Missouri men's basketball team's road struggles continue at Nebraska

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | 10:54 p.m. CST; updated 3:23 p.m. CST, Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Missouri's Ricardo Ratliffe, center, manages to pass the ball through the defense of Nebraska's Jorge Brian Diaz, No. 21, and Lance Jeter, No. 34, in the second half of the Tigers 69-58 loss in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday.

Missouri’s Laurence Bowers is relieved that the Missouri men’s basketball team is done traveling to hostile environments.

“I still hate that we ended the road season the way we did, but every game from here on out is home or neutral, so that’s a bit of a relief right now,” Bowers said in a telephone interview following Missouri's 69-58 loss Tuesday night at Nebraska. “At the end of the day, it’s the Big 12 and it’s tough to win on the road, I don’t care what anybody says."

With the loss, the Tigers finish off their Big 12 Conference travel schedule with a 1-7 record. Their lone win came at Iowa State, the last-place team in the conference standings.

"It’s kind of been the same story on the road this season,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said in his postgame radio interview. “We get to that pivotal point in the game, and you’re thinking that we’re continuing to get better and make plays, but we don’t make plays.

“The consistency that we talk about that we got to have, especially on the road, we didn’t have tonight. The last road game this season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but it’s because our guys weren’t fighting.”

Three of Missouri's road losses (Colorado, Kansas State and now Nebraska) came against teams that the Tigers, who are 7-0 in conference play at Mizzou Arena, defeated at home.

In Tuesday’s game, Missouri struggled in an area that it often has success in — not turning the ball over. On Tuesday, Missouri turned over the ball 17 times. In its 77-69 win over Nebraska on Jan. 12, Missouri only had nine turnovers.

“I was really disappointed with our guys inability to take care of the basketball,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t because of what Nebraska was doing, it was because of the mistakes that we were making.”

Despite Missouri’s numerous turnovers, the Tigers stayed even with the Huskers for the majority of the game. But with 13 minutes left and the score tied at 40, Nebraska went on an 11-0 run behind the effort of guards Drake Beranek and Lance Jeter.

The run started when Beranek made a layup, which was followed up with a 3-pointer by Jeter. After Nebraska added three more points, Beranek made another 3-pointer.

“We were never able to bounce back from that run,” Bowers said. “They executed and got good layups at the basket. I thought the turnovers played a big part in that, ultimately leading to the loss.”

After Nebraska's run, Missouri never got back in the game, unable to reduce the deficit to fewer than nine points.

With the loss, Missouri falls to fifth place in the Big 12, and trails fourth-place Kansas State by one game. The top four teams in the Big 12 receive a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament.

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Ellis Smith March 2, 2011 | 4:45 a.m.

It's very difficult to win a conference basketball tournament if you have to play on Thursday as well as Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (It has happened at least once in the Big Ten Conference.)

(Report Comment)
Jason Entermyer March 2, 2011 | 7:59 a.m.

It's also tough to win with a mentality of "it's hard to win on the road" pounded into our brains by the coaching staff. Perhaps we need a new mentality of "it's time to win on the road" and quit providing excuses for losses against inferior foes. Eleven point loss to Nebraska? Really?!? It's really a disappointing season now and I'm not sure this junior class has the stuff needed to turn it around. We know our lone senior has already graduated.

(Report Comment)
Bill Thudium March 2, 2011 | 9:41 a.m.

It would also help to be able to shoot a foul shot before there is only 4 minutes left in the game. That is outrageous and the Tigers seem to face that on every road trip. They aren't alone but there is no question we don't get a fair shake on the road - there has to be something done about the different way games are called for teams on the road

(Report Comment)
Patrick Callaway March 2, 2011 | 10:55 a.m.

The Tiger team that played Nebraska last night was simply out hustled. Coach Anderson had it right, the team wasn't fighting. The spacing on the floor appeared too tight. Hence, no inside game. Our passing and catching were not up to par. To this fan, it appeared no one but Denmon and Phil Pressey had the courage to shoot or wanted to shoot. Messrs. Bowers and Ratcliff took a beating inside, but I felt they did make the effort to compete. We lacked our customary speed in transition and our defense was also lacking. If we play this way against Kansas on Saturday, look out! Kim English, where were you? COME ON TEAM. YOUR FANS ARE BEHIND YOU! Play like you know HOW YOU CAN, with confidence, speed and tenacity. Space the floor to open the inside for Bowers, Ratcliff and Moore. Guards, move the ball with sharp well designed passes. Everybody, keep focused keep moving. Set some SCREENS. FIGHT. LEAVE NOTHING ON THE COURT. BEAT KU! GO TIGERS.

(Report Comment)
Drew Officer March 2, 2011 | 10:17 p.m.

I second the comment about the coaches needing to stop convincing the players they have no chance to win road games. To hear the head coach make that excuse time after time is unforgivable.

They need to try and remember what playing defense entails. It's like they have the idea they can win if they can somehow manage to score enough points. It seems that Anderson is picking up some bad habits from Pinkel.

English needs to just stop shooting. Period.

I don't get to see any of the games where I am. Has anyone noticed if Anderson is standing on the sideline during games and staring off into space with an odd kind of smile on his face?

I'm afraid their home win streak is about to end.

(Report Comment)

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