PowerMizzou - Game at a Glance
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Game at a Glance

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After each Tiger game, we take a look at the highs and lows. Here's the report from Wednesday's 75-66 loss to Illinois.

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Jordan Geist scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, but sat for a long stretch in the second half
Jordan Geist scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, but sat for a long stretch in the second half (Jordan Kodner)

TURNING POINT: With 6:18 to play, Missouri had somehow clawed back within five points at 64-59. The Tigers hadn't played that well and hadn't shot well at all, but they were within striking distance. Cullen VanLeer had a three-pointer that would have cut the Illinois lead to two. It did not draw iron. On the other end, Michael Finke made a three to put the Illini ahead by eight. Missouri would not get closer than six the rest of the game.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Maverick Morgan made two free throws to put the Illini up 71-63 with 1:27 left. Prior to those free throws, the Illini had gone 3:29 without a point. But Missouri had scored just two in that stretch. For a team which struggles mightily to score, eight points in 87 seconds simply was not going to happen.

CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM: They don't play for eight days. That's not trying to be flippant, even though it will come off that way. Kim Anderson and the players said the team needed a break. They get one now. However unlikely it is that the Tigers can recharge and make anything approaching a post-Christmas break, that's really the only option they have. Come back and try to be better.

CAUSE FOR CONCERN: If you need this one explained, you haven't much been watching. They're 5-6 against a mediocre non-conference schedule. Shooting percentages in the 30s are the norm. This team can't score and it can't get enough stops to make up significant ground when it gets down.

STOCK UP: Jordan Geist and Kevin Puryear. That duo went 9-15 from the floor and combined to score 29 points. The rest of the Tigers were 13-46 and scored 37 points. Geist gave the Tigers a spark early in the second half with some whirling dervish layups and then inexplicably sat for six minutes and 53 seconds (Anderson said after the game "he probably should have been in.") Puryear should be option one on offense and probably option two. Enough of watching the backcourt fling up jump shots that are as likely to draw air as the bottom of the net. Give the ball to the best offensive player on the team and see what he can do.

STOCK DOWN: The rotation. Or lack thereof. We are 11 games into year three and yet to see anything approaching a consistent lineup. Anderson said after the game the starting five would likely change for Lipscomb. But it's more than that. VanLeer got 35 minutes and had five points, three assists and one rebound. Frankie Hughes is now shooting 29% on the season and has taken 32 more shots than anyone else on the team. Four days after Anderson told us Willie Jackson had earned more playing time, he was on the floor for all of 11 minutes (and still finished fourth on the team in rebounds with three). Anderson said after the game it's hard to play 11 guys. So don't. Pick eight and play them. It doesn't even matter which eight. Just pick eight.

UP NEXT: Missouri plays Lipscomb at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29th at Mizzou Arena. Lipscomb is 5-8. Its last game was a 99-85 win over Austin Peay.

Kim Anderson talks to starting guards Cullen VanLeer and Terrence Phillips
Kim Anderson talks to starting guards Cullen VanLeer and Terrence Phillips (Jordan Kodner)