COLUMBIA — For the first time in his five years at Missouri, men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson heads into the season ranked in the preseason polls.
On Friday night, the program will have another first. The Tigers are set to play against an NAIA opponent. Harris-Stowe from St. Louis will visit Mizzou Arena at 7 p.m. Friday night for Missouri's first exhibition game of the season.
Harris-Stowe State Hornets (1-1)
at Missouri Tigers
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Mizzou Arena
TV: Fox Sports Net Midwest
The Tigers, ranked 15th in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls, don't seem too worried about the game. When asked what his thoughts on the Hornets were, junior guard Kim English said he hasn’t even watched film yet, something that rarely happens for regular season games.
Anderson, though, said his team will be challenged to fight nerves because the game will be the first time his highly touted recruiting class will suit up in a Missouri uniform against another opponent.
“I’m anxious to see how we come out,” Anderson said. “Do we come out with energy? Do we come out working on some of the things that we’ve been working on in practice? I think you’ll see guys getting that nervous energy going. But it’s an exhibition game, so it’s a free game and an opportunity to put guys out and see how they respond.”
Junior guard Laurence Bowers said that Missouri can’t take Harris-Stowe lightly and needs to play as they’ve been practicing.
“We can’t come out here taking them like a joke,” Bowers said. “Although they’re an NAIA school, we still have a target on our back, and it would be huge for them to come in here and beat the Missouri Tigers.”
Under Anderson, the Tigers own a perfect record in preseason games, and in those games, they have defeated their opponents by an average of 41.9 points. Eight of those preseason exhibition victories have come against in-state opponents, which Anderson said he likes playing to help add exposure to other schools within Missouri.
This marks the third game of the season for Harris-Stowe, which opened up with an 18-point win against Midland Lutheran College but then fell to Missouri Valley College 71-64 on Wednesday.
“This is not only a huge opportunity for our program, but our institution,” Harris-Stowe men’s basketball coach Phillip Hunt said in a release. “We are very excited to be able to perform against a great team and expose our program to people who may not know much about Harris-Stowe. We must play confident and accept the challenge of playing a good team. That’s all I could ask for.”
Like Missouri, Harris-Stowe is led by a couple of juniors. Guards Terry Hollins and Robert Mumphard each had big games in the season-opening win, with Hollins scoring 18 points and Mumphard 16.