(Columbia, MO) – As the Missouri team bus departed from Kansas City last week following a rough performance in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, the Tigers didn’t have much to celebrate.
Mizzou was outscored 133-104 in KC, but finished strong, outscoring Northwestern 38-29 in the second half of last Tuesday’s matchup. They took that momentum into last night’s game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
The Tigers topped Arkansas State by a score of 88-78 at Mizzou Arena last night, moving them to 3-3 on the season and 3-0 at home.
Mizzou came out on fire, opening the game with a 13-0 lead. Five different Tigers contributed to the run. In addition, five of Missouri’s first six baskets were layups, as the Tigers drove to the rim all game.
“We shot the ball well, we got the ball to the basket, we rebounded well, we played hard, we got to loose balls,” said Anderson of the team’s impressive start.
Missouri’s defense held the Red Wolves in check. Arkansas State missed their first 11 shots, failing to score until 13:54 mark of the first half.
Coach Kim Anderson attributed Mizzou’s impressive start to the team’s defensive play.
“Our defense keyed it early, We need to play with energy. We made that decision on the way back from Kansas City. We don’t win when we don’t play with energy.”
The second half was a different story. The Tigers were outscored 49-40 by Arkansas State.
“There were times when you could drive a truck through the lane,” mentioned Kim Anderson. “In the second half, our perimeter defense, our help defense struggled.”
Redshirt Junior Devin Carter (24 pts) and the Red Wolves made it difficult, trimming Mizzou’s 25-point lead to 70-66 with less than five minutes to go in the contest.
However, Namon Wright quickly responded with an and-one three-pointer and fastbreak layup to put the Tigers up by 10.
“I’ve got confidence in him. He spent his time working extra and shooting extra,” said Kim Anderson regarding Wright. “He’s got a little bit of freedom as long as it’s a good shot”
Five Tigers eclipsed double-digits (Wright, Puryear, Rosburg, Isabell, Walton). Namon Wright led the Tigers with 14 points, shooting 5-9 from the field and 3-5 behind the arc. Terrence Phillips dished out seven assists to lead the Tigers. In addition, Phillips made his once a game trip into the stands with a dive in the second half.
“We could have lost that game, but we had guys step up and make plays,” said Anderson. “They said they weren’t nervous, I was nervous.”
The Tigers will return to Mizzou Arena looking to surpass the .500 mark on Friday when they face the undefeated Northern Illinois Huskies at 7:00 PM.