COLUMBIA — While a double overtime game can be thrilling for fans and players during the game, the after effects can sometimes be harmful to a team, especially when the basketball season hits March.
As the season draws to a close, the frequency at which games occur increases, and a lengthy game can leave players’ legs and energies drained.
Missouri players have said the team needs to be energized to play the way coach Mike Anderson wants it to. It has now reached a time of the season where winning games is the difference from being allowed to continue to play or spending six months playing video games.
On Wednesday, Missouri won a double overtime game against Iowa State, and because of the extra playing time, seven Tigers played more minutes than they average this season.
Guards Jason Horton and J.T. Tiller and forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons each played more than 10 minutes above their average and did not come off the court in either five-minute overtime period.
Anderson said he was a little concerned with the long game because of Missouri’s desire to push the pace of the game to a high level.
“They exerted a lot of energy last night, a lot of guys played a lot of minutes,” Anderson said of his players. “Today (Thursday) we came in and did a lot of shooting and just kind of did a lot of mental preparation.”
Tiller said the team’s light practice was to help rejuvenate the players’ legs. He said he thinks by tomorrow everything should be back to normal, and if not, definitely by Saturday, when the Tigers’ play Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. in the final regular season game.
“I think that we’re just getting started,” Tiller said.
Anderson normally goes to his bench often to keep fresh legs on the court at all times, which allows players to play harder on the defensive end. Coming off a double overtime game, Anderson might be even more prone to rotating players.
“I think we’ll be probably doing a bunch of substituting and getting guys in so we have energy in that game,” Anderson said.
Oklahoma is led by its front court. 6-foot-11 senior Longar Longar and 6-foot-10 freshman Blake Griffin are the Sooners’ top two scorers this year. Griffin’s status for Saturday’s game is in limbo. He had surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus on March 2, but Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel told the Associated Press Wednesday: “Don’t be surprised to see him play on Saturday.”
Capel said Griffin wanted to play in the teams’ game Wednesday, but he was held out of action.
Tiller called the Sooners’ post players “vicious.”
“They’ve got a size advantage, no question about it,” Anderson said. “I’m sure they’re going to cater to that, and we’ve got to offset it somehow. Maybe with tempo. Tempo will be a big issue, I know that. But the war is going to be won, probably, in the paint.”
ACADEMIC RECOGNITION: On Thursday, Matt Lawrence was named to the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team according to a release from the MU media relations office.
According to the release, the qualifications for the second team are to have a GPA between 3.0 and 3.19 either for the past two semesters or cumulative over a players’ academic career. First team qualifications are a GPA of 3.2 or higher.
Lawrence’s major is listed as finance on the press release.