Injuries pile up for Missouri men's basketball team

Monday, January 21, 2013 | 8:21 p.m. CST; updated 11:05 a.m. CST, Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Missouri guard Keion Bell goes up for a shot against Florida's Erik Murphy on Saturday in Gainesville. Bell sprained his ankle in the game and will miss the Tigers' game Tuesday against South Carolina.

COLUMBIA— Earlier this season, Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith talked about how he liked his team's depth and versatility.

Now his team will have to showcase those attributes.

Tuesday's game

No. 22 Missouri (13-4, 2-2)
vs. South Carolina (11-6, 1-3)

WHEN: 6 p.m.
WHERE: Mizzou Arena

On the Blog: Unnamed sources claim NCAA allegations against Haith

The injuries have piled up for the Tigers in their past two games, forcing Haith to go deep into his roster for healthy players.

Guard Keion Bell sprained his ankle late in Saturday's 83-52 loss at Florida and will not play Tuesday against South Carolina.

Guard Earnest Ross' back is still sore from a fall he took against Georgia on Jan. 16 and will be a game time decision. Ross only played nine minutes against Florida and did not score.

Forward Laurence Bowers, who is still recovering from a sprained right knee, also will not play Tuesday.

"We're a little banged up," Haith told media on Monday. "Little bit of adversity, it's all part of it as a coach. I'm looking for some other guys to really step up and give us some things to help us win a basketball game."

Some of the players Haith is looking to for more production are his youngest.

Haith will need to find a way for freshman forward Stefan Jankovic to produce some more in games.

"I think Stef fouls too much," Haith said. "He's ninth in terms of minutes on the team and first in fouls. That's an unbelievable stat."

Haith attributed Jankovic's foul troubles to his inexperience. He averages 2.3 fouls per game and plays 10.3 minutes per game.

Freshman forward Ryan Rosburg is another one of the players Haith wants to step up. Haith praised Rosburg's knowledge of the offense, but said Rosburg must find a way to assert himself on the floor when game time comes along.

"I think Ryan has had some good minutes too," Haith said. "We still need to see him be a junkyard dog, to be a tough guy, willing to do the dirty work."

Rosburg averages 1.4 points per game and 1.6 rebounds.

South Carolina is coached by former Kansas-State coach Frank Martin, who plays "smash-mouth" basketball as Haith describes it.

"They're going to test your manhood," Haith said. "They're going to come after us."

The Gamecocks are led by guard Benton Williams, who averages 12 points per game.

Haith said the way to win will be to drive the ball against South Carolina, which will be difficult without Bell, one of the Tigers' more aggressive players.

Injuries have been problematic for Missouri so far, but point guard Phil Pressey looks at the situation with optimism.

"I'm glad that we're having some of these hiccups early," Pressey said. "You want to have all these hiccups so you can fix them now. In the long run I think we'll be alright."

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