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Jeremiah Tilmon and Jontay Porter are learning some lessons in SEC play

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

One thing certain about hoops life in the SEC: you’re going to end up facing a lot of athletic, talented big men. That’s certainly the case when you’re playing at Texas A&M. And when you’re a freshman, you’ve got lessons to learn.

“I don’t think it was necessarily the size, because Jeremiah is 6-10 and Jontay is 6-11,” Martin said. “I think more than anything just going against talented other big guys, when you clash it’s not a game down there. They’re physical and tough and they play hard. They don’t play dirty or wild. Our young guys can only learn how hard you have to play, how physical you have to be, how tough you have to be. That was the difference, their experience and level of toughness.

“Not to say our guys backed down, but sometimes you have to go through that.”

Both of Mizzou’s big freshmen were close to big games in Saturday’s loss in College Station. But it didn’t quite happen.

Despite going scoreless, Porter had a few instances in which he had his defender beat but couldn’t get his shot to fall. There were other times where he was double-teamed by a pair of Aggies and couldn’t handle the extra body on him.

Tilmon, on the other hand, showed some flashes in the second half despite his usual bout with foul trouble. The East St. Louis, Ill., native scored seven of his nine points in the second half during a stretch in which Missouri had the Aggies’ lead down to single digits and had some momentum on offense.

Tilmon, of course, eventually fell into the foul trouble that has slowed down his freshman campaign.

Tilmon’s offensive rebound rate is 13.9 percent for the season (42nd in the country), but it’s only 9.6 in SEC games. Similarly, his assist rate is lower (5.4 vs 2.6), his turnover rate is higher (23.1 vs 26.6), and his shooting pecentage is lower (59 percent vs 50 percent).

Same story for Porter. His defensive rebound rate is good in SEC play (21.8 percent, fifth in the conference) but lower than his full-season rate (23.2). And his 2-point percentage against SEC foes is an alarming 36 percent.

If there’s a good sign here, though, it’s that a) Porter did probably get unlucky in the shots he missed on Saturday, b) his assist rate is higher in SEC play (21.1 vs 18.0), and his turnover rate is lower (14.5 vs. 22.0).

Both are close. But both probably have a few more lessons to learn between now and the end of the season.

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Patience boy...God’s plan!

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