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Seton Hall’s win saw the Pirates rip a page from Mizzou’s book

There was a lot of ways that Mizzou could have fell to Seton Hall. Letting the Pirates execute from 3-point range was one that was unexpected.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 3-point shot has come a long way since it was introduced to college basketball for the 1986-87 season and is now a focal point in most offenses at every level of the game. It’s something Missouri has taken a lot of pride in since Dennis Gates arrived in Columbia in 2022, and, in that timeframe, Gates’ teams were 31-5 when they connected on seven or more 3-pointers.

Seton Hall, on the other hand, operates as a polar opposite.

Coming into T-Mobile Arena in Kansas City, the Pirates ranked 375th nationally in 3-pointers attempted, 328th in made 3-pointers, and 316th in 3-point percentage. On the flip side, the Tigers came into the game ranking 37th in 3-point attempts, 40th in triples made per game, and 113th in 3-point percentage.

One might have expected Missouri to have had a clear advantage in this department.

Not quite.

In a 93-87 loss, the Tigers watched the Pirates close that gap, knocking down 43.5 percent of their attempts and only finishing two makes behind MU and spoiling MU’s first game in the City of Fountains since 2019.

By halftime, the Pirates were just two triples from their team high on the 2023-24 season. Up to Sunday, Seton Hall’s high in made 3-pointers was eight, which came in late November against Northeastern and in an outing against Iowa.

The damage to the Tigers on the defensive end was done mainly by three Pirates: Dylan Addae-Wusu, Al-Amir Dawes, and Dre Davis, all of whom combined for 64 points. Wusu and Dawes knocked down the first six triples in the first half as the Pirates carried a four-point advantage.

“If you look at the course of the scouting reports, they’ve not shot the ball that well, especially in the first half, and I thought they did a good job,” Gates said. “I thought zero (Addae-Wusu) did a great job. He did a tremendous got them going and got them in a rhythm.”

After the break, the Pirates kept up the barrage, punishing MU as it continued to close out short, assuming the Tigers weren’t late in rotation or blowing a switch. Those gaffes often left the Pirates all alone on the right wing. Davis knocked down his first 3-pointer, followed by Addae-Wusu before Davis converted on his third look of the afternoon. By the 17:27 mark, Missouri found itself down 51-41.

“Defense starts with communication,” Gates said. “It starts with communication and obviously not getting deflected passes. I thought they were able to get no resistance in that swing.”

Addae-Wusu finished 4 of 6 from behind the arc, while Dawes went 4 of 11 and Davis perfect on two attempts.

“They were playing way too comfortable,” MU forward Jesus Carralero-Martin said. “They were getting paint touches; they were swinging the ball, and the next pass was wide open, so we got to be able to be better on-ball pressure.”

Early on, MU had little issue keeping pace. The Tigers sank four of their first six 3-balls, makes that came off the hands of four players and helped build a 16-10 edge. Then came a drought, a recurring theme in games against Memphis, Loyola (Maryland), and last week at Kansas. During that span, the Pirates surged to a 29-21 lead, which would grow as large as 19 points in the second half.

While MU slashed the margin to four in the final minute of the second half, its surge came too late. “It’s impossible to win ball games if your opponent’s going to shoot 60 percent,” Gates said. “They made shots when they were consistently making five three a game on average...I thought they were very unselfish without the ball, being able to find some open looks and move how they needed to move.”

Gates once again credited Seton Hall as a formidable opponent and reiterated why he added a team like the Pirates to the Tigers’ schedule.

“We wanted an unbelievable Big East team,” Gates said. “I thought Seton Hall was that I knew as it relates to the scheduling where Big East basketball stood. The other thing was what can give us a look to prepare us for the SEC, and it’s no different than our previous games. Our previous games, you look at every one of our lessons learned the the L’s we took, those are all NCAA Tournament teams.”

Mizzou is now 7-4 on the season and 29-2 when scoring 70-plus points with Gates as head coach.

The Tigers head to the other side of the state next Friday to face another likely NCAA Tournament team. Mizzou will take on No. 16 Illinois in the annual Braggin’ Rights game. Illinois is currently 8-2 after beating Colgate 74-57. The game will be shown at 8 PM on Fox Sports 1.