As mentioned in last night's podcast, your Trifecta was Ramsey-Bowers-Tiller. Your winner: NOBODY. Sigh.
Before we get to the game analysis, here are some links.
- MUtigers.com: Mizzou Outlasts Clemson, 86-78
- ESPN.com: Mizzou goes back to basics to beat Clemson
The Trib: Missouri swarms Clemson
The Trib: Seniors steal spotlight
The Trib: MU's 'different style of fast' all the difference
The Trib: Huggins gets to the point
The Missourian: Senior Tigers speak up in NCAA Tournament win over Clemson
The Missourian: Bowers dunks spur Missouri
KC Star: MU gets back on winning track with 86-78 win over Clemson
KC Star: Mizzou braces for West Virginia's best punchKC Star (Upon Further Review): Missouri Basketball: They ARE Who We Thought They WEREKC Star (Upon Further Review): MU and A&M Round 2 Previews and Predictions
Post-Dispatch: Missouri defeats Clemson in first round of NCAA Tournament
Post-Dispatch: Missouri's coach has some insight on West Virginia
PowerMizzou: Tigers find form in first round win
PowerMizzou: Round one highlights: Missouri-Clemson
The State: Clemson pressured into first-round defeat
The State: Purnell not worried about perception
- Greenville News: Clemson makes early exit in NCAA Tournament
Mizzou 86, Clemson 78
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||60.8%||56.4%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||11||13|
Our Identity > Your Identity
As mentioned on last night's podcast, it seemed Mizzou won this game because they were more confident and unwavering in their identity than Clemson was in theirs. Mizzou still couldn't buy a 3-pointer, at least from anyone other than Kim English, but they absolutely swarmed a swarming Clemson team, outdoing them 5-to-1 in the BCI battle, fighting them to a near-draw on the glass, and overcoming any sort of hot shooting Clemson managed, particularly in the first half. They were relentless, forcing 20 turnovers and registering 15 steals, and it was so much fun to watch.
Mizzou shot 61.0% on 2-pointers. Repeat: Mizzou shot 61.0% on 2-pointers!!! It's amazing how much better a team you are when the shots roll in, eh? Really, though, pressure and passing earned Mizzou a ton of easy looks, and they're going to need at least as many easy looks to have a shot against West Virginia.
The Key Sequence.
For a while, it felt like Mizzou had control of the flow of the game but wasn't taking advantage of it. They had forced a boatload of Clemson turnovers but trailed 50-47 with 14:30 left after a Jerai Grant and-one dunk (Grant was every bit the force we feared he would be today). It looked as if a) we were heading for a down-to-the-wire ending and b) Clemson's identity might be about to overtake Mizzou's. But then we saw the following progression of possessions:
- Kim English 3-pointer (50-50)
- J.T. Tiller steal, gets to the line, makes 1 of 2 FTs (51-50 MU)
- Jerai Grant missed chippie, English rebound
- English 3-pointer off Denmon assist (54-50)
- Foul on Tiller, two Demontez Stitt free throws (54-52)
- Stitt steal, Booker miss, Booker rebound and miss, Grant rebound and miss, Ramsey rebound
- Sassy crossover and jumper from Denmon (56-52)
- Charge on Stitt
- Mike Dixon miss, Bowers rebound, fouled and makes 1 of 2 FTs (57-52)
- David Potter missed chippie, Mizzou rebound, Dixon fouled by Tanner Smith, makes 2 FTs (59-52)
- Andre Young 3-pointer after Dixon gets crossed upon a double-team (59-55)
- Six seconds later ... Dixon long outlet pass to Denmon, who fights off two CU players for the ball, finds open Bowers for big dunk (61-55)
It wasn't a major run or anything -- Mizzou outscored Clemson just 11-5 over a 3-minute span. But after deriving a small lead playing Clemson's preferred pace, Clemson landed a strong shot in Young's corner 3, and Dixon immediately struck right back with the long outlet pass after getting burned. It was the perfect example of Mizzou refusing to back down from their style of play, and it gave them a lead they would never relinquish. After a couple of minutes of stagnant play at 61-55, Mizzou got rolling again with a Tiller steal and alley-oop to Bowers, and from then on, it was just fun.
Clemson got within less than six twice the rest of the game, but both times saw a perfect Mizzou answer. Stitt made a 3-pointer to cut Mizzou's lead to 74-69 with 3:30 left, but superior Mizzou passing ended up getting them a Bowers layup 17 seconds later. Then, with 0:41 left, Stitt made another 3-pointer to bring Clemson within 82-78. But after a timeout, CU set up their press, went to force a turnover ... and a Keith Ramsey dunk nine seconds later put the game away. Aside from one near-disaster on a Kim English pass with about 1:20 left (I think ... MMOD doesn't have video yet, so I'm relying on unreliable memory) and was almost intercepted before Denmon secured it and called timeout, Mizzou's ball-handling was just perfect. Mizzou's final turnover came with 5:09 left in the game, and without creating extra possessions, Clemson just could not catch up.
Mizzou Player Stats
|Keith Ramsey||24.8||0.73||34 Min, 20 Pts (8-for-11 FG), 8 Reb (4 Off), 4 Ast, 3 Stl|
|Laurence Bowers||17.5||0.53||33 Min, 15 Pts (6-for-10 FG), 5 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 3 Stl|
|J.T. Tiller||12.1||0.50||24 Min, 10 Pts (4-for-7 FG), 5 Ast, 5 Stl, 3 Reb (2 Off), 3 TO|
|Kim English||10.0||0.42||24 Min, 20 Pts (6-for-14 FG, 4-for-7 3PT), 3 Reb, 2 TO|
|Mike Dixon||6.1||0.41||15 Min, 8 Pts (2-for-4 FG), 2 Ast, 2 Reb, 2 TO|
|Marcus Denmon||4.2||0.23||18 Min, 8 Pts (3-for-9 FG, 0-for-5 3PT), 3 Ast|
|Steve Moore||3.5||0.30||12 Min, 0 Pts (0-for-0 FG), 3 Reb, 2 Stl|
|Zaire Taylor||3.1||0.10||31 Min, 3 Pts (0-for-1 FG), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO|
|Miguel Paul||1.7||0.19||9 Min, 2 Pts (1-for-2 FG)|
|John Underwood||0.0||0.00||0+ Min|
* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game. The "adjustment" in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game's points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.
- God bless you, Keith Ramsey. Against a team with outstanding perimeter defense, Mizzou shot only 5-for-17 from 3-point range. Typically that means death for Mizzou, but thanks to transition opportunities and some downright strong marksmanship from Ramsey, Mizzou still scored in the mid-80s. If this is how he responds to me suggesting we might miss him more than any other senior, then I'm going to say it again before tomorrow's game!
- Dear World,
Do you love Laurence Bowers yet? Does he need to throw down a few more dunks tomorrow to win you over forever and ever? Just checking.
- Ten assists or steals from J.T. Tiller. We really did get the absolute best versions of Ramsey and Tiller yesterday ... they clearly didn't want it to be their last time wearing Mizzou jerseys. Meanwhile, Zaire Taylor didn't add much to the box score, but as RPT said on the podcast ... he was Zaire Taylor. Offense was flowing from other spots on the court, so he never forced the issue, distributed the ball, took only one shot, and did what his team needed -- play good perimeter defense, not turn the ball over, speed up the transition game, win.
- Nice game, Mike Dixon. Eight points on just four shots (thanks to some lovely free throw shooting), a pair of assists and a pair of rebounds in 15 minutes? Nice freshman we've got there.
- Good thinking, Marcus Denmon, getting all your misses out of the way on Friday to pave the way for a whole lotta makes on Sunday.
Three Keys Revisited
From Tuesday's preview.
Who Gets Hot? Anyone?
A lot of people got hot, actually, and most of them played for Clemson. Kim English utilized a couple of nice rolls to go 4-for-7 from 3-point range, but he was trumped considerably by some Clemson shooters -- Andre Young went 5-for-8, Demontez Stitt went 4-for-5, and Noel Johnson went 2-for-4. In all, CU went 12-for-24 from long range, resulting in about nine more points they could have typically expected had they shot their season 3-point average. Because Kimmeh was able to offset some of the damage done by Clemson's flood of 3's, and because Mizzou's ball-handling advantage was so extreme, the 3 didn't end up making as big a difference as it could have.
In terms of expected rebounds, Clemson ended the game with a +3 margin over Mizzou. Honestly, that's a victory for Mizzou. Clemson entered the game with a significant advantage on the offensive glass, and they certainly grabbed a couple more offensive boards than they should have, but in all Mizzou was able to stay within reach of Clemson on the glass, and that helped them considerably. Do the same against WVU (easier said than done), and they'll have an even better chance.
As you've seen, Mizzou typically wins the BCI battle even in losses, but they were just masterful yesterday. A 5-to-1 ball-handling advantage against a team as reliant on turnovers as they are? How exactly was Clemson supposed to win with that disadvantage? Clemson outrebounded Mizzou and made as many 3's as they're capable of making, and they lost by eight.
That was just a nice, feel-good win, wasn't it? I don't know what else there is to say. In some regards, Clemson played better than I expected them to play, but Mizzou unrolled the prettiest, most fun version of their game and style, and they're still dancing because of it.