And One: Sooners send Tigers home from KC winless
The morning after each Mizzou basketball game this season, we will highlight a few notable takeaways from the performance in the ‘And-One.’ Here are three things we learned in the loss to Oklahoma.
Javon Pickett will still have a role. Pickett had struggled offensively all year and to did so defensively against Butler. But he played 32 minutes on Tuesday and had five points, three rebounds and two assists. It’s not the most glorious line, but it was a step forward. Pickett is the quintessential Cuonzo Martin player and he’s going to keep getting his chances.
Tigers go a half without Pinson. One of Missouri's top three players most of the season, Xavier Pinson didn’t get off the bench in the second half. After the game, Martin said he hurt his knee in the first half, when he played 13 minutes. Martin didn’t have a diagnosis, but the team didn't appear to believe it was a serious injury. WIth Pinson out, Mark Smith spent some time running the point, which he frequently does in practice, but has never done in a game.
“I know all the spots on the floor,” Smith said.
As Tilmon goes, so go the Tigers. This is not breaking news. But for three halves in this tournament, Jeremiah Tilmon was scoreless. In the second half Tuesday he scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. Not coincidentally, the second half against the Sooners was Missouri's best half of the week.
“I think everybody in here has seen what Jeremiah can do,” Torrence Watson said. “I think he’s just got to stay on the floor. Sometimes it’s hard for him to get a groove when he’s on the floor, off the floor, playing two minutes here, two minutes there
Game at a Glance
CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM: Not to be too negative, but there is a limit to how often you can write “they played really well after they were so awful they were down 20 points.” It rings a little hollow at this point. Somebody’s got to get them going before their backs are against the wall. The Tigers led 3-0 against Butler. They did not hold a lead again the rest of the tournament.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Mizzou has played three good teams and has lost to all three. Beating Morehead State and Charleston Southern doesn’t get you an NCAA Tournament sniff. Cuonzo Martin openly talked about this team being in the upper echelon of the SEC and making the dance. That's not fan optimism. That’s the coach creating the hype. Right now, the Tigers don’t look all that close to fulfilling it.
STOCK UP: Torrence Watson. Watson made three threes on the night on the way to a season-high 11 points. Missouri has to find a second shooter besides Mark Smith. Watson is the most likely candidate and he delivered on Tuesday.
STOCK DOWN: The first half. If Missouri had even been average in the first ten minutes against Xavier, Butler and Oklahoma, the Tigers might be undefeated and in the top 25. They have been far less than average and are 4-3.
UP NEXT: Missouri (4-3) will Charleston Southern at Mizzou Arena next Tuesday night at 7 p.m.