Nobody wanted this season to contain the headline “Michael Porter Jr out for season” but that’s where we are, and Mizzou went to Orlando and played a basketball game for the first knowing they won’t have their star forward with them... and it went well.
We’ll wait for the results of the St. Johns-Oregon State game to see who the Tigers take on in round two. But for now we can enjoy a brilliant first half, and a second half that looked like both teams knew how this was going to end up.
It’s Jontay Porter’s World now
Jontay Porter had his best game as a Tiger on Thursday morning. He did everything you could want from who is now arguably the most talented player on the roster. Jontay is a good shooter who hasn’t quite had a breakout shooting game, but he got a couple early jumpers to fall and you could see his confidence grow a bit.
He had a final line of 15 points, five rebounds, one assist, four blocks in 23 minutes with only one foul? Now I’m not saying I expect Jontay to do that each and every game but if he wanted to I’d certainly be happy with it.
Overall it probably won’t take long before Cuonzo considers putting Jontay into the starting lineup and playing with both Porter and TIlmon. Porter’s versatility on offense, his ability to draw the defense away from the basket and delivery soft post entries make him an important offensive player and the main reason I’ll advocate for as many minutes as you can find him.
Blake Harris is your starting point guard
Harris started for the first time this season, thanks to some egging on by Josh Matejka, and he played extremely well. He didn’t try to do much but still held good pace in directing the offense.
One of my favorite areas of Harris’ game is his on ball defense. Harris is a relentless defender and a hawk. Its one thing he certainly wasn’t billed for when he signed but it’s been the case. Led by his intensity on defense Mizzou forced 10 first half turnovers and made the second half fairly uninteresting.
If your starting point guard can deliver 11 points, 3-3 on Free throws, three rebounds, nine assists (!!!) in 21 minutes you have to feel pretty good about your starting point guard.
Bench Mob did it’s job
VanLeer finishes game-high +30 in plus-minus. Geist is +27.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) November 23, 2017
Scoring 95 points is a good way to make sure everyone is getting a little bit going offensively. Jordan Geist led the team in scoring with 16, and five different Tigers scored more than 10 each.
Cullen VanLeer had the kind of game you have to hope he can replicate more often than not. He took eight shots (admittedly, probably more than you’d hope he’d take) but they were all pretty good shots and he hit three 3’s and a nice runner. 11 points and six boards from VanLeer is a nice performance. Couple Geist and VanLeer in with Jontay’s big game and you have an exceptional bench performance.
Mizzou got what it needed from it’s starters and then when they exited the game there was no drop off. You don’t expect that every night but when you do the game gets away from an overmatched team in a hurry.
We’ll find out soon if Mizzou plays Oregon State or St. Johns. If you want a preview of what to expect from either team, Matt and I previewed the potential matchup in our last podcast... Jump ahead to 27 minutes and you’ll get to the skinny of it:
In the meantime, enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and here’s to win number four!