I’ll say this for Kim Anderson: the man is - at the very least - consistent. Mizzou has been bad at basketball all season, and yesterday the team stayed true to form. In fact, they kicked it up a notch. Or rather, down one. Mizzou was historically bad in a losing effort against Texas A&M.
The last time Missouri scored fewer points on its home floor, Norm Stewart had the Tigers intentionally hold the ball for more than six minutes in a game of keep-away from Kansas. That came in a 41-35 victory over the Jayhawks on Jan. 20, 1982.
This one was more offensive — and not in a good way.
The Tigers (7-22, 2-15 Southeastern Conference) shot just 24.6 percent from the field, eclipsing their shooting futility against North Carolina Central from earlier this season (25 percent), which had been the arena’s standard-bearer for bad shooting. No longer.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t say that probably set the game of basketball back a long time,” an especially somber Anderson said after the Tigers’ fifth straight loss. “Certainly a disappointing performance.”
Mizzou isn’t your average, every day bad. Mizzou is advanced bad.
The Tigers’ offensive output was a season-low, eclipsing the 52 points from that N.C. Central loss, and established a new program record for the fewest points at Mizzou Arena.
The old record was 47 during a 20-point loss against Mississippi on Jan. 31, 2015.
The Tigers’ 43 points were the fewest points since Nov. 23, 2015, during a 66-42 loss against Kansas State in the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
“It was just one of those nights where there wasn’t anything there,” Anderson said. “No matter what buttons you tried to push, (they) got stuck. (They) didn’t work.”
The lone bright spot for the Tigers was redshirt junior guard Trevor Glassman, an academic senior who will graduate this spring. Glassman had played in only five games for nine total minutes prior to Tuesday. Anderson gave him the start against A&M for Missouri’s senior night. In his mere four minutes of play, Glassman grabbed two rebounds and took a charge.
Anderson said he was disappointed with his team’s slow start but liked the way Glassman started the game.
“I told him yesterday at practice (that he was starting),” Anderson said. “He was excited. It was a bad night for everybody, but I hope he’ll remember the fact that he started the game and made some plays.”
IT WAS OVER WHEN: The Tigers failed to do anything out of the locker room in the second half. Miraculously, despite an historically bad shooting half, Missouri trailed by only 10 at the break because A&M didn't make much of anything either. But the Aggies scored five of the first six points in the second half to extend the lead to 14 and Missouri never made anything resembling a run.
If Kim Anderson needed to make a strong statement in favor of retaining his job, this wasn’t it. It was a statement, for sure. Just not the kind that’s going to help his cause.
Mizzou still has one game left on the schedule - a trip to Auburn this Saturday - so we likely won’t hear anything about the future of the program until next week. Stay tuned, Tiger fans. We’ll be sure to keep you up to date.
- In good basketball news, the women’s team snagged a whole mess of conference awards yesterday. Head coach Robin Pingeton was named SEC coach of the year by the conference.
She's the program's first coach to win conference coach of the year since Joann Rutherford, who was the Big Eight coach of the year in 1984, 1985 and 1990. Pingeton was named Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year at Illinois State in 2004 and 2010.
'Certainly really humbled by that recognition and I really appreciate those votes from the coaches in this league," Pingeton said Tuesday. "I’ve got so much respect, there’s so many great coaches in this league that do a tremendous job. I really have a lot of respect for my counterparts throughout the SEC. Awards like that are a team award. You think about the great players that you have and the great assistant coaches who put in a lot of hard work. Our support staff, our administration, the fans, the players and coaches who came before to help us lay the foundation. It really is a team award. It’s recognition for everyone’s hard work. I really appreciate it, but certainly I can’t take the credit for it."
Pingeton is certainly deserving of the honor. She played this season on the extreme difficulty setting and still succeeded, after all.
Despite losing All-SEC forward Jordan Frericks and key reserve Bri Porter in the frontcourt to preseason injuries, Pingeton has guided Mizzou to a historic campaign in 2016-17, leading the Tigers to back-to-back 21-win seasons for the first time since 1983-84 and 1984-85. Picked to place seventh in the SEC in the preseason poll, Mizzou finished third in the league with an 11-5 mark in conference play. Mizzou's 11 conference wins are its most since 1990.
- Two of her players also received post-season awards. Sophomore guard Sophie Cunningham was named first-team All-SEC, and freshman guard Amber Smith was named Co-Freshman of the Year.
“Sophie Cunningham, first-team All-SEC — she’s extremely deserving of that,” Pingeton said. “Amber Smith, I thought that was a really special award for her to make the All-Freshman team and to be named Co-Freshman of the Year. That’s just great recognition for her.”
No other MU players were among the seven remaining first-team or nine second-team selections.
“I thought there was a chance we could have gotten one more kid on that first or second team,” Pingeton said. “I was a little disappointed to see that (sophomore forward) Cierra Porter or (senior guard) Sierra Michaelis (didn’t make it). I thought they both would have a chance at it. My guess is they probably cancelled each other’s votes out a little depending on how they played against different teams.”
- Now that basketball is almost over, it’s time for us to move on to the next sport in line: football. Which is perfect, because just yesterday, Barry Odom’s SEC Media Days availability schedule was released. Odom will speak July 12, alongside Alabama’s Nick Saban, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. GET HYPED.
- Seeds were released for the MAC Wrestling Championships yesterday, and Mizzou looks to be in good shape to claim a fifth straight conference title.
Five Tigers – redshirt freshman 141-pounder Jaydin Eierman (Columbia, Mo.), redshirt senior 149-pounder Lavion Mayes (Mascoutah, Ill.), redshirt junior 157-pounder Joey Lavallee (Reno, Nev.), redshirt sophomore 165-pounder Daniel Lewis (Blue Springs, Mo.) and senior 197-pounder J'den Cox (Columbia, Mo.) – all rank atop their respective weight class. Cox and Lewis return as defending champions, as Cox seeks to become the second four-time conference champion in program history (Drake Houdashelt, 2012-15) and Lewis looks to grab his second title in as many years.
- Don’t look now, but Mizzou’s baseball team is starting to make some waves nationally. D1 Baseball listed them as one of their “Teams on the Upswing” after a strong early showing.
The prognosis for the Tigers entering the spring wasn’t particularly good. They lost a bit of firepower from last year’s club, and quite frankly, head coach Steve Bieser was worried about the offense just a few weeks ago. However, this team is playing a balanced brand of baseball through the first two weeks.
While the Tigers took care of business opening weekend against a weak Eastern Michigan club, they took a step forward last weekend with a statement win over lefthander Seth Romero and Houston in the opening game of tourney action, touching up the elite prospect for four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. MU’s Andy Toelken put together a solid start against the Cougars, allowing just two runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. Missouri finished the weekend with a pair of wins over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Illinois.
Still room on this bus, y’all. You’re going to want to hop on now. Trust me on this.