COLUMBIA - The Missouri men’s basketball team has had a turbulent past three weeks. Now they have some time to take a break and regain their focus.
After getting blown out 100-63 at Kansas State on Saturday, the Tigers don’t play again until Saturday, when Colorado comes to Mizzou Arena.
“Maybe we can heal up, get guys some rest, take care of the classroom as we get ready for the rest of the semester,” coach Mike Anderson said in a radio interview after Saturday’s game.
The team has been in the news non-stop since Jan. 27, when five players were out at a Columbia nightclub past the team’s curfew and former point guard Stefhon Hannah broke his jaw in a fight.
Since then, the five players — Hannah, guard Jason Horton, and forwards Marshall Brown, Darryl Butterfield and Leo Lyons — were suspended for varying lengths of time. Hannah and Horton were arrested and charged with third-degree assault, and Hannah was dismissed from the team. Meanwhile, the Tigers went 2-4 in Big 12 Conference games.
Despite being charged on Friday, Horton played in Saturday’s game and a team spokesman said Horton will face no additional punishment from the team.
Missouri has five regular season games remaining to boost its postseason resume.
“It’s always good to have a game right after you struggle against a good team,” guard Matt Lawrence said on a phone interview after Saturday’s game. “It’s good to just get out there and redeem yourself, but I think we will be all right. We just need to redeem ourselves, get our confidence back up.”
After Missouri’s 37-point loss on Saturday, Lawrence said he expects to go hard in practice until Wednesday before easing up a bit.
“You never know with coach Anderson,” Lawrence said. “We’ll work hard and fight this week, have a good week of practice and come out strong against Colorado on Saturday.”
Lawrence said the players are feeling well physically and are no longer feeling the effects of playing extra minutes while some teammates were suspended. Forward DeMarre Carroll is the exception.
Carroll, who leads Missouri in points and rebounds, aggravated an injured right ankle Feb. 4 at Kansas and has struggled ever since. He has lacked his usual explosiveness since the Kansas game and hasn’t scored in double-digits in three games.
“I think we’ve got some guys who need to heal up a little bit. DeMarre, he’s one of the guys,” Anderson said. “He should be a double-double guy. Maybe he can heal up (this week).”
Against Kansas State, Carroll played only 15 minutes while scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds. Before the game, he was averaging 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
“He’s had ankle problems all year. I think he’s fine,” Lawrence said. “We have a little time here to rest before Colorado but he will do what he needs to do to play Saturday. I think he will be all right.”