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Jakeenan Gant and Kevin Puryear are making the 4-spot a relative strength for Missouri

Here are today's Mizzou Links.

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Mizzou Tigers pennant What's On


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The moment got away from Mizzou's young team. In front of 7,989, the Tigers were tight from the outset, and Tennessee was not. And by the time they settled down, a) they were down pretty big, b) Tennessee's length gave the Vols a trump card for any comeback attempt, and c) Mizzou couldn't buy a 3-pointer. Good shot or bad, they all clanged. (Well, 19 of 21 did.)

Chalk it up to learning experiences. There will be more of them, but Mizzou will settle down more quickly in the future, I'm guessing. #20 @MizzouWBB Drops First Game of Season, Falls 71-55 to #12 Tennessee

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The coach has been pleased with his overall progress as well after seeing Gant average 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds over the past eight games while making himself a much more active presence on both ends of the floor.

"I think he’s played really well lately," Anderson said. "I think he’s gotten comfortable. … The strength factor still figures in," Anderson said of Gant. "He’s getting stronger. But that’s kind of something we’ve been working on. But I think he’s played well. He’s given us a presence on the inside, and he’s been able to guard on the perimeter some. Both he and Russ Woods have done a good job when they get switched off on somebody or they end up on a smaller player, some way of kind of gapping it and keeping them from getting to the basket, using their length."

Anderson has taken to dividing Missouri’s minutes at power forward between Gant and freshman starter Puryear and has substituted one for the other almost exclusively. He said he would like to try to use them side-by-side more often as the season continues if both can be productive.

Russell Woods and Ryan Rosburg have brought a little bit more oomph to the table when it comes to defensive rebounding, but the thought of Gant and Puryear on the floor at the same time is certainly encouraging, especially once Puryear is better able to adapt his game to more athletic opponents. He's very much a work in progress in that regard.

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