Both offense and defense were on display tonight at Mizzou Arena where freshman guards Terrence Phillips and K.J. Walton provided the spark in Missouri’s 92-53 exhibition win against Missouri Western.
The Tigers’ 92 points topped their season high of 79 in the 2014-2015 season. On defense, Mizzou swiped the ball ten times, four of them coming from Phillips in the first half.
As for K.J. Walton, the 4-star freshman guard posted 17 points, failing to miss a shot in his 6-6 effort from the field. 12 of Walton’s points came from beyond the arc, from where he caught fire in the second half.
“I was just feeding off my teammates really, they were keeping me motivated,” said Walton after the game.
Walton created a 9-1 run of his own with 5:45 to go in the second half, splashing three straight triples to extend Mizzou’s lead to 39.
While the shorter 30-second shot clock can definitely be attributed to the high score, Mizzou’s offense looks much better than that of last year’s team. In the 2014-2015 campaign, the Tigers averaged 60.4 points per game. Tonight, they posted 59 in the second half.
“We have more guys that can score now, we have more shooters,” said Missouri Head Coach Kim Anderson following the team’s victory.
However, the Tigers recognize spots in their game needing improvement.
“As a team, we’ve got to cut down on the turnovers,” mentioned K.J. Walton.
Coach Anderson also recognized a couple of struggles with the discipline of Mizzou. “There were a couple of times where our decision making was questionable,” spoke Anderson after the game.
Walton led the Tigers in scoring with 17, followed by Tramaine Isabell’s 16, Russell Woods’ 13, and Wes Clark’s 10. Jakeenan Gant topped the leaderboard with eight rebounds and Terrence Phillips led Mizzou with six assists.
“We’ve changed the way we practiced, and I could see it tonight,” said Coach Anderson. “It was overall a good start.”
The Tigers are back in action next Friday night when they host Wofford to kick off the CBE Hall of Fame Classic and their official 2015-2016 season. Tip-off is at 8:00 PM.