KANSAS CITY — Mike Anderson was the only man moving on the sideline.
The Missouri men's basketball coach walked up and down the court as he watched his team lose 86-71 to Texas A&M on Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Tigers were on their way to being bounced from the Big 12 Conference Tournament and the coach couldn't stand still. As much as he moved, his energy would not transfer to the game.
“The energy level was not there,” Anderson said after the game. “Especially when you’re trying to generate tempo.”
Anderson paced and muttered. Then he stopped and pressed his hands into his hips like they were trying to go somewhere. His frustration with the referees, the players behind him, and the entire game was on him like his brown suit jacket — before he threw it off.
As he scowled and scolded, the Missouri players behind him silently shook their heads or rubbed their chins. They had no reason to cheer.
“The energy,” Missouri junior forward Laurence Bowers said. “They had it, and we didn’t.”
At the other end of the court, the players on the Texas A&M bench snapped to their feet time and time again. Their small group of fans, no more than 10 rows, made more noise than the 20 rows around them combined.
Usually Texas A&M fans cheer for Khris Middleton, the sophomore forward is the Aggies' leading scorer. Not on Thursday.
“If you would have told me Middleton would have nine points, I would have said, ‘You know what, we’ll probably beat these guys,’” Anderson said.
Instead the fans in maroon cheered for David Loubeau. The junior forward set the tone of the game when he slammed the first two of his eventual 20 points home on a dunk to start the game.
“He punched us in the mouth to start the game and we never really punched back,” Missouri junior guard Kim English said.
Loubeau hit the Tigers repeatedly as he spun and splashed bank shots off the glass.
The fans in maroon also cheered for B.J. Holmes.
The senior guard ran the curve of the 3-point line, caught passes and hit the shots Missouri continued to miss. Like Loubeau, Holmes also scored 20 points.
“Today, Dave started off hot. They started doubling him. We swung the ball, shared the ball tonight, and got a lot of people open shots,” Holmes said.
Holmes and Loubeau combined for 31 points in the first half, just two fewer than Missouri could score by the break.
“They played great," English said.
The Tigers shots were short and long, and the ball hit all around the rim. Rarely did it find its way inside.
“Guys didn’t have it going for them tonight,” Bowers said.
And when the ball did find its way inside, it was almost always thanks to Marcus Denmon. But his 22 points were not enough. He couldn't do it all alone.
“Marcus did what he could,” said Bowers, who finished closest to Denmon with 13 points. “I thought everybody else, we played, but we didn’t have that oomph to get us over the hump.”
Denmon was the only Missouri player with more than one successful jump shot until his teammate Ricardo Ratliffe made his second with just less than nine minutes left in the game.
By then it was too late.
Anderson continued to stalk the refs up and down the court, giving them a piece of his mind. Missouri's sideline continued to remain silent. And Texas A&M continued to cheer.