COLUMBIA — After losing 100-63 to Kansas State and allowing Michael Beasley to score 40 points Saturday, it is no surprise what Missouri coach Mike Anderson wanted to talk about in his weekly teleconference Monday: Defense.
“We’ve got to get better at defending the rim and rebounding a little bit better,” Anderson said. “I think our biggest deal right now is we aren’t being consistent in what we do.”
That lack of defensive consistency was evident Saturday, when Missouri allowed Kansas State to shoot 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from the 3-point line. while grabbing 18 offensive rebounds. Anderson contrasted Saturday’s game to Missouri’s 86-78 overtime win Feb. 13 at Nebraska. Despite Nebraska center Aleks Maric scoring 32 points and getting 16 rebounds, half of which were offensive, Anderson said he liked Missouri’s defensive effort in that game.
“I thought we played with energy, our bench played real well,” Anderson said. “Defensively we did some things. Even though Maric had a big night, we did some other big things. Hopefully we can build on that, but the key is hopefully being consistent defensively and creating some of these opportunities for our basketball team.”
The Tigers held Nebraska to 40 percent shooting from the field and 35 percent from the 3-point line, but the Cornhuskers pulled down 14 offensive rebounds.
Now, Missouri has all week to prepare for Saturday’s game against Colorado at Mizzou Arena. The six-day break is the longest break for the Tigers since having nine days without a game in the beginning of January.
“Hopefully it comes at a time when we can use it to our advantage,” Anderson said. “Where we can get some guys healed up and get them in the classroom and get caught up. But, we’ll find out, we’ll know after everything unfolds.”
With five regular season games left to build a postseason resume, Anderson said Missouri (14-12 overall, 4-7 Big 12 Conference) will spend the week mainly trying to get the defensive consistency it has lacked all season.
“Right now, it’s a matter of just tuning up, more than anything else,” Anderson said. “Everything should be in there. I think now it’s more just going out and doing the things that we’re capable of doing. I think one of the things that we’re really going to emphasize is defensively. We’ve got to be better defensively from a consistent effort from our whole basketball team.”