COLUMBIA, Mo. — Just 10 days removed from Missouri's promising performance against 11th-ranked Xavier, the Tigers came crashing down against North Carolina Central, losing 62-52 at Mizzou Arena on Monday night.
Missouri’s dismal offensive performance included missed layups, little offensive flow and just downright poor shooting as the Tigers fell to 3-3 on the season.
“We had many, many, many chances to come back, and we came back, but we just couldn't get over the hump,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said.
The only semi-effective shooting display came from Terrence Phillips, who tallied 17 points on six of 10 shooting (five of seven on 3-point attempts). However, Phillips played with foul trouble all night and ultimately fouled out with 2:35 left in the contest.
Aside from the sophomore floor general, the Tigers couldn’t find any offensive production. One could rattle off discouraging stats — Mizzou had just four second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds; they shot just 11-20 from the free throw line — but a simple glance at the score should tell the story.
The Tigers failed to steal the lead from NCCU all game, tying the Eagles for just 1:38 of play. N.C. Central’s biggest lead was just 12 points, but that’s because the visitors also struggled from the field.
Missouri and NCCU combined for an abysmal 36-120 (30 percent) from the field and 13-49 (27 percent) from 3-point range. The matchup produced sloppy offensive play throughout the game.
North Carolina Central played Ohio State closely earlier this season and roster just two underclassmen, but that’s no excuse for Anderson’s squad. The Eagles went 13-19 last season. This loss was inexcusable and inexplicable for the Tigers.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like I just saw,” Anderson said. “We missed 51 shots, it seemed like 40 of them were at the basket.”
“These are layups. We started 0-9 and I think seven of them were layups, like point-blank layups,” Phillips said. “I just couldn’t believe we were missing them. Those are just so deflating.”
NCCU head coach LeVelle Moton dished credit to his own team, but also acknowledged Missouri’s faults.
“We didn’t shoot it worth anything,” said Moton, whose team improved to 4-2. “Mizzou just missed a bunch of shots that we had nothing to do with. They were open.”
Missouri’s offensive breakdown draws much concern, especially with teams like Miami (Ohio) and Arizona visiting Mizzou Arena next week. In order for the Tigers to compete in their upcoming games, they must create some sort of flow on offense.
Missouri returns to Mizzou Arena on Saturday for a contest against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are 3-3 with losses to Belmont, Washington and UNLV.
You can follow Charlie Clarke on Twitter at @CWClarke18.
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