Mizzou Disappointing Couldn’t Come at a Better Time
By: Langston Newsome
In a 66-59 victory over Central Missouri, the Missouri Tigers showed two distinctly different teams. In the first half Mizzou couldn’t buy a bucket, only hitting one jump shot in the entire half. While in the second Mizzou showed the complete opposite going 5-6 from deep, giving players more space in the paint.
With a 19-44 record in his first two years at Missouri, year three for head coach Kim Anderson is of massive importance. The first step in this year’s team begins against Anderson’s former school Central Missouri. Anderson lead UCM to the Division II Championship win over West Liberty in 2014. “Lot of great memories there with University of Central Missouri,” Kim Anderson said. “But when the game started it was another team.”
The first night was a win, but not as successful night that the Tigers had hoped for. “This is the best thing that could have happened to us,” Kim Anderson said. “We have a group that are great guys, they really really are. But I think maybe we needed a little bit of a wake up call.”
The first half offensively was awful. The Tigers missed their first four shots to begin the game. Before free throws from senior Russell Woods opened things up for the Tigers. It was clear that in this game both teams would rely heavily on defensive pressure to stay in competitive. In the first five minutes of action the Tigers shot an abysmal 1-8 (13%) from the field.
Mizzou and UCM struggled from long range early combing for 0-10 from three point range at the 13 minute mark in the first half. It wasn’t until 8:45 in the first that a three pointer went down, a splash from the right wing by Brad Woodson. Mizzou did a great job attacking the rim early, however the Mules can easily sink into the paint, no threat of outside shooting.
“To be candid with you I think we played nervous,” Anderson said. At 3:25 in the first half Mizzou hit’s their first outside shot, a straight away three from sophomore Cullen Vanleer.
At the half Mizzou lead 23-19, the Tigers were only leading by four after the Mules shot 19%. “We just played too fast,” Sophomore Terrence Phillips said. “We want to push the tempo. We want to get out and go. But I think offensively in the first half we played too fast and got away from everything we’ve been doing.”
To start the second half Central Missouri really settled on offense, getting into offensive sets quicker and cleaner. Tying up the game at 28 with 16:21 left in the game. Defensively UCM has started out the half strong inside the paint, with three huge blocks within the first five minutes.
Frankie Hughes, Reed Nikko, and Jordan Geist saved Mizzou from an embarrassing loss in the second half. Hughes and Geist started to heat up with from deep starting the half 5-5. This stretch the floor and allowed No. 14 Reed Nikko room to work down low. Those three combined for 31 of Mizzou’s 43 second half points.
One bright spot for Mizzou was going on a 12-3 run after the game was tied at 32-32. And from there truly taking control of the game.
The game’s highest scorer was UCM’s Kyle Wolf with 16 points; a former recruit of Kim Anderson. Freshman Frankie Hughes led Mizzou in scoring with 15. “As the game started going on I did get more comfortable,” Hughes said. “I started getting a feel for the game. That really helped.”
Coach Anderson called the mood postgame, “most disappointed winning locker room I’ve ever seen.” Then alluded to canceling the day off that was planned for tomorrow, wanting another day of practice. Mizzou opens their regular season next Sunday Nov. 13 at home against Alabama A&M.