Missouri men's basketball team looks to regroup against Georgia

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST
Missouri forward Alex Oriakhi drives to the basket against Alabama on Jan. 8 at the Mizzou Arena. Missouri won 84-68. Head coach Frank Haith has been using a combination of forwards including Oriakhi in Laurence Bowers' absence.

COLUMBIA — It will be the perfect setting for the Missouri men's basketball team to regroup after being upset Saturday at Ole Miss.

Missouri won't have to contend with a rowdy road crowd seated right next to its bench. The team will be playing Wednesday in the comfort of Mizzou Arena instead.

Wednesday's game

Georgia (6-9, 0-2 in the SEC)
at No. 17 Missouri (12-3, 1-1)

WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Mizzou Arena
TV: KMIZ/Channel 17

Missouri's opponent is a Georgia team that has the worst overall record among Southeastern Conference teams at 6-9 overall and 0-2 in league play. The Bulldogs are the second lowest scoring team in the conference at 59.5 points per game.

Georgia is led by guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scores 16.9 points per game.

Georgia is "a team I think you can't look into their record and get caught up in that," Coach Frank Haith said. "It's a league game against a team that is athletic. They have one of the better scorers in the league. We're coming off a tough loss, so it's a game we're looking forward to get back on the court and clean up some things."

What Haith wants to tidy up is his team's offense.

Despite losing, Missouri played strong defense against Ole Miss, holding the Rebels to 39.3 percent shooting. So, Missouri's focus Wednesday will be running an offense without senior forward Laurence Bowers.

Bowers sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee Jan. 8 against Alabama and will be out for at least one more game. Haith said he has no intention of rushing Bowers back on to the floor. Bowers' knee will be re-evaluated after the Georgia game.

"Where we really struggled was our offensive end," Haith said. "And then you look at our team, other than the first couple of games where Laurence struggled scoring early in the games, he became our guy in the first half.

"I think that shows what we missed the most was our go-to guy to start ball games and how we get ourselves going to run our offense through him."

Haith has been using a combination of forwards, Alex Oriakhi, Tony Criswell and Ryan Rosburg, in Bowers' absence.

The Tigers will also try to rebound like they did the first part of the season. Missouri has been out-rebounded in its past three games.

"They're going to be athletic; they're going to crash the boards. We have to go out there (and) execute," Oriakhi said.

Missouri has one game to get into an offensive rhythm on its home court before facing a more serious challenge. After playing Georgia, Missouri is set to travel Saturday to Gainesville, Fla., to play No. 10-ranked Florida (13-2, 2-0 SEC).

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