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Missouri figured out a way past South Carolina despite every reason not to

Timothy Tai-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Rosburg-Phillips-Walton.

Your Season Totals: Your Season Totals: Puryear 31, Phillips 24, Clark 18, Wright 18, Rosburg 14, Gant 14, Walton 13, Isabell 10, VanLeer 7, Woods 5, Allen 2. Freshmen 75, sophomores 44, juniors 23, seniors 14.

I'm not going to overreact. I don't want to go too far down the "Everything is going to be good now! The turnaround has clearly begun!" road. After all, Missouri did win back-to-back home games (against Florida and Auburn) late last season, too. Two good games on the heels of nine mostly bad ones does not a turnaround make.

That said ... can we bottle up this confidence? This effort? Missouri played strong offense to beat Tennessee, then watched much of the offense disappear against South Carolina. (Yes, Mizzou scored only three fewer points against SC, but in 13 more possessions.) So in turn, the Tigers beat the Gamecocks with ... REBOUNDING. THEY BEAT A FRANK MARTIN TEAM WITH REBOUNDING. HOW IN THE WORLD DOES THAT HAPPEN?

Missouri 72, South Carolina 67

Pace (No. of Possessions) 75.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.96 0.89
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.36 1.02
2-PT FG% 46.9% 31.9%
3-PT FG% 23.8% 36.8%
FT% 71.1% 80.0%
True Shooting % 51.6% 44.8%
FTA/FGA 71.7% 30.3%
Mizzou SC
Assists 10 10
Steals 8 6
Turnovers 17 13
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.06 1.23
Mizzou SC
Expected Offensive Rebounds 13.4 16.4
Offensive Rebounds 13 13
Difference -0.4 -3.4
  • Since Mizzou blocked only four shots, you could certainly make the case that South Carolina's 32% shooting on 2-pointers was a bit on the lucky side. The 'Cocks are bad at shooting the basketball (46% on 2-pointers, 264th in the country), but they're not that bad. But lucky or not, Mizzou did the one thing you have to do against a Frank Martin team: The Tigers eliminated second-chance opportunities. Drastically.
  • This was a massive team effort, too. Ryan Rosburg and Russell Woods grabbed only five defensive rebounds in 40 combined minutes, but it seemed they were blocking out well, and they were clearing the way for Terrence Phillips and Namon Wright to grab a combined 11. (Wright also had two offensive rebounds.) And while the Tigers basically broke even on the offensive glass ... they broke even! Against a good defensive rebounding team! This was a stunning development for a team with known size and rebounding issues. Mizzou worked for this win, and they did it without Wes Clark.
  • Again, nobody went nuts from the field either. The guards were infinitely better (Phillips, Wright, and Tramaine Isabell: 36 points on 10-for-23 FG shooting), and K.J. Walton delivered another nice, physical game.
  • It appears Clark's absence was felt more in ball-handling than in the scoring department. Mizzou made 20 shots from the field, but only 10 were assisted. Then again, that's close to the season average, so maybe Clark's absence wasn't felt at all.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Ryan Rosburg 21.2 0.68 31 Min, 18 Pts (5-8 FG, 8-17 FT), 5 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 PF
Terrence Phillips 16.7 0.76 22 Min, 15 Pts (4-9 FG, 2-5 3PT, 5-6 FT), 7 Reb (1 Off), 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 TO, 4 PF
K.J. Walton 13.1 0.94 14 Min, 10 Pts (2-3 FG, 1-2 3PT, 5-6 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 3 PF
Tramaine Isabell 12.0 0.67 18 Min, 10 Pts (4-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF
Namon Wright 8.4 0.27 31 Min, 11 Pts (2-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, 5-5 FT), 7 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 5 TO, 1 PF
Russell Woods 0.9 0.10 9 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Blk
Cullen VanLeer 0.7 0.02 32 Min, 4 Pts (2-9 FG, 0-7 3PT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO
Jakeenan Gant 0.6 0.03 18 Min, 2 Pts (1-5 FG, 0-1 3PT), 6 Reb (3 Off), 1 Blk, 1 TO, 3 PF
Jimmy Barton 0.0 0.00 5 Min, 0 Pts (0-0 FG)
D'Angelo Allen -1.7 -0.87 2 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 1 Reb, 2 PF
Kevin Puryear -2.7 -0.15 18 Min, 2 Pts (0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 Reb, 2 TO, 5 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Ryan Rosburg 23% 46% 2.2 23% 32% 45% 0%
Terrence Phillips 33% 40% 5.0 58% 22% 10% 10%
K.J. Walton 25% 46% 2.9 40% 20% 27% 13%
Tramaine Isabell 25% 47% 3.3 53% 32% 6% 9%
Namon Wright 21% 27% 1.9 28% 33% 16% 24%
Russell Woods 10% 0% 0.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
Cullen VanLeer 14% 20% 1.4 37% 57% 0% 6%
Jakeenan Gant 15% 14% 0.9 0% 83% 0% 17%
D'Angelo Allen 23% 0% 1.4 0% 100% 0% 0%
Kevin Puryear 13% 17% 0.8 0% 38% 25% 38%
  • Ryan Rosburg's last four games: 20 PPG (62% FG, 58% FT), 7 RPG. I'm done trying to figure this out. I'm just going to go with it.
  • I hate harping on the same thing over and over again, especially after wins, but Cullen VanLeer played 32 minutes last night. KJ Walton played 14. Again, I assume there's a reason. But I really, really can't figure out what it is. I was talking myself into a "VanLeer's bigger, and wings have to spend some time on the interior with this roster" argument, but ... CVL is 6'4, 200. Walton is 6'3, 197. That alone doesn't tell you about strength, but still.
  • Regardless, after suddenly turning into a bigs-heavy team, with Rosburg and Puryear leading the way, Mizzou's guards stepped up in a major way last night, and thank goodness -- Puryear's night was very forgettable.


Mizzou has now won back-to-back SEC games for the first time under Kim Anderson. But after this fun, it's back to the road. Three of Mizzou's final five games are away from home, and per Ken Pomeroy, the Tigers have a better than 20 percent chance of winning in just one of them (the season finale against Florida).

So yeah, the fun's probably about over. But the effort doesn't have to be. The most refreshing part of the last two games was the energy. Mizzou seemed to find its muse, its heart, in the last week, and it paid off. The Tigers scrapped for rebounds, and offensive funks didn't lead to defensive breakdowns, as they have for most of the year.

I said a few games ago, during the worst moments of the nine-game losing streak, that Kim Anderson still had time to prove himself this year and prove that he deserves a third year in charge. He might have gotten a third year whether he proved it or not, but it's safe to say we were searching for reasons to be hopeful moving forward. Wes Clark's apparent dismissal could have led to a disaster last night, but instead it led to perhaps the most inspired performance of the season.

If Mizzou lays a series of eggs in these final five games, this positivity, this sense of momentum, goes right out the window. These last two games have suggested that there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Now all Anderson and his players have to do is keep suggesting it.


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 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.