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Study Hall: Texas A&M 60, Mizzou 49

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Sometimes the shots don’t fall.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Texas A&M C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t like going totally big-picture and simply portraying a frustrating loss with a line like “Sometimes the shots don’t go in.” But with this one, it’s difficult. Missouri is a top-40 shooting team, and Texas A&M has a top-20 shooting defense. The shots didn’t go in, and Mizzou lost.

Okay, fine, we’ll go a bit further than that.

Team Stats

Really, the free throw line bailed Missouri out a bit. The Tigers did a much better job of not only getting to the line but making their free throws (15-for-20 vs. 7-for-11). Without that, this would’ve been a blowout. The other three factors:

  • Shooting (True Shooting %): A&M 44%, Mizzou 39%
  • Rebounding (Exp. Rebounding Margin): A&M +3.2
  • Ball handling (BCI): A&M 4.25, Mizzou 1.38

Mizzou committed only eight turnovers, which continues an improvement in that regard, and neither team was thieving the ball with any regularity. But A&M had just four turnovers, and 15 of the Aggies’ 25 made FGs came via assist.

Ball movement, then, ended up being a pretty big thing. Well, that and making the shots that your ball movement creates. A&M is good at forcing you to take bad shots, sure, but not all of Mizzou’s missed shots were bad ones. A lot were shots the Tigers have made plenty of this year.

All that said, the ability to draw contact was something that I think will pay off down the line. Mizzou continues to figure out ways to attack without the 3-ball falling (a good thing considering the Tigers have hit 25 percent or worse from long range in three of the last four games and haven’t hit over 40 percent since the Florida game), and three different players getting to the line at least four times each was nice to see.

Everything else: less nice to see.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Geist-Tilmon-Puryear

One of the narratives coming from this one was “Mizzou’s freshman bigs still have plenty to learn.” And it rings true. But one of Mizzou’s two frosh fared a wee bit better than the other.

  • Jeremiah Tilmon: 9 points on 9 FGs, 5 defensive rebounds
  • Jontay Porter: 0 points on 8 FGs, 5 defensive rebounds

Now, 1 point per FGA isn’t great for a big man, but Tilmon responded well to briefly becoming the focal point of the offense in the second half. Jontay, meanwhile, just couldn’t find his range. Again, not something I’m going to worry about, but Tilmon really did have an alright game.

Of course, A&M basically had three Tilmons (Tyler Davis had 11 points in 13 shots and 29 minutes, Robert Williams had 13 points in 10 shots and 27 minutes, Tony Trocha-Morelos had 14 points in 10 shots and 24 minutes).

All things considered, a really nice game from Jordan Geist. He was the closest thing Mizzou had to a point guard, and he was also the most efficient scorer on the floor for the Tigers. Jordan Barnett admitted to not being mentally dialed in (and, with that turnover rate, it showed), Kassius Robertson couldn’t get the ball in the basket to save his life, and Jontay really couldn’t get the ball in the basket, but Geist did his part.

Anyway, we move on. In a best-of-3 series against A&M, Mizzou shoots really well in on of three and really poorly in one of three. We got the latter. But now we prepare for the next really big game on the docket, Auburn’s Wednesday visit. The Tigers are 5-1 in conference play and will provide Mizzou’s young bigs with yet another rugged test (they block shots like crazy). They do give up a lot of 3-point attempts, though — it would be a nice time for Mizzou to find its range again.