If you've learned one thing about me since I started writing things about Mizzou basketball, I'm just going to assume that it's the fact I'm one of the founding members of the Wes Clark fan club. Clark is one of the main reasons for optimism for this teams future. Wes Clark, at this point, is the teams most likely path to success on offense. His speed and strength with the ball is exceptional, I think we are starting to see what happens when a player begins to realize their talent. The biggest key for Clark is going to be his consistency. Once we start going against guards that are bigger, faster and more athletic he'll likely have more trouble. And it's important to remember that, while he's played very well the last few games, Clark is still a sophomore. He's still got a lot of room to grow.
So last night was a lot of fun. Offensively the Tigers seemed to kind of do everything right. They made baskets at a clip that we hadn't seen yet, and they did it from the outside. What is interesting about their hot shooting night, is that they basically regressed (progressed?) to the mean. As a team, they're now shooting 34.4% from 3-point range. Which is about average for team shooting. Here's the game by game shooting, again, since I did it last time:
Game 1 & 3, we are obviously sending the wrong guys to the Free Throw line. Keanau Post is a bad free throw shooter, Ryan Rosburg is atrocious.
One thing that stood out to me was the difference between the 1st and 2nd half defensively. It looked like ORU came out confident in scoring the ball early, and it helped that Mizzou kept fouling shooters, and Obi Emegano (he'd be a good player in the SEC) couldn't miss. While the Golden Eagles made something like 11 of their first 12 shots, they regressed hard to the mean the rest of the way. Part of that had to do with the Tigers. I'll touch a little more on this later, but it seemed like Kim Anderson figured out that the problem wasn't scoring, so he inserted Deuce Bello into the lineup to play more D.
See above for my thoughts on Wes Clark's play last night. Shamburger played his best game to date. 9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and ZERO TURNOVERS. What the Tigers need most from Shamburger is consistency, and to not turn the ball over. If he can give Mizzou a similar line on most nights, they'll be okay with him getting into that 30+ minutes per game that he's played so far. I really felt Shamburger struggled against Valpo, so it was nice to see him recover and really play well. Meanwhile Tramaine Isabell had limited minutes, but he was most productive, and didn't take any bad shots. I'll call that a win. I'm a lot more comfortable with this team if Isabell is playing 8-10 minutes instead of 15-18.
And if there is one area where I think the guards need to get better, JW3 only had 3 shots from the field. That's not enough. They need to find a way to get him more involved on the offense, and I hope that's not taking 66% of his shots beyond the arc.
Sort of mixed here. Being plus one in rebounding isn't good when you have a considerable size advantage as Mizzou did last night. I don't think that Mizzou wasn't playing hard in the first half, but they were staggered a bit by the hot shooting of Obi Emegano. It might be one thing if he were hitting open shots, but again and again he was rising up over a defender and knocking down tough shots. Good offense always beat good defense, the good news for Mizzou was that most players don't hit 100% of their guarded shots. Soon after, at about the 10 minute mark, and Emegano's 2nd foul, Mizzou's defense started to settle a bit, and they were able to force some misses and turnovers.
I think this was the most balanced game yet.
- Keith Shamburger: 35 minutes
- Wes Clark: 33 minutes
- Teki Gill-Caesar: 30 minutes
- Johnathan Williams III: 24 minutes
- Ryan Rosburg: 20 minutes
- Deuce Bello: 15 minutes
- D'Angelo Allen: 14 minutes
- Keanau Post: 11 minutes
- Namon Wright: 10 minutes
- Tramaine Isabell: 8 minutes
The 10 minute mark of the 1st half is something I've noted a few times because I really think at that point Missouri settled down a bit more (despite one more egregious defensive hiccup which led to a dunk and a Missouri Timeout). It certainly was nice to see this team settle down and play the kind of basketball we all hoped we'd be seeing. That's always easier when the ball is going through the net. Coach Anderson was quoted after the game as saying he felt that the guys needed something to kind of go their way, and I agree.