Mike Anderson has consistently maintained that he has no starters. It is finishing that needs to be valued by his players. On Sunday afternoon, Kim English did not start for the first time this year…but he certainly finished.
"I thought today was probably one of the more complete games Kim English has played since he's been here," Anderson said. "Playing basketball the right way."
After going scoreless in eight minutes in Missouri's win over LaSalle in Cancun, English watched the first ten minutes and seven seconds against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in his warm-ups. Finally, at the 9:53 mark, the junior from Baltimore entered the game.
"I don't know," English said when asked why he didn't start. "Coach made a decision. He went with five guys."
Once on the floor, English made sure he was noticed. He finished with a team-high 18 points on 6-10 shooting in just 20 minutes. He added two assis, two steals and two rebounds and also took a first half charge.
"I feel I had a pretty good game," English said. "We won. I don't care how many minutes I played or if I start or not. If I don't start another game and we keep winning every game, I'm the happiest guy in the world."
The Tigers did win, but like their first four contests, it certainly wasn't easy. Pine Bluff made six first half three-pointers and was down only 38-36 at halftime.
"I thought I probably left my guys in customs coming back from Cancun," Anderson joked.
The first half sleepwalk is something the Tigers have exhibited fairly consistently this year. Mizzou led Wyoming 35-20 at the break. But in their other four games, the Tigers have been up by five on Western Illinois, eight on North Florida, tied with LaSalle and up two on the Golden Lions.
"I really can't answer that question," Laurence Bowers said after an 18-point effort against Pine Bluff. "It's something we've got to fix. We know we're coming out flat."
So far, the slow starts have not hurt the Tigers. That could change soon. Missouri gets Georgetown in a nationally televised matchup of unbeaten teams on Tuesday night. Tipoff is at 8:00 p.m. at the Sprint Center.
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