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Live Game Thread: Tigers host Loyola (MD) to close the home stand

Mizzou will be looking to carry some positive momentum with it to Pittsburgh following this meeting with the Greyhounds.

NCAA Basketball: Jackson State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 78 | Loyola (MD) 70


1st Half Notes

  • From the jump, Loyola PG Chris Kuzemka does not look comfortable with Nick Honor in his grill.
  • Noah Carter opens the scoring for Mizzou with a 3-pointer, knocks down another one to start out hot from the floor.
  • I’d like to point out that I typed that first statement before Honor picked his pocket.
  • Greyhounds may just not have the caliber of ball-handlers needed to withstand Mizzou’s perimeter ball pressure.
  • 16:33: Anthony Robinson II and Tamar Bates are the first player off the bench. Jordan Butler follows soon after.
  • Tigers have come out on a mission to make Loyola uncomfortable when it puts the ball on the floor. It’s led to some easy run-out opportunities.
  • Golden Dike gets his first significant touch inside. The Greyhound big-man could be an x-factor in this game if he gets going (averages nearly a double-double). Carter is checking him as of now.
  • Four steals for Mizzou already at the 13:27 mark.
  • Carter is feeling it right now. Chalk up another from long-range to give him 11.
  • Dike appeared to throw Honor to the ground, and both Gates and C.Y. Young are heated on the bench. Ref seemed to signal a flop.
  • All in all, this is certainly a better start than Wednesday. Not flawless by any means, but the team has come out with far more fire.
  • Curt Lewis into the game for the first time. Shaw playing as the big.
  • Tigers have certainly sped the Greyhounds up on the offensive end. Loyola has really not been able to attack the interior the way they would have liked with Dike and Co.
  • Loyola currently on a 14-0 run to close the gap.
  • Caleb Grill with a nice put-back finish off a Noah Carter missed 3-pointer. He managed to scoop that one underhanded after catching it in mid-air.
  • Vanover with a block that he barely even moved for.
  • 36.4: Regardless of all of that, Loyola has managed to cut this to a four-point game thanks to some much improved shooting.

2nd Half Notes

  • Nick Honor gets things going with a 3-pointer to start the half. First four minutes will be pivotal to see if Mizzou can pull away or Loyola lingers.
  • Score total from the first four minutes: 7-7. They’re lingering.
  • Second Tiger to step out of bounds while catching the ball. Home team needs to have a better sense of the floor.
  • Tigers passed up a pair of open 3-pointers to find an even better one. That’s some great team basketball.
  • Way too easy for Loyola to dribble the length of the floor and then get a put-back lay-in with a foul. Gates cannot be too pleased with the ease of access.
  • Anthony Robinson II with an incredible display of athleticism to tip an inbounds pass off a Greyhound’s leg. He’s been close on a handful of those already.
  • Tigers appear really be getting to Dike now. He picked up two quick fouls and was shown to the bench. It’s been physical and heated down low between him, Jordan Butler and plenty of others.
  • Dike picks up a flagrant one for a foul on Butler.
  • After Anthony Robinson was blocked on a fast-break, Nick Honor says I’ll just stay by the perimeter and knock down a three. Momentum is certainly in the Tigers’ favor as the lead has grown to double-figures.
  • 7:28: Dike still on the bench with two fouls. In the meantime, Nick Honor has hit two 3-pointers to spearhead the offense.
  • Sean East II putting in his application to Jelly Fam with a nice reverse finish to avoid a defender’s reaching arm.
  • Nick Honor just appears to love second halves. He’s constantly played at a much higher level during the final frame this season (Ex: Minnesota, SC State).
  • East with a couple of high-level finishes around the rim in this half, and that elite floater package of his is making a comeback as well.
  • Noah Carter with a very tough and-one effort after fighting through multiple defenders. I’d venture to say that he has been the most consistent wire-to-wire player this season.
  • Robinson in for free throw shooting purposes, replacing Aidan Shaw. He also grabs a very important rebound.
  • Appears that Tavaras Hardy opted to hold Dike out of this game following his flagrant, because he has not returned.

Pregame Updates

  • Starters for today: Honor, East, Grill, Carter, Vanover.

5 Fan Questions:

  1. Who will lead the team in scoring?
  2. How many dunks will Noah Carter have?
  3. Who will lead the team in assists?
  4. How many steals will the Tigers have?
  5. Who will be the surprise star of the day?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below.

Tonight’s Preview

And thus, the three-game home stand comes to an end.

The opening game of this stretch did not go to plan, as Jackson State rallied to take down Mizzou 73-72 and place a notable blemish on the Tigers’ NCAA Tournament résumé. The SC State game nearly followed suit, but Dennis Gates’ team managed to rally from a 16-point deficit to cruise to a bounce back win. Now, the team has have one last tune-up game before the non-conference schedule truly heats up.

Loyola (MD) fell to Florida by a score of 93-73 in its first game but rebounded with an overtime win over Brown. However, the Greyhounds have dropped three-straight games since then and have struggled mightily on the offensive end.

Let’s take a look at what Loyola (MD) will bring to Columbia and how Mizzou can ward off the incoming pack of Greyhounds.

Game Info

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Date: November 29, 2023

Location: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.

TV: SEC Network+

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad, 13.0 PPG)
SG: Sean East II (Grad, 15.2 PPG)
SF: Aidan Shaw (SOPH, 4.0 PPG)
PF: Noah Carter (Grad, 12.2 PPG)
C: Connor Vanover (Grad, 2.3 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Anthony Robinson II (FR, 5.3 PPG)

Loyola (MD)

PG: Deon Perry (SOPH, 13.4 PPG)
SG: D’Angelo Stines (JR, 9.2 PPG)
SF: David Brown III (JR, 6.6 PPG)
PF: Golden Dike (Grad, 10.6 PPG)
C: Milos Ilic (JR, 8.0 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Tyson Commander (SOPH, 7.8 PPG)

*These are projected starters. Also, in today’s college basketball, positions rarely mean much. Those are included purely for perspective on what matchups on the court may look like.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Get To Know Loyola (MD)

Tavaras Hardy was named the Loyola (MD) head coach in 2018, but the former Northwestern Wildcat has plenty of stops in his coaching journey.

Hardy helped mentor Jose Alvarado (aka Grand Theft Alvarado) while he was at Georgia Tech for two seasons, and he was on staff at Georgetown (2014-16) and Northwestern (2007-14) prior to his stint with the Yellow Jackets. During his playing days from 1998-2002, Hardy led Northwestern in blocks and rebounds for three straight seasons and earned an All-Big Ten Honorable mention as a senior before he played professionally in Finland.

Hardy’s Greyhounds have struggled for much of this season. They rebounded from an opening loss to Florida to beat Brown in overtime 77-75, but they have dropped their last three games, including going 0-2 in a Maryland tournament against the likes of Sacred Heart and UMBC.

A 3-point field goal percentage of 31.5% is about the only statistical category that Loyola does not struggle in on offense, although teams have somehow managed to only shoot 64% from the free throw line against them and convert on just 26.3% of their tries from behind the arc.

The Greyhounds are abysmal in grabbing offensive boards (27.8 % of misses reeled in) and preventing them (allowing 31.6% of misses to be grabbed). They rank in the bottom half of the nation in both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency, and opposing teams convert 52% of their shots from inside the arc against Loyola.

But, five Greyhounds average seven or more points per game, making them a team that can rely on a variety of options for offense.

Graduate forward Golden Dike out of Málaga, Spain is the star of the show, averaging 10.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting at an efficient 70% from the floor. At 6-foot-10, Dike weighs in at a strong 248 lbs. and is more than willing to get physical down low and really challenge an opposing defender’s positioning and determination. He’s also an above-average rim protector, with five blocks on the year.

Sophomore guard Deon Perry is a high-level floor general on the perimeter, and he leads the team with 13.4 points and 3.8 assists per game. He and Dike in a pick-and-roll scenario can be lethal.

Junior guards D’Angelo Stines (whose hometown is the Maryland version of Columbia) and David Brown III round out the primary perimeter contributors. Milos Ilic, a 6-foot-10 junior out Serbia, plays alongside Dike down low and gives the Greyhounds plenty of size and length in the paint.

3 Keys To The Game

  1. Limit Loyola’s scoring options

The Greyhounds’ biggest strength is the variety of sources that they get their scoring from. Not having just 1-2 guys to key in on makes life incredibly difficult on defenses, and Mizzou struggled against the likes of Memphis and Minnesota when the opposition was spreading the ball around effectively.

The Tigers should aim to limit Loyola to only one or two primary scoring options, because if a group of Greyhounds get into a rhythm, Mizzou may be unable to prevent them from scoring at will.

2. Don’t let Dike beat you

In the end, if Loyola has any one player that can be an equalizer in this game, it’s Dike. The big-bodied forward could slow this game down if he manages to control the interior on both ends of the floor, and Connor Vanover and Jordan Butler are not necessarily equipped to handle Dike’s physicality with their slender frames. Preventing Dike from dominating on the glass and in the post may be a group effort, and I would expect Gates to throw plenty of double teams his way if he gets into a rhythm. It also helps that the Tigers currently rank first in the nation in blocks per game with 7.7, something that may disrupt Dike on offense.

A double-double from Dike would spell trouble for Mizzou. Anything less than that and the Tigers should be just fine.

3. Grit-and-grind

“I don’t think we won a 50-50 loose ball,” Gates said following the JSU loss. “I think they were the first on the floor for every loose ball, which is very uncharacteristic of us.”

Those were Gates’ thoughts following the disappointing defeat on Monday. His team was out-hustled and did not want to win as much as JSU did, and it led to plenty of live ball turnovers and missed rebounds. In turn, the final score reflected that reality.

The effort in the South Carolina State game was lacking early on, but someone (likely Gates based on his post-game presser) must have lit a forest fire under the team, because they played with noticeable intensity after being down early. The Tigers out-rebounded the Bulldogs and recorded more steals, both of which were improvements over the JSU game.

Every mid-major program that walks into a place like Mizzou Arena wants to pull off an upset more than anything in the world. They will lay it all on the line and not hold anything back, simply because they have so little to lose.

The Tigers need to be able to match that energy and determination, and the JSU game may serve to teach them that lesson. I highly doubt that any team will out-grit this Missouri squad again, but best believe that the Greyhounds will do their best.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Minnesota
The face of a man who knows he’s sparking a 20-point comeback.
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Game Prediction

KenPom Prediction: Missouri 75 | Loyola (MD) 57

My Prediction: Missouri 85 | Loyola (MD) 70

Emotions, momentum, team morale...everything was at an all-time high following that miraculous win over Minnesota.

Then disaster struck.

The Tigers returned home looking to tidy some things up and maintain the good vibes...and instead they suffered a letdown performance. 18 turnovers plagued Mizzou during a loss to JSU, and just as quickly as the team had appeared to gain momentum, it lost it.

“This is the beginning of a season, so is it a lesson or a loss?” Gates said following the Jackson State defeat. “One game doesn’t define you, one game will not define us. I think our guys are going to use this as a lesson and be able to move forward.”

It looked like a loss early against SC State, with the Bulldogs jumping out to a commanding 29-13 lead. But, these Tigers show resiliency in rally when their backs were against the wall and avoided a disastrous two-game stretch.

With the Greyhounds featuring a pair of quality bigs and having a week off, this may not be a cruise control game for the Tigers. Gates and Co. should be able to pull away, but I can certainly see Loyola making this a game in the first half, similar to how the SIUE and Jackson State and SC State matchups went.

As I have said all season long, if Mizzou controls the pace and tempo, Loyola will be unable to match it and uncomfortable throughout this game. A morning tip against a mid-major foe two days after Thanksgiving is generally a scary sight, but I believe that Gates will have this team properly locked in to avoid any form of upset before the slate gets dicey.