(Photo Credit: Loren Elliot- MUTigers.com)
The defensive minded approach head coach Kim Anderson is instilling in his players turned into the teams first win Saturday as the Missouri Tigers defeated the Valparaiso Crusaders 56-41. The victory comes after the Tigers dropped their opening contest on Friday night to the UMKC Kangaroos 69-61.
While the Tiger defense performed well the offense is still trying to find their rhythm with all the new faces and new schemes. Sophomore point guard Wes Clark led the team in points with 16 and contributed six boards, two assists, and a pair of steals as well.
Another positive note came from second year big man Johnathan Williams III, who contributed six rebounds and 10 points in the game. Anderson likes the idea of implementing Williams III more into the game plan on both ends of the court, so this is a good sign to see him playing well early on.
While Missouri came away with the win the shooting still needs improvement. As a team the Tigers shot just 40 percent from the field, which although is up from Friday’s loss it’s still not where the team wants to be. While it’s a pitfall of having a new young team I think we’d all like to see those shots start to fall on a more consistent basis. Montaque Gill-Caesar had another off game shooting just 4-13 from the floor, but his shot will come with time.
The Tigers won the battle on the boards outrebounding the Crusaders 37-28 and came away with a +2 turnover margin, both of which are key factors to winning ball games.
While it wasn’t the prettiest of games it was improvement over Friday nights disappointment. This team will take time to develop, but once the chemistry settles in and everyone understands their role things will go more smoothly. That is assuming many of these young players don’t get big heads about themselves. If Anderson can keep them focused and get them to work as a team, good things will come down the road.
The Tigers are next in action at home against oral Roberts on Wednesday.
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