By Jake Fein
Missouri men’s basketball got its 2018-19 season underway against the visiting Central Arkansas Bears on a rainy Tuesday night. The Midterm elections stunted the Tiger fans turnout, but that didn’t stop the Tigers on the court as they rolled to a 68-55 win.
Despite its 1-0, Missouri is going to have a lot to pick apart in the film room before traveling to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State on Friday for the team’s next gaem. The glaring issue in the box score is the field goal percentage.
The Tigers were inefficient, plain and simple, and 42 percent from the field isn’t going to win you a lot of basketball games. Another flaw in the Tiger’s win was their performance from the charity stripe. 6-13 free throws is just bad, and if the Tigers want to compete in any of their high profile games, they are going to have to take advantage of opportunities like that.
Nonetheless, there were plenty of bright spots in the Missouri’s win. Sophomore guard Mark. Smith. As soon as news of sophomore forward and team leader Jontay Porter’s season-ending ACL injury hit the airwaves, the question for Mizzou became: who would step into the spotlight?
Mark Smith did just that.
Cleared to play just 11 days ago after transferring from rival Illinois, Smith made it clear he came to play by draining three straight three-pointers in under 2 minutes. He had plenty of action in the paint as well, pulling down 10 rebounds on his way to a double-double. Smith finished with 19 points and 5 three-pointers. Aside from the foul trouble, sophomore center Jeremiah Tilmon shined in the paint for the Tigers. Tilmon had 14 points shooting 8 -for-14 from the field. He was a problem in the paint for the Bears, as the Tigers kept feeding him, and he kept finding ways to bully his way to the hoop.
Central Arkansas came to Columbia not expecting much, and left pleasantly surprised. They were able to give the Tigers a run for their money, taking advantage of their slow start and headed into the locker room only down 10 at half.
Forward Eddy Kayouloud brought his A-game with him to Mizzou Arena. He scored 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting and added 6 rebounds to his box score. Forward Deandre Jones also came to play, dropping 14 points and going a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. However, if the Bears want to have sustained success, they won’t be able to rely on Jones and Kayouloud like they did tonight. Those two combined for over half of the Bears’ points and no one else was able to step up for Central Arkansas.
Walking away from this game, Mizzou has a lot to work on if they want to come close to competing in the SEC, and Central Arkansas should be energized heading home after hanging with the Tigers on the road.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org