(Photo Credit: Clayton Hotze- MUTigers.com)
Losing 69-61 to a mediocre UMKC team is not the way Kim Anderson envisioned starting the regular season. The Tigers opened up the regular season Friday night as they played host to the UMKC Kangaroos in their opening game in the Maui Invitational. While this team has a lot of raw talent, most of them are fresh out of high school and it’s noticeable.
Missouri shot an abysmal 37 percent from the floor, had 17 turnovers, and managed to rack up 25 fouls. That type of play isn’t going to win any game regardless of the opponent.
Though, credit the Kangaroos for getting a lead early and playing hard to hold it throughout the game. Martez Harrison led the way for UMKC registering 26 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
On the Tigers side Montaque Gill-Caesar carried the points load putting up 21, but did so on an inefficient 9-23 shooting. Wes Clark, who added 13 points, also shot poorly making just four of his 14 shots on the game. When the shots don’t drop it’s hard to win ball games.
I had higher hopes than most for this team coming into the season and while it is only one game, it’s concerning when you can’t figure out how to beat a team that went 10-20 a season ago. It’s obvious that it will take some time for the players to gel, but some mistakes are easily avoided. For instance Gill-Caesar put up 23 shots for what reason? I know he’s the star talent I mentioned in my preview, but if you’re cold- pass the ball!
I’m a big fan of Anderson’s defensive approach and the team played well when it came to applying the pressure and forcing turnovers, but we have to see them capitalize on those defensive stops. UMKC only shot 38 percent, but still managed to squeak out the win due to the Tigers poor offensive output.
It’s going to take time for this team to find the chemistry and balance, but the Tiger faithful’s patience is on a very short leash.
Missouri’s next game is Sunday Nov. 16 against Valparaiso at 5 p.m.
Game Note: Jakeenan Gant was held out of Friday’s game as the school investigates an eligibility issue.
For more Missouri Tigers updates follow @NickYahl on Twitter