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Study Hall: Mississippi State 68, Mizzou 49

It was a struggle offensively.

study hall lead

Trying to be positive through a 3-12 record in conference play isn’t always an easy thing to do, so I get frustration and despair. For most of the season, we’ve tried to maintain a close eye on the macro view of this team, and less on the game-by-game frustration that follows the kind of rebuild Cuonzo Martin is undertaking.

The game by game frustration has mounted further over a four-game losing streak, and it was exasperated by an 18-5 Mississippi State run to put the game away in Starkville last night.

I know I say the margin for this team is thin a lot, so I’m only going to say it this one time here, but they were within five points with about seven minutes to play, and that they were that close considering the offensive performance was pretty amazing.

Look at these numbers:

  • Field-Goals: 32.7 percent
  • 3-pointers: 29.2 percent
  • Free-throws: 61.5 percent

Sure, Mississippi State is a good defensive team, but they’re top-50 good, not top-10 good. If you read Matt’s preview or listened to the podcast, it was clear the Bulldogs were really a bad matchup for the Tigers.

Yet somehow they were stringing along the game only down five well into the second half when Mississippi State hit a couple threes to gain separation, and then Mizzou’s inability to offense consistently reared its head.

  • Missed number by Jeremiah Tilmon
  • Turnover by Jordan Geist
  • Missed jumper by Geist
  • Missed 3-pointer by Javon Pickett
  • Blocked Geist shot
  • Missed 3-pointer by Torrence Watson
  • Missed 3-pointer by Geist

While Mizzou went came up empty-handed on seven consecutive trips, State expanded its lead from five points to 18. At that point, the game was done.

Team Stats

2019 study hall team stats msu
  • Just atrocious shooting: Tilmon and Pickett each shot 3 of 10, while Geist was 3 of 9. Torrence Watson had a good game, and he was 3 of 8. The Tigers have had their share of poor shooting performances this year, but this was the worst one yet. A 0.82 PPP was the lowest of the season. Considering MU’s turnover rate was slightly higher than its season average, it just felt worse watching so many shots rattle out.
  • At least they rebounded well: Mizzou does have a weird ability to stick with what they do well, and that’s good I guess? They do go to the glass, and they control the boards pretty dang well for a team with the record they have.

There’s just not a lot to draw out of that kind of shooting performance. I get that we want to get mad about this but sometimes you just suck at scoring, and that was Mizzou last night.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Torrence Watson, Jeremiah Tilmon, K.J. Santos

2019 study hall gmsc msu

On the season: Jordan Geist 49 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 29 points, Mark Smith 25 points, Javon Pickett 19 points, Xavier Pinson 11 points, Kevin Puryear 11 points, Torrence Watson 9 points, Ronnie Suggs 3 points, Reed Nikko 2 points, K.J. Santos 1 point.

Congrats to Torrence Watson, who’s had a hard time cracking the top three and struggled off and on all season to find his footing. Last night he looked like the kind of player we expected to see, and my favorite part of all of it... he looked right on defense. Watson was moving his feet and challenging shots and working hard. He’s still got to find ways to get to the glass but where he is right now versus the start of the year is just night and day.

Also congrats to K.J. Santos! Santos has been a disaster this year. His play from game to game has made us openly question Martin’s plan with him. But last night you saw some fight. He crashed the glass and attacked the rim on multiple occasions, and he even made a 3-pointer! It wasn’t all good, but this version of Santos makes you think he can help a little more if he can only find that level of energy consistently.

You know it’s a rough night when Tilmon can foul out, shoot 30 percent, and turn the ball over a few times and still post the second highest game score.

2019 study hall player% msu

Again, a floor percentage north of 40.0 is always a marker of good offense, and the more players that clear the threshold is good. (If you hit four guys above 40 percent, it’s usually a sign you won.) Missouri had a single player reach that benchmark: Watson. The rest of the roster barely over 20 percent and only Tilmon at 34 percent. Just bad.

Mizzou has a real opportunity to turn the corner and get a win on Saturday. South Carolina, like all Frank Martin teams, are tough and physical and they’ll be ready to play. But they’re also incredibly flawed and a little all over the place offensively — kind of like Missouri.

The opportunity for the rest of the season is limited, but it exists. The Tigers are getting valuable time for guys they expect to be key cogs for the eventual turnaround. I think most people feel good about Watson and Pickett, Pinson had a rough night, but he’s been steadily improving. It’s probably safe to put his struggles last night on the kind of opponent he was facing, one that was set up specifically to counter the things Pinson does well and exploit what he struggles with.

Get a win or two more before the season wraps up to gain a little momentum and little more feel good for the season and the direction. But most of all set up for next season when you can hopefully play a full season at full strength.