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Live Game Thread: SIUE comes to COMO for the second year in a row

The Cougars come to town for some Monday night basketball.

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Missouri 68 | Southern Illinois (Edwarsville) 50


1st Half Notes

  • Damaro Minor, a 6-foot guard out of Chicago, has SIUE’s first four points. He led the Cougars with 14 rebounds against Dayton.
  • John Tonje with his first 3-pointer as a Tiger. Colorado State transfer looks to be getting healthier and is coming into the role we though he would have in the preseason.
  • Caleb Grill is yet again all over the boards in this one. It’s rare to see him at least not in the vicinity of a rebound.
  • Some sloppy offense from Mizzou has allowed SIUE to settle into this one and play at a pace that they like.
  • Jordan Butler and Anthony Robinson III into the game early again. Safe to say that Gates really trusts this freshman class.
  • Minor just boxed 7-foot Jordan Butler out of the paint. Reminder: He’s 6-feet tall. Really impressive stuff.
  • 13:15: Noah Carter with a pivotal 3-pointer to tie the game back up at 12.
  • Carter is feeling it tonight. He hits one from about 2-3 feet behind the arc, and both of his makes have been nothing but net.
  • Have to give the Cougars credit, they are hitting the tough shots that they need to win this game.
  • Another one for Carter, this time off a curl on an inbounds play. He turned to Damaro Minor and had some words for the SIUE guard, who is briefly on the bench.
  • Lamar Wright talking trash to Truman after a block. Don’t quite understand jawing at someone who literally can not respond.
  • Haven’t seen a team get as much consistent penetration into the paint like the Cougars have tonight. They’re breaking down Mizzou’s guard with relative ease, and they have the athletes to finish around defenders and draw a foul.
  • The Antlers chanted “SpongeBob SquarePants” and forced a free throw miss. Early win for the student section.
  • Mizzou looks a bit more locked in coming out of that under eight timeout. Offense has been crisp and the full-court press is really getting to SIUE. Tigers are trapping off of the press for the first time this season.
  • Sean East II may be the most vocal player on this team as of now. He’s the only guy I can hear clearly from press row, directing players to get back on defense, etc.
  • 2:40: Shamar Wright, who had 29 points against North Park in SIUE’s last game, has been held to just one point thus far.
  • Tonje missed Grill on a back screen cut, but he found Honor off the same action. Great stuff from the former Ram.
  • Huge 3-pointer from Nick Honor to end the half, giving the Tigers all of the momentum going into the break.

2nd Half Notes

  • Caleb Grill with 3-pointers to being the half, showing off that pure shot form. He’s also the leader in rebounds with four so far, yet again.
  • I’m in agreement with Gates on the point that the freshmen should not be afraid to shoot, but the trio of Butler, Robinson and Pierce have struggled from behind the arc to start the season. They’ll knock them down eventually, but it’s tough sledding right now.
  • That was a prayer of a shot if I’ve ever seen one, and the man upstairs nearly answered Carter’s last-gasp effort.
  • Nick Honor leaves the floor, holding his left arm gingerly.
  • This appears to be the game where Noah Carter really finds an offensive rhythm.
  • 10:57: East picks off a pass and finishes an easy lay-in on the other end. This moment right here is where the Tigers can ice this game, now up 17.
  • Tamar Bates bails Minor out of a late-clock situation by fouling the Cougar guard on a three.
  • Aidan Shaw goes to work down low on a smaller defender after really fighting hard on the defensive glass.
  • Robinson III will become a fan-favorite by season’s end. The freshman has two blocked 3-pointers, a couple of really tough rebounds and five free throws to his name thus far. He may have a slighter frame, but his jumping ability and willingness to do the dirty work makes up for that and then some.
  • Curt Lewis gets into the game and swipes the ball away from Minor. He then kicks it up to Bates, who knocks down an easy 3-pointer. 7-0 run for Mizzou right now.
  • And that’s another 20-ball for Sean East II.
  • Aidan Shaw doing what he does best, grabbing a ball that very few humans could catch and slamming it through a circular piece of metal.

Pregame Updates

  • Starters for tonight are: John Tonje, Nick Honor, Caleb Grill, Sean East II and Noah Carter.

5 Fan Questions:

  1. Who will lead the team in scoring?
  2. How many 3-pointers will Caleb Grill hit?
  3. Will Mizzou have over or under 15 forced turnovers?
  4. How many blocks will Aidan Shaw have?
  5. Who will lead the team in assists?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below.

Tonight’s Preview

So, we meet again.

Southern Illinois (Edwardsville) joins Wichita State, Illinois and Kansas as the only teams that Mizzou has played two years in a row during non-conference competition. The Cougars are 1-1 through two games, with a 63-47 loss to Dayton in the opener and a 92-67 win over North Park (a private school in Chicago) to their name.

While we only have a small sample size to go off of, SIU-Edwardsville is a tough team led by a trio of reliable guards and a stout defense.

The Tigers are in search of a rebound performance that can re-instill some confidence before they travel to the Twin Cities to take on Minnesota on Thursday. Ironing out some wrinkles against the Cougars would be a great thing to do before another key swing game against the Golden Gophers.

In the final edition of Monday night basketball for Mizzou this season, let’s take a look at the matchup.

Aidan Shaw sure is fired up for some Missouri basketball.
Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Game Info

Time: 7:00 CST

Date: Monday, Nov. 13, 2023

Location: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.

TV: SEC Network+

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad, 5-foot-10, 13.0 PPG)
SG: Sean East II (Grad, 6-foot-3, 17.5 PPG)
SF: Caleb Grill (Grad, 6-foot-3, 10.5 PPG)
PF: Jesus Carralero Martin (Grad, 6-foot-7, 0 PPG)
C: Noah Carter (Grad, 6-foot-6, 12.5 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Tamar Bates (JR, 6-foot-5, 12.0 PPG)

Southern Illinois

PG: Damarco Minor (JR, 6-foot 11.5 PPG)
SG: Ray’Sean Taylor (JR, 6-foot-1, 11.0 PPG)
SF: Shamar Wright (SR, 29.0 PPG)
PF: Lamar Wright (SR, 6-foot-7, 11.0 PPG)
C: Terrance Thompson (JR, 6-foot-8, 5.5 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Desmond Polk (JR, 6-foot-4, 5.5 PPG)

*These are projected starters. Also, in today’s college basketball, rarely do positions mean much. They are included more for perspective of on-court matchups.

NCAA Basketball: SIU - Edwardsville at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Get To Know Southern Illinois

The Cougars are led by Brian Barone, who is in his fifth season at the helm in Edwardsville. After being promoted from his assistant position on the team in 2019, Barone built the program up to be able to register its first winning season at the Division-I level in 2022-23, finishing 19-14 after falling in the second round of the OVC Tournament (SIUE had never won a conference tournament game previously). Barone is a former Texas A&M Aggie who played for his father Brian Barone Sr. in College Station before transferring to Marquette to finish his career in 1999-2000.

While the 92-67 victory over North Park still registers in the win column, I’m going to base most of my analysis of this team on its 63-47 loss to Dayton last Monday.

SIUE led by as much as eight in that game and held the Flyers to just a 21.7% clip from behind the arc, but Dayton pulled away in the second half as the Cougar offense sputtered. The visitors did well to slow the pace of the game in the first half, forcing Dayton to settle for 3-pointers and holding the home team to just 27 points in the opening half. But, Anthony Grant’s squad adjusted in the second half and cruised to a win thanks to SIUE’s offensive struggles and Dayton closing the game on a 19-8 run in the final nine minutes.

The Cougars enjoy letting it fly from deep, shooting at 41.7% from 3-point land, and they defend the perimeter shot well on the other end. But, they struggle in most other areas, such as two-point field goal percentage (28.9%) and adjusted offensive efficiency (98.3%, 265th in the nation), and they also allow opponents to reel in offensive rebounds on 26.7% of possessions.

Senior guard Shamar Wright is the star of the show for SIUE. After not playing against Dayton, Wright exploded for 29 points against North Park in the team’s second outing. The 6-foot-7 wing moved into eighth-place in all-time scoring for the Cougars and became the all-time leader in games played for SIUE with his 123rd appearance. He’s seen it all at the college level, has great size to go along with a nice offensive arsenal and is incredibly comfortable within the program. All of this will place him at the top of everybody’s scouting report when they play SIUE this season.

Guard Ray’Sean Taylor became the Cougars’ first-ever All-OVC First-Team selection last season, but he has taken a step back through two games in most statistical categories. He still figures to be a high-volume scorer for SIUE this season, and this team will only go as far as Wright and Taylor can take it.

That being said, they are not the only players of focus on this roster. Damarco Minor was named to the OVC’s All-Newcomer team last season, and he led the Cougars with 14 rebounds against Dayton despite standing at only six feet tall. Minor is a tough and physical Chicago guard who forms a strong trio with Taylor and Wright in the Cougar backcourt.

Foul trouble hurt Terrance Thompson, Lamar Wright and Arnas Sakenis against Dayton, and with SIUE already featuring a thin front court with only one player (Sakenis) coming in at above 6-foot-8, the Cougars can ill-afford to have any of them go through that again in COMO.

This is also just the first of five opponents from the state of Missouri for SIUE this season. Missouri Baptist, Central Christian Missouri, Lindenwood and Southeast Missouri State are all on the upcoming schedule as well.

3 Keys To The Game

  1. Attack the Cougar front court

As I previously mentioned, foul trouble hurt SIUE against Dayton, with Sakenis and Wright each picking up four and Thompson fouling out of the contest. With Connor Vanover still sidelined, Mizzou may not possess the typical size to go after those bigs, but the Tigers do have plenty of guys (Carter, East, Bates to name a few) that are comfortable in taking on some contact at the rim. With Mizzou still not being a necessarily strong rebounding team (lost the battle on the glass 47-33 against Memphis), forcing SIUE’s big men into limited minutes yet again would go a long way in winning the battle on the boards.

2. Set the tone and pace of the game early

SIUE made it clear in Dayton that it would not be torching many nets this year, but they were comfortable playing in a low-scoring, slow-paced game against the Flyers. Once Dayton was able to open things up late in the second half, it took control of the game.

Thus, Mizzou needs to make its mark on this game early and maintain its up-tempo style regardless of what SIUE throws at it. In the end, Barone would love nothing more than to keep this one in the 60s and 70s, challenging the Tigers to win a grind-it-out style of game. That would be a perfect recipe for an upset, but it is very difficult to walk into Mizzou Arena and prevent a Dennis Gates-coached team from accelerating the speed of the game at will. Memphis did it for a half last week, but Rick Stansbury went on record saying that not many teams are even capable of doing that in this building. Mizzou needs to maintain its style of play for a full 40 minutes this time around.

3. Continue to play free

Following a 22-point second-half performance in a marquee game, many coaches and players would go back to the drawing board to adjust the offense and fix what went wrong.

That’s not Dennis Gates’ style.

“I still want these guys to shoot the shots that they took. I truly believe that we will not have another shooting display like that,” Gates said. “I know that our guys are better shooters than that.”

And, he’s entirely right. Much like last season, this is a team full of shooters that can go hot and cold at a moment’s notice, and the Tigers will just have to live and die with that at times. We saw what the ceiling of the Missouri offense could look like early against Memphis, and then we saw the floor for the rest of the game.

At the end of the day, one loss in mid-November should do nothing to discourage this team and cause them to change how they play. This roster is still best equipped to play a fast-paced, creative brand of basketball, and it should continue to do so.

Personal observation from watching them on the court, Sean East II has really taken Anthony Robinson III under his wing.
Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Game Prediction

KenPom Prediction: Missouri 82 | SIUE 66

My Prediction: Missouri 89 | SIUE 68

Nobody was satisfied with the Memphis result, least of all the people within the Missouri locker room.

“I thought that my leadership could have been a lot better,” Carter said. “We’re definitely going to regroup, take a look at the film and get back to playing our basketball. This game doesn’t define us, so we just have to make sure that everybody’s heads are still raised high and don’t let anybody get deflated.

A second-half offensive collapse and interior domination from Memphis caused Mizzou to suffer a humbling defeat, but it is one that Gates is certain his team will learn a lot from.

“Learning from your experience is ultimately why we scheduled the way that we did,” Gates said. “Is it a loss, or is it a lesson?”

The guard trio of Wright, Minor and Taylor should be solid challenges for Honor and East II on the perimeter, but there is no reason to believe that the veterans are not up for the task. Similar to the Arkansas Pine-Bluff game, if Mizzou can just impose its style of play on the other team and play at the frantic tempo that it is so comfortable with, then SIUE will not be able to keep pace. If the Cougars are able to slow the game down and have another productive day from behind the arc, then the Tigers will find themselves in a game.

Although SIUE may challenge Mizzou stylistically, the Tigers should still have little-to-no trouble in handling the Cougars at home. As long as this one is played at the pace that Gates and Co. like to employ, then Barone’s team will be uncomfortable throughout the 40 minutes, leading to an easy Mizzou victory.