Brian “I’ll try to avoid being a homer & I won’t complain about the fouls” Graham
I know I began a self-imposed Social Media and an outright communication hiatus at about 9 p.m. last night. But, the website must live-on, as I quote my partner in crime Andrew Cangelose, “The website will be a turd without you.” Give yourself some credit, my good friend, but per your request I will be on Hiatus with exception of KC SportsNation…
Mizzou has started a season 25-2 three times. They have never been 25-3.
Missouri suffered its first home loss of the season – and played poorly at home for the first time all year as Kansas State came to town to earn a season sweep of the Tigers, 78-68, in impressive fashion.
But it is more than that. Trends – Missouri plays so well at home and Kansas State struggles to score the basketball – suggested that Missouri couldn’t do the same thing they did in Manhattan (score a season-low 59 points, shoot 32.7%) and K-State couldn’t do the same thing (shoot lights out in the first half and cruise to victory).
But everything said in yesterday’s Preview of why Mizzou wouldn’t play the same as they did the first time, and why K-State couldn’t play as good as they did the first time – was wrong.
I foolishly assumed Missouri would win – by double digits – because it was simply a home game – and ignored the facts that K-State is a matchup nightmare for the Tigers. Every year, there are teams that don’t matchup well against others – regardless of which team is the better team.
Kudos to Kansas State, who has now won back-to-back road games over Top 10 foes.
“They’ve been awesome, and I couldn’t be happier that they’ve been rewarded these last two games,” Frank Martin said.”
Out-rebounding your opponent 33-27, outassist them 17-15, outblock them 6-2, only committ 11 TO’s, shoot nearly 54%, and nearly 73% from free throw – that’s how you win a game in someone else’s building – regardless how good the team is. This doesn’t always lead to a victory against Missouri, but now the Tigers (25-3, 12-3 Big 12) have three losses – both to Kansas State (19-8, 8-7 Big 12), who earned their third win over a Top 10 this year, who lost twice to Oklahoma – who has one Big 12 win besides Kansas State.
Missouri, for the first time in four home games, scored first – on a Marcus Denmon 3 – and led 16-11 before the Tigers went cold and K-State ripped off a 10-2 run, taking a 21-18 lead. The Tigers stayed cold for the rest of the half, and KState remained hot, taking a 40-30 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Tigers quickly cut it to eight – 43-35, but fell behind by 16, 61-46. They started to hit some outside shots and narrowed the gap – just like they can do – in a hurry. Kim English – who did not play one of his better games with a dumb technical foul late in the first half, missing all three free throws and missing two wide open 3’s in the final four minutes – had a 3-ball roll in, cutting it to 63-60, capping off a 14-2 run.
Rodney McGruder, as he did all night, had the answer and came down court, drilling a 3 to put the Cats back up 66-60. Missouri had its chance to cut into the gap, but continued to miss outside shots. They never got closer than four points (twice) as K-State pulled away late.
“We didn’t punch back early,” English said of the Tiger’s first-half struggles (10-29 from the floor). “When you do that and play good teams, it’s an uphill battle all the way.”
As much as things had changed since the first meeting way back on Jan. 7, the more they stayed the same.
McGruder owned the Tigers the first time, and he did so again, scoring 24 points. He had 14 at half (8-8 at the FT line).
“We had a lot of confidence (from the Baylor win),” McGruder said. “And we felt like, ‘Why not come in here and get a victory?'”
Marcus Denmon and Mike Dixon combined to score 40 points (19, 21) and scored 73 in two games against K-State…the rest of the team has scored 54.
In addition, Phil Pressey who had went 0-6 from the field against K-State the first time, played poorly again. He hit two big 3’s early on, but threw up some dumb, NBA-range ones in the second half, missing his last four from downtown, and turned the ball over six times. He did have seven assists, but scored eight points on a woeful 3-11 shooting. He also played TERRIBLE man-to-man defense, and Angel Rodriguez went past him at will, getting into the lane setting up opponents. He had six assists, none which was bigger than his alley-oop to Jordan Henriquez to extend the lead to 68-62 with just over two minutes remaining. Henriquez then hit two free throws the following possession, and the game was all but over.
“We didn’t defend the way we usually defend, the way we need to defend,” English added. “That will be fixed. That won’t happen again.”
Ricardo Ratliffe, who scored just two points, grabbed one board in 14 minutes in the first meeting – and has just 14 TOTAL points and 7 rebounds in three career games against the Cats, went just 3-of-7 from the field and was clearly troubled the length and size of K-State’s defense. He did get to the line five times, and scored 9 points and pulled down a career-high 14 boards. Ratliffe also helped Missouri out-rebound K-State, amazingly, on the offensive end 9-7. The Cats average 15 o-boards a game in Big 12 play.
Missouri entered the game making 50.3 percent of its shots, a mark that ranked second in the country. The Tigers shot just 38 percent against the Wildcats, by far its worst total at home. Missouri’s two worst shooting performances of the year have come against the Cats, who are now CLEARLY a tournament team.
Missouri, This Season
|vs. Kansas St.||vs. All Other Opp.|
|*Worst 2 shooting games this season (32.7 pct and 38.3 pct)|
As good as the Cats were in the first half, shot even better in the second, with a whopping 14-24 (58.3%).
K-State has now held three straight Top-10 opponents to under 40% FG. Impressive stat.
Heading into the season, the fear was Mizzou could be done in by foul trouble and minimal size. Only Kansas State has made them pay for their obvious deficiencies, and tonight at Mizzou Arena, they did it for the second time. The Tigers were forced to play seldom-used tight end Andrew Jones in defense-offense substitutions in the waning moments of the first half. This is clearly the first time all year depth has hurt the Tigers.
Mizzou took more chances defensively in the second half, and the Cats were able to pass their way to a series of good looks from 3-point land. They were 6-for-9 from long range on the night – and hit them at the right time. Meanwhile, Missouri shot 8-26 from 3, needing 17 more attempts than KSU to make two more 3’s. Overall from the field, K-State shot 50% and made five more shots than Mizzou in seven less attempts.
For Kansas State, it was their first win in Columbia since 2007, and only the third road win at Missouri in the last 27 tries. With the series ending with Mizzou’s move to the SEC, the Cats will take the all-time series, 118-117.
Jamar Samuels scored nine points and grabbed 11 boards and Henriquez, who scored four of his six points down the stretch, also blocked four shots – all in the first half – in setting a K-State record with 125 blocks.
Freshman Thomas Gipson has his way with the Tigers down low, much like he did the first time, scoring 13 points off 6-of-7 shooting.
Final Thoughts: K-State is clearly in the tournament and making their claim as the league’s third best team. The OU losses are mistifying. How have they lost to them twice? Iowa State comes to town Saturday. In the first meeting, Kansas State led by double-digits in the second half before losing.
For Missouri, this loss means nothing if Kansas loses to A&M tonight, or if the Tigers go to Lawrence and win, but even if the latter happened, the Tigers despite a season sweep of KU, will still have to more than likely share the conference crown.
But, despite all the doom and gloom about the loss before the showdown with KU, the Tigers cant let this one derail the season. Missouri could double its losses for the entire season in one week – two all year, then two more this week. Today feels like the end of the World. I know it does for me. I declared a Social Media and communication hiatus with the rest of the world for the foreseeable future. I know some are blaming the refs – which were outright bad – but a game is never won or lost because of officiating. The Tigers were down by three with six minutes left and didn’t win. That on the Tigers and congratulations need to go K-State for another great game against the Tigers. But you know what, we are still 25-and-freaking 3 have a chance to still win the Big 12, grab No. 1 seed and potentially break the all-time single-season wins record (31). Did anyone else expect us (Mizzou) to be 25-3 after 28 games after losing Laurence Bowers? I know I didn’t. I just hoped to make the NCAA Tournament.
I know this loss sucks – and a likely loss to KU looms, but it is still a great time to be a Tiger.
|Kansas State Wildcats|
|Jamar Samuels, F||36||3-7||1-1||2-4||3||11||1||0||1||2||3||9|
|Jordan Henriquez, C||20||2-4||0-0||2-2||1||4||0||0||4||0||3||6|
|Rodney McGruder, G||36||7-14||2-2||8-8||0||4||2||0||0||0||1||24|
|Will Spradling, G||33||3-6||1-2||1-2||0||1||2||1||0||3||4||8|
|Angel Rodriguez, G||20||2-5||1-1||2-4||0||3||6||2||0||2||2||7|
|Victor Ojeleye, F||5||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||1||0||0||1||0||0|
|Martavious Irving, G||22||3-7||1-3||0-0||0||2||3||0||0||0||3||7|
|Shane Southwell, G||9||2-2||0-0||0-0||2||5||2||0||1||1||0||4|
|Thomas Gipson, F||19||6-7||0-0||1-2||1||3||0||0||0||2||0||13|
|Ricardo Ratliffe, F||29||3-7||0-0||3-5||3||14||2||0||1||1||1||9|
|Marcus Denmon, G||39||7-16||3-9||2-2||1||1||1||3||0||2||0||19|
|Kim English, G||31||4-7||1-4||0-3||1||3||1||1||0||1||5||9|
|Phil (Flip) Pressey, G||38||3-11||2-6||0-0||0||4||7||1||0||6||4||8|
|Matt Pressey, G||13||1-4||0-2||0-0||1||1||2||1||0||0||3||2|
|Steve Moore, C||18||0-2||0-0||0-0||2||3||1||0||1||0||5||0|
|Michael Dixon, G||31||5-13||2-5||9-10||1||1||1||2||0||0||2||21|
|Andrew Jones, F||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
KSU > MU
MUtigers.com: No. 3 Tigers Fall To Kansas State, 78-68
MUtigers.com: Post Game Notes
MUtigers.com: Post Game Quotes
The Trib: Wildcats sweep Tigers
The Missourian: Kansas State frustrates Missouri
The Missourian: Missouri solemn after loss to Kansas State
The Missourian: PHOTOS: Missouri falls to Kansas State
KC Star: K-State upsets No. 3 Missouri 78-68
KC Star: Henriquez breaks K-State’s career blocks record
Post-Dispatch: K-State outmuscles Mizzou
Post-Dispatch (Bryan Burwell): These Tigers no match for K-State again
PowerMizzou: PHOTOS: The Baseline View
KBIA Sports Extra: Kansas State pounds Mizzou, 78-68
Fox Sports MW: Missouri loses chance at historic Big 12 finish
Topeka Capital Journal: Cats stun No. 3 Tigers
KStateSports.com: McGruder’s 24 Lifts Cats to Win at No. 3 Mizzou
Topeka Capital-Journal: McGruder, Cats stifle Mizzou rally
KC Star: First-half Reminiscent of last time