22 points on 9-21 shooting from the field. Freshman Willie Jackson and Puryear each had 12 points. Sophomore point guard Terrence Phillips had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. Sophomore K.J. Walton (flu like symptoms), Geist (wrist), and Barnett (NCAA transfer rules), all did not play in the scrimmage for the Tigers. The scrimmage was an improvement for Missouri after they lost by more than 30 to Creighton in a similar scrimmage at this time last year.