Missouri guard Kim English spent his time at a different line Saturday night.
Rather than settling for his usual array of jump shots and three pointers on a night when nothing was going in, English began driving the ball to the hoop to draw fouls. English, who has been working in the off-season to become a more all-around player, scored a team-high 14 points on just 4-13 shooting in Missouri’s 59-52 loss to the Richmond University.
“My shot just wasn’t falling in. I’m not just strictly a jump shooter,” English said.
English often powered the ball up against taller forwards to get to the free throw line and help close a seven-point gap in the second half. He used an array of pump fakes and crossover dribbles to offset Missouri’s poor shooting and get to the free throw line for seven free throws. The Tigers as a team relied heavily on the free throw line in the second half, making 18 on the game. But it wasn’t enough.
“We can’t strictly rely on jump shots against a zone. We can’t be one dimensional, we have to be aggressive against a zone,” English said.
The Tigers struggled shooting the ball all night, making only 16 baskets all game in their 59-52 loss to the Richmond Spiders, who improved to 6-1 on the season. Missouri, which was third in the nation in scoring with 81.5 points a game heading into the game, just couldn’t find its touch from anywhere on the court. English said that fatigue from the Friday night’s game wasn’t an issue.
“No, there wasn’t any fatigue. We just shot poorly and just didn’t set up our inside presence,” English said.
Missouri trailed the majority of the game after letting Richmond go on a 12-2 run to take a seven-point lead, nearing the end of the first half. Richmond appeared prepared for the Tigers' pressure defense, and used a zone defense to slow Missouri down on offense. English said the team learned a lot from its loss against Richmond.
“We learned that we are going to get everybody’s best effort,” English said. “They are not playing the ’09-’10 Tigers, they are playing the ’08-’09 "Elite Eight" Tigers. We are going to get their best effort every night.”
Missouri had trouble with Richmond’s defense all night, and prevented them from getting fast breaks. They finished the game with only five assists on the night.
“They got back fast, that’s their style of defense. So we couldn’t fast break, but we still needed to play our brand of basketball and get assists,” English said.
English said the team learned a lot from its trip to South Padre Island, Texas, and plans to spend a lot of time in the gym to fix some of the team’s struggles.