Stats and notes from Missouri’s exhibition win
Missouri opens the regular season Tuesday against Tennesee-Martin at Mizzou Arena. But before the real action begins, we’ll take what we can from the Tigers’ 83-60 exhibition win against Northwest Missouri State.
Mike Dixon Jr.: The freshman guard didn’t play in the first half because he broke a team rule, coach Mike Anderson said after the game. Dixon Jr. ended a sluggish stretch for Missouri when he entered the game a few minutes into the second half, scoring 6 quick points.
Fast break points: Northwest Missouri State – 15, Missouri – 12
This isn’t a scenario Anderson wants to see repeated during the regular season. The Tigers define themselves on playing fast and getting easy, uncontested baskets.
Points off turnovers: Missouri – 38, NW Mo. St. – 8
That’s more like it.
Kim English: 3-13 field goals, 2-7 3-point field goals
Mike Anderson said English is simply pressing and that he hasn’t fallen trap to a funky shooting motion, like he did at a point last season. Laurence Bowers agreed.
“Everybody goes through a slump or whatever, but Kimmie being the good shooter that he is, he’s just going to have to shoot through it,” Bowers said. “In practice, he’s real consistent. I think he just had an off night tonight.”
Missouri shooting: Field goals – 38 percent, 3-point field goals – 23.5 percent
For a period in the first half, the Tigers settled for jump shots, which Anderson called “white collar” play after the game. Missouri made just 7 of 33 3-pointers in its two exhibition game.
Bench steals the show: In his postgame press conference, Anderson praised his bench for turning the game around. Anderson said his starters looked lethargic and didn’t play with energy in the first half, but bench players like Laurence Bowers and Marcus Denmon brought the energy when they entered the game.
“Our bench production is essential,” Zaire Taylor said. “That was our identity last year, and that’s going to be a strong part of our team this year.”
Anderson said his bench was his “blue collar” crew tonight, getting to the basket and making plays.
“We’ve got to be a blue collar (team) because you’re not going to shoot it great every night, and we know that,” he said.
Who’s it gonna be?: Asked who will take the role of lead scorer for Missouri, Anderson pointed right to Bowers, whom Anderson continues to praise time after time.
“I tell you right now the guy that’s being consistent is Laurence Bowers,” Anderson said.
Bowers led Missouri in scoring in both exhibition games (14 vs. Truman State; 13 tonight vs. NW Mo. State).
Step Forward: Anderson said the team’s biggest question mark remains determining the forward rotation.
“Still the question mark is within our forward position,” he said. “I think we’ve got to establish the guys that are going to be there in our rotation.”
Bowers, Justin Safford and Keith Ramsey are all proven and would seem to see similar minutes. Steve Moore figures to be key to how Anderson will rotate his big men. Anderson said Moore improved greatly over the summer and will be a factor despite being a back-to-the-basket forward. Moore scored four points and had one rebound in 11 minutes tonight.
By: Alex Ruppenthal