Missouri 72, Gardner-Webb 63: Study Hall

Jamie Squire

Your Trifecta: Ross-JW3-Clarkson. Hard to make the trifecta shooting 3-for-10, but I actually thought JW3 would end up in first place.

First, some links.

MUtigers.com: Strong Second Half Leads To Tigers' 72-63 Win Over Gardner-Webb
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou pulls away from Gardner-Webb
MUtigers.com: Mizzou vs. Gardner-Webb Postgame Quotes

Missouri Interim Head Coach, Tim Fuller

Opening Statement...

"It was a great game for us tonight. Obviously, Coach Craft had his team prepared and they continued to throw different defenses at us. This is only this group's fourth game together. So, I told media earlier before we went out to play that Gardner-Webb has won eight of their last 10 games last year in the Big South, and that is a very respectable conference. They know how to play well together. They know how to win together. That is something that we are still learning. I was pleased with our effort and we have been intentional in our work on the free throw line and we showed we had to make free throws in the second half in order to be successful and get the win and that is what we did. Obviously, Johnathan Williams, III tonight was a career rebounding night for him and was certainly something that I have told people a long time ago that I felt like he could be one of the best rebounders in the country. He has the potential to be one of the best rebounders in the country. He showed that tonight."

On the changing of playing smaller schools and their abilities to compete with larger universities...

"Like I said in my opening statement, this is a group, Gardner-Webb, they won eight of their last 10 games and they have played together a very long time. That is what you get out of some of these smaller schools is that guys aren't thinking about going to the pros. They are thinking about doing the very best they can for their university. This is just our fourth game together as a group and sixth if you include the exhibition games. We are still very much gelling and meshing into the unit that we need to be."

On establishing the offense in the paint...

"Establishing ourselves in the paint is something that we are going to continue to do. We are going to have to bring along paint touches whether it is through our post players or our guards driving the basketball. We are not going to be just a jump shooting basketball team. Then, going from there, we basically have to keep it as an emphasis for us. It something that we just have to continue to work on."

The Trib: Williams dominates glass as Tigers top Gardner-Webb
KC Star: MU beats Gardner-Webb 72-63, now 4-0
KC Star: Missouri gets more paint production from Earnest Ross
The Missourian: Missouri basketball rolls past Gardner-Webb; Antlers ejected from game
Mizzou Network: Highlights: Mizzou Beats Gardner-Webb 72-63
Mizzou Network: Postgame: Tim Fuller Interview after Gardner-Webb win
Mizzou Network: Postgame: Johnathan Williams III interview after Gardner-Webb

Antlers
The Trib: Fan group The Antlers ejected from MU game
The Missourian: Antlers hecklers group ejected from Missouri basketball game

Fuller
The Trib: Fuller learning as he goes in first head-coaching stint filling in for suspended Haith

BRING ON IUPUI
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Basketball Hosts IUPUI Monday
KC Star: Missouri-IUPUI basketball preview

Strange game. In a not-even-half-full Mizzou Arena (about 1,100 more people showed up at the volleyball match Friday night), Gardner-Webb went on runs of 10-2 (early first half), 10-4 (early second), and 13-2 (garbage time) … and got outscored, 64-30, the rest of the way. G-W isn't a very good team (Mizzou fell from 49th to 56th in Ken Pomeroy's rankings after the game), but the Runnin' Bulldogs switched defenses constantly and made a reasonably flat Missouri team work harder than it wanted to work.

It's funny what happens, by the way, when you follow a process correctly and it doesn't work. During the broadcast, Gary Link spoke quite a bit about Mizzou struggling to properly execute against a zone, and he was right. But on Mizzou's first two possessions against zone, the Tigers did everything right and came up empty. On the first, quick ball rotation led to a wide open Jabari Brown 3-pointer, and he missed. On the second, the ball got properly dumped to the 3-point line, then bounced underneath to a cutting, wide open Keanau Post, and he fumbled away the pass. And then Mizzou grew a little bit listless.

This is excusable, especially for a team playing its fourth game with five newcomers in the rotation, but it's worth wondering how this game would have gone if the Tigers had scored five points on those two possessions as they should have. Instead, they had to work quite a bit longer … and really, I have no problem with that.

As for the Antlers getting kicked out ... I wasn't there. I don't know the precise circumstances. But my opinion on the Antlers is, and has always been, complicated. A) I have always liked that they are loud and dedicated and PG-13. I think it lends an air of hostility to Mizzou's basketball environment, and especially in basketball that's a good thing. Lord knows Mizzou's home atmosphere needs all the help it can get during these early-season, building-half-empty games. B) I understand why an athletic department trying to cater to families as much as possible wouldn't think this is as good a thing as I do. C) I think the Antlers have gone out of their way to play the victim at times, doing things they know will get them into a little bit of trouble just so they can get sympathy for getting into trouble from that mean old athletic department.

Anyway, that's the short version. If they got kicked out because of the "SCUM SCUM SCUM" chant, then that's a little silly (they've been doing it forever, and while I understand wanting a family atmosphere, I can't imagine it's difficult to tell a child that they're not being serious when they say "and DIE" -- and yes, I realize they supposedly changed it to "and CRY" this time -- at the end), but ... that was a pretty tired chant. If this results in something new, that might not be an awful thing. While I think Mizzou Arena really needs the Antlers, especially early in the year, they might need a new schtick, too.

Whatever. Let's move on.

Mizzou 72, Gardner-Webb 63

Mizzou
G-W
Pace (No. of Possessions) 70.8
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.02 0.89
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.26 1.13
2-PT FG% 53.5% 34.2%
3-PT FG% 14.3% 33.3%
FT% 80.0% 67.9%
True Shooting % 52.9% 46.1%
Mizzou G-W
Assists 11 10
Steals 9 10
Turnovers 21 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
0.95 1.43
Mizzou G-W
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.1 14.7
Offensive Rebounds 17 11
Difference +4.9 -3.7
  • Granted, a few of the turnovers came during G-W's garbage time run, but ball-handling was one of the two things that kept the Bulldogs in the game for a while. Mizzou was a bit sloppy, and that's not exactly uncharacteristic. Mizzou's now 260th in Turnover Rate on offense (and 210th on defense). FT% aside, the rest of the stats look just fine so far, but that's a concern.
  • The other thing that kept G-W in the game: Mizzou was experiencing a pretty dramatic "regression toward the mean" game from 3-point range. The Tigers aren't as good from long range as they had been so far, so this game -- Mizzou went 2-for-14 -- served as a nice correction for the averages. For the season, Mizzou's still shooting 37.3 percent on 3-pointers. I'll take that.
  • Mizzou's also 48th in Offensive Rebound Rate (Johnathan Williams III is 93rd) and 76th in Defensive Rebound Rate (JW3 is 182nd, Ryan Rosburg 197th). I'll take that, too. The Tigers did some serious work in this regard on Saturday, and it helped to balance out the fact that they were giving some possessions away.
  • The half-empty building did have another effect, I think: Refs could pretty clearly hear what Mizzou players and assistant coaches were saying. Jabari Brown got a T for something he said while walking away from a ref, and if I understood correctly, a Mizzou assistant also got T'd for something similar. I can't imagine these guys were acting too different from normal, but refs certainly had a better opportunity to hear them this time around. But the second T seemed to light a spark in the team a bit, so that might not have been a bad thing.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Earnest Ross 19.4 0.61 32 Min, 17 Pts (5-9 FG, 1-3 3PT, 6-6 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 TO
Johnathan Williams III 16.0 0.48 33 Min, 7 Pts (3-10 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-4 FT), 17 Reb (8 Off), 3 Blk, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 PF
Jordan Clarkson 13.6 0.41 33 Min, 14 Pts (5-13 FG, 0-3 3PT, 4-4 FT), 5 Ast, 4 Reb, 2 Stl, 4 TO
Ryan Rosburg 9.8 0.47 21 Min, 8 Pts (3-4 FG, 2-2 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 4 PF
Jabari Brown 8.4 0.23 37 Min, 13 Pts (4-11 FG, 1-4 3PT, 4-4 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Stl, 4 TO
Tony Criswell 7.0 0.78 9 Min, 8 Pts (3-4 FG, 2-3 FT), 3 Reb (3 Off), 5 PF
Keanau Post 0.8 0.10 8 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG), 2 Reb
Torren Jones 0.7 0.14 5 Min, 1 Pt (0-1 FG, 1-2 FT)
Danny Feldmann 0.0 0.00 2 Min
Wes Clark -0.3 -0.03 11 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG, 0-1 3PT), 2 Reb
Corey Haith -2.8 -2.75 1 Min, 2 TO
Shane Rector -3.3 -0.41 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 3PT), 2 TO
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Ross 22% 44% 2.6 39% 30% 18% 13%
JW3 17% 28% 2.2 45% 38% 13% 4%
Clarkson 26% 38% 4.2 59% 26% 7% 8%
Rosburg 13% 58% 1.7 47% 32% 14% 8%
Brown 20% 31% 1.8 24% 45% 14% 16%
Criswell 32% 52% 2.4 0% 52% 35% 13%
Post 17% 30% 1.1 0% 67% 0% 33%
Jones 17% 22% 1.5 0% 36% 64% 0%
Clark 12% 30% 0.8 0% 66% 0% 33%
Rector 17% 0% 1.1 0% 33% 0% 67%
  • Hello, Good Earnest. Like plenty of others, Earnest Ross turned the ball over too much, but he attacked the rim, got some free points at the line, managed a couple of assists and steals (which balanced out the TOs) ... and in the end, I'll take 17 points on nine FG attempts every day of the week from Ross. Especially when Jabari Brown's having a bad game.
  • Jabari Brown did not have much fun on Saturday. He still produced over one point per shot -- not good, but not terrible -- and made all four of his free throws (while this was a regression-to-the-mean game on 3-pointers, it was the same, in the opposite direction, for free throw shooting); he also turned the ball over four times, missed three of four from long range, got T'd up, missed a dunk, and didn't look like he was having much fun. Methinks he'll be alright.
  • Jordan Clarkson against SIU: 40 points on 12-for-18 shooting. Clarkson against Hawaii and Gardner-Webb: 27 points on 10-for-28 shooting. But hey, that's still 67 points on 46 shots. I'll take that, even with the comical variance.
  • I can't tell you how much I enjoyed hearing Gary Link say "J3 the third." I enjoyed it almost as much as I enjoyed watching him hit the glass. Again, he's still a bit raw in some areas, but if you can contribute like this while three others (Clark, Clarkson, Brown) are shouldering a lot of the scoring load, you can be all sorts of valuable while you're figuring everything else out. JW3 also isn't nearly as foul-prone as some of the other bigs on this team.
  • Nice supernova, Tony Criswell. Nine minutes, eight points, five fouls. Tough combination.
  • I guess we can't combine Wes Clark and Shane Rector into one player? I love Clark's toolset, and I love Rector's calm demeanor. I like other aspects of their games a bit less. But ... freshman point guards ... what are you going to do...

Summary

4-0. Mizzou welcomes IUPUI tonight (OOOOH-WEEE-POOOH-WEEE *clap, clap, clap-clap-clap*), then gets its head coach back for the trip to Vegas. Saturday's game was neither impressive nor depressing, and we'll have another one to talk about tonight and tomorrow.

---

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.

Usage%: This "estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor" (via). The usage of those possessions is determined via a formula using field goal and free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. The higher the number, the more prevalent a player is (good or bad) in a team's offensive outcome.

Floor%: Via Basketball-Reference.com: Floor % answers the question, "when Player X uses a possession, what is the probability that his team scores at least 1 point?". The higher the Floor%, the more frequently the team probably scores when the given player is involved.

Touches/Possession: Using field goal attempts, free throw attempts, assists and turnovers, Touches attempt to estimate "the number of times a player touched the ball in an attacking position on the floor." Take the estimated touches and divide it by the estimated number of possessions for which a player was on the court, and you get a rough idea of how many times a player touched the ball in a given possession. For point guards, you'll see the number in the 3-4 range. For shooting guards and wings, 2-3. For an offensively limited center, 1.30. You get the idea.

Anyway, using the Touches figure, we can estimate the percentage of time a player "in an attacking position" passes, shoots, turns the ball over, or gets fouled.

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