Looking to jump out to a 4-0 start to the 2022 season, Missouri hosted Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Tuesday. The Cougars entered this game with a 1-1 record, having defeated Harris-Stowe before falling to Purdue Fort-Wayne.
Mizzou took home another victory by a score of 105-80 behind the efforts of D’Moi Hodge. He tallied 30 points and 7 rebounds, both of which led the team.
“I told coach Gates, I wanna have 30, then sub me out,” Hodge said. “They were very happy for me, it was a celebration that someone cracked that margin. If Noah Carter got it, we all would have reacted the same way.”
When Kobe Brown went out of the game with two fouls at the 18:01 mark of the first half, many Mizzou fans wondered how this team would adjust. It’s safe to say they did just fine.
“We’ve all been prepared, it’s next man up,” Sean East II said. “We’ll ‘give our very best’ as he (Gates) always says.”
The Tigers took a 52-31 lead into the halftime break thanks to some incredibly efficient offense. They shot 56.8 percent from the floor, and it mainly came from fast break offense.
With a small ball lineup in the game for much of the half, the Tigers got out and ran. They had 10 first half assists, 12 layups, and 12 points off of turnovers. Mizzou trapped frequently in the backcourt. and with the aggressiveness of Tre Gomillion, Nick Honor, Isiaih Mosley and others, the team recorded eight steals in the first half.
“Our team is a balanced team, and you have guys playing unselfish and the right way,” Dennis Gates said. “It starts on the defensive end, but it leads to the excitement and the execution.”
On the offensive end, team basketball was the name of the game. D’Moi Hodge led the way with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting, but eight other players also got in the score column.
Kobe Brown returned to the court in the second half, and he kept the good times going. He had a block and assist to Nick Honor in the open floor to start the half, then followed up with a dunk and a layup.
The Tiger lead expanded to as much as 41 in the second half, and it came thanks to some more open-floor offense and incredible shooting from D’Moi Hodge. He had four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of the half.
“I’m proud that he had those stats, but I’m most proud that he had zero turnovers,” Gates said of Hodge’s performance.
Mizzou cruised to the final buzzer of the game, as a strong second half from Sean East II (14 points) and continuous pressure defense guided them to another impressive win.
“He (East II) could very well be a starter in our lineup. I may look to do that in these coming games,” Gates said.
Another game, another 20+ assist performance for Mizzou. They had 22 on Tuesday, and that, along with 21 fast break points and 21 turnovers forced (15 of which were steals), allowed them to have such a dominant performance. It also doesn’t hurt to shoot 60% from the field and 41 percent from 3-point land.
“Three games in five days, it didn’t allow us to really work on us,” Gates said. “But I’m proud of our guys. They worked out those wrinkles on their own.”
The Tigers will host Mississippi Valley State (0-4) on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CST on SEC Network+.