The first four questions in Mike Anderson's press conference after an 81-62 win over Oral Roberts had to do with players who never even saw the floor. Mike Dixon Jr. served the first game of a length-to-be-determined suspension and John Underwood missed the game while dealing with family issues.
"Anybody want to talk about the game?" Anderson finally asked.
But even then, discussing the game was centered around personnel adjustments with the Tigers missing their starting point guard.
"In practice, I'm the starting point guard on my team," Phil Pressey said. "It's just, I guess, going out there and bringing practice to the game and not worrying about what Mike's doing or when he's going to come back because everybody on this team is just as important as the other guy."
Pressey scored eight points and dished out seven assists. The effort marked his second straight solid outing, following up a five-point, nine-helper day in a weekend win over Presbyterian. Over the last two games, he has 13 points, 16 assists and two turnovers. In the first eight games of his career, the highly-touted freshman had averaged 3.6 points and had just one more assist (18) than turnovers (17).
"I thought Phil stepped up to the plate. He was one of those guys that was in charge," Anderson said. "I thought our guys did a good job of kind of rallying around him as well. …I was proud of him."
The only difference in this one was that Pressey started the game on the court instead of the bench.
"It felt like I was in high school again," Pressey said with a smile. "I haven't come off the bench since, forever. Just going out there and playing basketball just like I know how to."
"The only thing is just getting mentally ready," said Marcus Denmon, who hit his season average of 16 points against the Golden Eagles. "I know how it is when you come off the bench as opposed to starting so I was just talking to Phil about having to be ready when we're starting the game off instead of seeing what's going on and then gauging off of that."
Denmon and Matt Pressey both ran the point at times as well as Anderson used a shortened rotation while missing Dixon and Underwood. Just eight players were on the floor for more than six minutes. Five played 27 or more. Coming into the game, only one Tiger was averaging as much as 27 minutes.
And, for the time being, it may remain that way. Anderson would only say that Dixon "remains indefinitely suspended" for breaking a team rule. The coach will talk to Underwood on Friday to assess the sophomore forward's situation.
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