On Monday, the #12 Missouri Tigers (9-1) defeated the South Carolina State Bulldogs (4-7) by the final score of 102-51.
Missouri dominated this game from the opening tip, and led 49-18 at the half. Coach Haith came out with a new starting line-up after pointing out that Stefan Jankovic and Keion Bell had each earned the start during practice. Coach Haith had said that the Tigers would have “competitive practices” during the week, and they came out on Monday looking like a much more finished product on the court.
During the first half, Coach Haith utilized a 10-man rotation, and the Tigers displayed defensive intensity throughout the first half. At times, Coach Haith had his team applying pressure with a half-court trap, or in a three-quarter or full-court court press, and he frequently changed defenses as he freely substituted players in and out of the lineup.
Missouri also looked better on the offensive end, which was evidenced by the way that the Tigers shared the basketball. The Tigers out-rebounded South Carolina State by a 48-34 margin, and forced the Bulldogs into 12 turnovers. Missouri finished the night shooting 57% from the field, and recorded 19 assists on 41 made baskets to just 7 turnovers.
“I thought our defense was great,” said Coach Haith, following the game. “When we got the ball, we really executed. We shared the ball, so we got great shots. I thought our guys really had great focus. We practiced great all week…………………………………… We really got after it (in practice) all week.”
Five Missouri players scored in double figures, and the Tigers had 10 players who scored 6 points or more.
On his way to scoring 11 points, Laurence Bowers became the 44th player in Missouri history to score 1,000 points for his career.
Jabari Brown made his Missouri debut four minutes in to a standing ovation, and he finished the night with 12 points and 3 assists. Brown didn’t shoot well from beyond the arc, but he showed his high basketball IQ, and he moved well without the ball, and showed a complete game.
Jankovic scored 11 points.
Earnest Ross scored 16 points, including a forceful one-handed dunk off of a baseline drive.
Bell was a defensive force, as he came up with 2 steals, and he was often the beneficiary on the offensive end in transition. He finished with 12 points.
Alex Oriakhi finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Criswell had 8 points and 8 rebounds on the night, and Negus Webster-Chan came off the bench to score 7 points, grab 7 rebounds, and hand out 3 assists against no turnovers.
Phil Pressey attacked on both ends, from “foul line to foul line”, as he set the pace, and the Tigers pushed it up in transition unlike we’ve seen from Mizzou this year. Pressey finished with 6 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals on the night.
Missouri outscored South Carolina State 60-16 on points in the paint, and 21-13 in second chance points.