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Jakeenan Gant has come on strong for Missouri over the last 6 games

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Sometimes it just feels good to feel good again. Never mind the opponent.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Puryear-Gant-Wright.

Your Season Totals: Puryear 16, Phillips 13, Gant 10, VanLeer 7, Walton 6, Wright 7, Isabell 5, Clark 5, Woods 3. Freshmen 42, sophomores 22, juniors 8, seniors 0.

This was already in the Links this morning, but who objects to watching happy highlights more than once?

Missouri 78, UAPB 25

Mizzou
UAPB
Pace (No. of Possessions) 68.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.15 0.37
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.28 0.48
2-PT FG% 45.7% 6.1%
3-PT FG% 40.0% 31.6%
FT% 81.8% 20.0%
True Shooting % 55.2% 21.3%
FTA/FGA 36.1% 28.8%
Mizzou UAPB
Assists 19 6
Steals 12 6
Turnovers 13 21
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.38 0.57
Mizzou UAPB
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.8 17.8
Offensive Rebounds 17 12
Difference +4.2 -5.8
  • The obvious caveat (which should be so obvious that it goes without mention): UAPB is bad. You might remember George Ivory's squad from its 2010 trip to Columbia, when the Golden Lions hit the glass hard, got to the line a lot, and eventually whipped Winthrop in the NCAA Tournament play-in game. That was, relatively speaking, a pretty good team. This team isn't. Of 351 Division 1 teams, only 11 are worse than UAPB according to Pomeroy. (Savannah State, Missouri's next opponent, is juuuuuust barely better.) So yes. Bad. BUT...

  • UAPB lost to Oklahoma State by 14, to Iowa State by 14, to Nebraska by 23, and to Ohio (which ranks ahead of Missouri) by seven. And not even Michigan State (by 46), Cincinnati (by 49), or Texas Tech (by 40) beat the Golden Lions by 53 points or held them below 44 on the scoreboard. Comparatively speaking, what Missouri did to this team was still impressive...

  • ...on defense, at least. Averaging 1.15 points per possession is certainly better than normal, but it's basically what the 2011-12 team averaged against everybody. But ... I'm not sure I've ever seen a team go 2-for-33 on 2-pointers. Over the last 56 minutes of basketball, Missouri has allowed 43 points. Even with help from the rims, that's impressive. I'm not going to jump to conclusions, hopefully we remember the Illinois and UAPB games down the line for the way they planted the seeds of a strong defensive team. We'll see.

  • UAPB does still force turnovers pretty well. It's an Ivory staple. So I'm willing to overlook the 13 turnovers Missouri committed, especially since a) the Tigers also forced 21 and b) Mizzou had 19 assists on 27 made field goals (eight players were at least 37% Pass in the style components below).

  • The one offensive number that gives me pause here is that Mizzou only shot 46% on 2-pointers. You'd love for that to be higher against a weaker opponent with minimal size. For all the good things they did, Kevin Puryear and Jakeenan Gant made only five of 16 2s, which obviously won't play against better teams. But still, the complaints here are going to be minimal in a 53-point win.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Kevin Puryear 11.6 0.68 17 Min, 13 Pts (4-9 FG, 5-6 FT), 8 Reb (4 Off), 2 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 1 PF
Jakeenan Gant 11.2 0.56 20 Min, 7 Pts (1-7 FG, 5-6 FT), 11 Reb (4 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk, 1 PF
Namon Wright 9.4 0.45 21 Min, 7 Pts (3-6 FG, 1-3 3PT), 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk, 1 PF
Wes Clark 8.8 0.38 23 Min, 11 Pts (3-7 FG, 3-5 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 1 PF
Adam Wolf 7.7 1.54 5 Min, 6 Pts (3-4 FG), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 2 Blk
D'Angelo Allen 7.6 0.69 11 Min, 8 Pts (4-4 FG), 4 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 1 PF
K.J. Walton 6.7 0.55 12 Min, 7 Pts (2-3 FG, 3-4 FT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 1 TO
Russell Woods 4.5 0.30 15 Min, 6 Pts (2-4 FG, 2-3 FT), 10 Reb (4 Off), 1 Ast, 3 TO, 3 PF
Cullen VanLeer 4.4 0.20 22 Min, 5 Pts (2-3 FG, 1-2 3PT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 PF
Terrence Phillips 3.5 0.20 18 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 4 Reb (1 Off), 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 1 PF
Ryan Rosburg 2.1 0.19 11 Min, 3 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-1 FT), 1 Stl, 2 PF
Tramaine Isabell 0.9 0.05 18 Min, 5 Pts (2-7 FG, 1-2 3PT), 1 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO, 1 PF
Jimmy Barton -1.8 -0.26 7 Min, 0 Pts (0-4 FG, 0-3 3PT), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Kevin Puryear 38% 37% 3.0 0% 54% 34% 12%
Jakeenan Gant 23% 32% 3.8 48% 29% 23% 0%
Namon Wright 14% 53% 3.5 75% 25% 0% 0%
Wes Clark 18% 43% 3.7 64% 25% 7% 4%
Adam Wolf 38% 69% 2.5 0% 100% 0% 0%
D'Angelo Allen 22% 75% 1.4 0% 80% 0% 20%
K.J. Walton 23% 45% 2.0 0% 38% 49% 13%
Russell Woods 27% 32% 3.2 37% 25% 18% 19%
Cullen VanLeer 7% 65% 1.2 66% 34% 0% 0%
Terrence Phillips 8% 38% 5.5 91% 3% 0% 6%
Ryan Rosburg 11% 47% 0.8 0% 68% 32% 0%
Tramaine Isabell 27% 25% 4.7 64% 25% 0% 11%
Jimmy Barton 27% 8% 4.3 60% 40% 0% 0%
  • Puryear and Gant may have struggled to put the ball in the basket, but they made up for it with eight offensive rebounds, four blocks (all from Gant), and 10-for-12 shooting from the line.

  • No, but seriously, bottle that intensity up, Jakeenan.

    First 6 games for Gant: 11 MPG, 2.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG
    Last 6 games for Gant: 18 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG

    That's getting somewhere.

  • How good do you figure it felt for Namon Wright to watch a shot actually go through the hoop? Namon was in the middle of an epic cold stretch -- 2-for-15 on 2-pointers and 1-for-9 on 3-pointers in the last four games. That he was pulling down defensive rebounds and getting to the line was encouraging when it comes to building an all-around game, but Wright is still a shooter, and when you can't shoot, that's a problem. He didn't waste some 9-for-11 performance on UAPB either, which is probably good. Don't let progression to the mean fully set in until conference play.

  • Wes Clark, meanwhile, is 7-for-11 on 3-pointers in the last two games. Don't waste 'em, Wes! (On the bright side, he's also 4-for-12 on 2s in that span. He's not wasting those.)

  • I see you, Adam Wolf.

Summary

You don't want to take too much from a game like this. You don't want to take too much from a game like this. You don't want to take too much from a game like this. You don't want to take too much from a game like this. You don't want to take too much from a game like this.

But ... damn, feeling good feels good sometimes. Do this to Savannah State on Saturday, too, and actually hit SEC play with some confidence, even if it's of the "we shot fish in a barrel" kind and not the "we did something against good teams" kind. There will be plenty of opportunities for the latter later.

---

AdjGS: a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game. The "adjustment" in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game's points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

Usage%: This "estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor" (via). The usage of those possessions is determined via a formula using field goal and free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. The higher the number, the more prevalent a player is (good or bad) in a team's offensive outcome.

Floor%: Via Basketball-Reference.com: Floor % answers the question, "when Player X uses a possession, what is the probability that his team scores at least 1 point?". The higher the Floor%, the more frequently the team probably scores when the given player is involved.

Touches/Possession: Using field goal attempts, free throw attempts, assists and turnovers, Touches attempt to estimate "the number of times a player touched the ball in an attacking position on the floor." Take the estimated touches and divide it by the estimated number of possessions for which a player was on the court, and you get a rough idea of how many times a player touched the ball in a given possession. For point guards, you'll see the number in the 3-4 range. For shooting guards and wings, 2-3. For an offensively limited center, 1.30. You get the idea.

Anyway, using the Touches figure, we can estimate the percentage of time a player "in an attacking position" passes, shoots, turns the ball over, or gets fouled.