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Terrence Phillips and Jordan Barnett are trying their best to carry Mizzou, but they need help

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NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Arkansas Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Barnett-Phillips-Puryear.

It’s like getting beaten with your own finishing move. We know exactly how Mike Anderson’s Fastest 40 Minutes speeds teams up and destroys them with one or two runs — we saw his Mizzou teams do it plenty of times. And now, twice a year, we get to see it happen to Mizzou.

  • First 5 minutes: Arkansas 9, Mizzou 8
  • Next 6 minutes: Arkansas 21, Mizzou 15
  • Next 5 minutes: Arkansas 14, Mizzou 0
  • Next 5 minutes: Mizzou 15, Arkansas 6
  • Next 2 minutes: Arkansas 11, Mizzou 1
  • Next 5 minutes: Mizzou 13, Arkansas 3
  • Next 2 minutes: Arkansas 9, Mizzou 0
  • Next 5 minutes: Mizzou 15, Arkansas 5
  • Last 6 minutes: Arkansas 14, Mizzou 6

Over 31 selected minutes, Mizzou outscored Arkansas, 72-58. The other nine minutes: Arkansas 34, Mizzou 1. Like doing the flying elbow drop to Randy Savage.

But hey, this was a different flavor of loss. That’s really all you can ask for at this point.

Arkansas 92, Missouri 73

Mizzou
Arkansas
Pace (No. of Possessions) 72.2
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.01 1.27
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.28 1.56
2-PT FG% 41.9% 63.9%
3-PT FG% 34.6% 43.5%
FT% 62.5% 72.7%
True Shooting % 51.4% 67.0%
FTA/FGA 56.1% 37.3%
Mizzou Arkansas
Assists 12 18
Steals 7 5
Turnovers 14 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.36 1.64
Mizzou Arkansas
Expected Offensive Rebounds 14.2 10.0
Offensive Rebounds 14 9
Difference -0.2 -1.0

From something I wrote on Friday:

The script for Mizzou pulling off a win at some point is basically as follows:

1. Win the ball-handling battle.

2. Break even on the glass (i.e. render your opponent as bad on the offensive glass as you are).

3. Get to the line.

4. Shoot at a below-average level (but don’t shoot horribly).

None of that is impossible. Mizzou is doing a strong job on the defensive glass and ranks in the top 125 in turnover % on both sides of the court. Plus, the Tigers are 80th in FTA/FGA.

Still, they haven’t managed to do all of these four things at once.

It’s always rude to be so starkly reminded of your small margin for error. On Saturday night, Mizzou indeed broke even on the glass and got to the line more than its opponent. The Tigers also topped 50% in True Shooting %, which definitely checks box No. 4.

(How quickly our standards change. My thinking at the time was, “Holy crap! This team’s nailing its 3-pointers today! Frankie Hughes and Cullen VanLeer went 3-for-7! What a great shooting night! Yeah, they shot 34.6%. If that was Mizzou’s season average, the Tigers would rank 177th in the country. And it was by far their high end.)

But while they only narrowly lost the ball-handling battle — something of an accomplishment against a Mike Anderson team on the road — they still lost it. And Arkansas still shot too well for any of this to matter.

Mizzou could have checked all four boxes and still lost by double digits because its opponent shot well. This is a shoddy, incomplete checklist, and Mizzou still can’t check all the boxes.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jordan Barnett 19.0 0.76 25 Min, 14 Pts (6-11 FG, 2-5 3PT, 0-1 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 4 Stl, 2 TO, 5 PF
Terrence Phillips 14.5 0.47 31 Min, 13 Pts (3-10 FG, 3-8 3PT, 4-4 FT), 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 3 PF
Kevin Puryear 13.6 0.44 31 Min, 11 Pts (3-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 5-6 FT), 4 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 PF
Jordan Geist 9.4 0.31 30 Min, 13 Pts (3-6 FG, 0-3 3PT, 7-11 FT), 3 Reb, 2 TO, 3 PF
Cullen VanLeer 4.2 0.52 8 Min, 3 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-1 3PT), 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF
K.J. Walton 4.0 0.17 23 Min, 6 Pts (1-4 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-6 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 TO, 1 PF
Reed Nikko 4.0 0.36 11 Min, 2 Pts (1-5 FG), 6 Reb (5 Off), 1 Ast, 2 PF
Russell Woods 3.4 0.14 24 Min, 5 Pts (2-5 FG, 1-4 FT), 3 Reb (2 Off), 1 Stl, 4 PF
Frankie Hughes -1.2 -0.07 17 Min, 6 Pts (2-7 FG, 2-6 3PT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 TO
Adam Wolf 0.0 N/A 0+ Min
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Jordan Barnett 25% 44% 2.9 46% 43% 3% 8%
Terrence Phillips 21% 36% 3.5 61% 26% 8% 5%
Kevin Puryear 16% 42% 1.7 32% 43% 25% 0%
Jordan Geist 20% 39% 1.6 0% 36% 52% 12%
Cullen VanLeer 12% 55% 2.8 75% 13% 0% 13%
K.J. Walton 18% 29% 2.7 52% 18% 21% 9%
Reed Nikko 21% 23% 2.8 54% 46% 0% 0%
Russell Woods 13% 31% 1.0 0% 62% 38% 0%
Frankie Hughes 30% 18% 2.8 35% 41% 0% 24%

Thus far in conference play — which, to its credit, is flying by! already almost one-quarter done! — Terrence Phillips and Jordan Barnett have been superheroes. They have combined to compile 36.4 Adj. GS points per game, the most box-score prolific duo since Clarkson-Brown.

Barnett is averaging 16.8 points (59% on 2s, 25% on 3s, 89% on FTs), 7.5 boards, and 1.5 assists. Phillips, meanwhile: 14.3 points (35% / 38% / 75%), 5.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.3 steals.

Phillips is 58th in the country in assist rate on a team that can’t shoot, he’s 254th in steals rate, and among the current nine-man rotation, he’s third on the team in defensive rebound rate. He is busting his ass.

Meanwhile, after a shaky start, Barnett is doing everything we could have hoped he could do from a scoring-and-boards standpoint.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Arkansas
Terrence Phillips
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

The other seven players in the rotation, meanwhile, have averaged 35.6 Adj. GS points per game in this span. Jordan Geist and KJ Walton have had two good games each, and Kevin Puryear and Russell Woods have had one each. (If we lower the “good” bar, you could say that Puryear’s had two.)

Mizzou is getting more from Phillips and Barnett than it could have possibly hoped to get. And the Tigers have still lost eight in a row. And if they don’t beat Ole Miss at home next Saturday (KenPom says they have a 12% chance against Bama on Wednesday and a 40% chance against the Rebels), this losing streak will reach at least 15.

By the way...

Something to shoot for, I guess.