Mizzou’s second half surge ignites blowout of the Alcorn St. Fighting Steve McNair’s + links

Missouri barely shot 38% and won a game by almost 40.

But, they tried their damnest to keep it close. The Tigers (2-0) shot 23% (9-39) from the field and STILL led 30-23 at half. Then the second half started – where Mizzou outscored the Braves 61-31, which included a 23-1 run late to put the icing on the cake.

You almost have to feel sorry for Alcorn St. (1-1), who played so hard while Missouri played so poorly in the first half and still trailed by seven…then got ROLLED in the second half. I guess this speaks volumes to the talent level on the Mizzou roster this year that twice now they have played poorly in the first half and easily won. On the downside, this is also a bit concerning.

Missouri was woeful shooting in the first half in all aspects – driving the lane, pull-ups, spot-ups and chippy’s. The Tigers missed AT LEAST five point blank shots. Macrus Denmon and Kim English – two of the Top 5-10 3-point shooters in SCHOOL HISTORY – are gone, and to think that they will be easily replaced is just naive. You don’t replace guys like that overnight. Missouri has some guys that can shoot the ball – Earnest Ross and Keion Bell displayed that during exhibition games, Mike Dixon did last year with his “instant offense” off the bench, Phil Pressey did had some great shooting games but what not a reliable 3-point threat and there is Jabari Brown, who will be eligible in December and freshman Negus Webster-Chan hit three in the season opener Saturday – but they don’t have anyone who will be reliable as Denmon and English. My one concern about this year’s team will be a team that struggles shooting the ball…but that does not mean this team is not going to be good…REALLY GOOD. The Tigers have many other ways to score, and they have displayed that this year.

“When you have four guys out there as opposed to two or three that can shoot it, it just makes you tougher to guard,” head coach Frank Haith said.

It was a Pressey DEEP 3 at the end of the first half that jump started the Tigers, igniting an 18-3 across halftime opening up a 45-26 lead and the rout was on. Laurence Bowers was the Tigers best 3-point shooter Tuesday, where he went 3-for-4 hitting all three 3’s in a 2-minute span in the second half, where he also scored eight straight points in opening a 56-31 lead capped off by dunk assisted by Pressey (boy have I missed watching Bowers glide through the air and make dunking look easy).

Bowers said the team was “woken up” at halftime both times by a “stern” message from Haith.

“It was a sense of us being lethargic,” he said. “Coach got under us, and we came out in the second half playing with a fire under us. And we ended up playing great. That halftime speech was a spark. Next game, I said in the huddle, we need to put two halves together and I think that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to come out with a better focus.”

Bowers seems to respond. He scored all 14 points in the second half last night and 18 of 20 points in the second half against SIU-Edwardsville. Bowers is scoring 17 points per game – 16 per game in the second half. He and Pressey were the only players on the court who had worn a Missouri uniform prior to this season as Michael Dixon watched his second consecutive game from the bench, suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Dixon also missed both of the team’s exhibition games, and coach Haith declined to specify a timetable for his return.

“I’ll let you guys know, as I’ve said from day one, when he’s not suspended,” Haith said. “He is still suspended.”

Alcorn St. struggled in its own right, shooting 9-30 (30%) from the field, missing its opportunity to really make it a game and instead became Missouri’s 67th consecutive non-conference home win.

The matchup was part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, though the outcome had no bearing on the field headed to the Bahamas next week. The only previous matchup between the two teams was an 82-51 Missouri win on Dec. 1, 1981.

***

One reason for the first half struggles so far this year is Haith’s experimenting with different lineup combinations.

Juggling a 9-player lineup (minus Dixon, Brown), with seven newcomers, is going to take a lot of experimentation. I realized last night that we might be seeing a lot of first-half funks in non-conference play, especially against lesser teams, when Frank Haith is experimenting. Last year, the rotation was pretty easily defined by circumstance. This year, it might take Haith a little while. This isn’t a Mike Anderson system, where you basically get an entire line change for four minutes in the first half, and where certain reserves come in at specific parts of the half. Haith’s style, for better or worse, is going to be rather fungible from year to year, and in trying to figure out what this team is going to be this year, it’s going to take him a little while to figure out the balance in the rotation, especially when Dixon and Brown return.

“This team is a work in progress,” Haith said. “We’re not going to be where we’re going to be in January. We’re not going to be where we’re going to be in February.”

Speaking of the rotation, why and the hell did 6-4 freshman guard Dominique Bull, who should be redshirting, play the final minute of the game? Absolutely DUMB decision by the staff.

Etc…

  • There were 47 fouls called. Nothing worse than a 37-point blowout with that many whistles.
  • Three Mizzou players grabbed double-digit rebounds (Alex Oriakhi, Webster-Chan, Ross).
  • Ross and Bowers shot a combined 12-for-18. The rest of the team: 14-for-50.
  • It appeared that Pressey had a bad game (2-8 from 3, 6-15 from the field and more turnovers (3) than assists (2)), but he still lead the team in scoring with 21 points (now averages 20 points per game), hit some big shots in the first half when the team needed it and was clearly a great floor general.
  • Oriakhi has two-double digit rebounding games while recording his first double-double of the season (12 points, 10 boards) and is averaging 12.5 boards a contest. Ironically, the big-man scored 10 points from the FT line (10-13), while making just 1-of-5 from the field.
  • Stef Jankovic had a nice dribble-drive baseline dunk that brought the house down late, capping off a Missouri 23-1 run that gave the Tigers their biggest lead, 90-38. I really like this guy. A 6-10 shooter, who can also put it on the floor.
  • Another freshman big man, 6-11 Ryan Rosburg, pulled down seven board in just nine minutes and had the rare 1 point, 6 offensive rebounds line.

***

Player
Line
Earnest Ross 28 Min, 17 Pts (7-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2-4 FT), 10 Reb (4 Off), 3 Ast
Phil Pressey 30 Min, 21 Pts (6-15 FG, 2-8 3PT, 7-9 FT), 3 Stl, 2 Ast, 2 TO
Stefan Jankovic 22 Min, 8 Pts (2-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 4-4 FT), 5 Reb (3 Off), 4 Ast, 3 Blk, 2 Stl, 4 PF
Alex Oriakhi 21 Min, 12 Pts (1-5 FG, 10-13 FT), 10 Reb (5 Off), 2 TO
Laurence Bowers 26 Min, 14 Pts (5-10 FG, 3-4 3PT, 1-2 FT), 4 Reb, 3 Blk
Ryan Rosburg 9 Min, 1 Pt (0-1 FG, 1-2 FT), 7 Reb (6 Off)
Keion Bell 16 Min, 7 Pts (2-7 FG, 1-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb
Negus Webster-Chan 31 Min, 5 Pts (1-8 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2-4 FT), 11 Reb, 3 Stl, 4 PF
Tony Criswell 14 Min, 6 Pts (2-7 FG, 2-4 FT), 4 Reb (3 Off), 2 TO
Danny Feldmann 1 Min
Dominique Bull 1 Min
Corey Haith 1 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 3PT)
ALCORN
MIZZOU
Points 54 91
FG Made-Attempted 19-62 (.306) 26-68 (.382)
3P Made-Attempted 4-12 (.333) 8-22 (.364)
FT Made-Attempted 12-20 (.600) 31-44 (.705)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
Largest Lead 3 42
ALCORN MIZZOU
Points L. Luckett 14 Pressey 21
Rebounds A. Evans 5 Webster-Chan 11
Assists L. Luckett 3 Jankovic 4
Steals A. Nieves 2 Pressey 3
Blocks I. Francis 2 Jankovic 3

***

LINKS
MUtigers.com: No. 14 Missouri Secures Win Over Alcorn State, 91-54
MUtigers.com: Mizzou/Alcorn State Post-Game Notes
MUtigers.com: Post Game Quotes
The Trib: Tigers maul Braves despite first-half struggles
The Missourian: Bowers’ 3-pointers propel Missouri’s second-half surge
The Missourian: First half woes show Missouri has room to improve
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou romps but remains work in progress
KC Star: Missouri notes | Mike Dixon still on the bench
PowerMizzou: Game at a Glance
PowerMizzou: PHOTOS: The Baseline View
KBIA Sports: Missouri men ride strong second half to 91-54 win over Alcorn State

 

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