Missouri men's basketball looking to improve offense before Vanderbilt game

Friday, January 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:45 p.m. CST, Friday, January 25, 2013

COLUMBIA — Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith was not happy with his team's offense Tuesday.

In Tuesday's game against South Carolina, each shot the Tigers missed irked him more. It was hard to be proud of a team that shot 6-for-30 in the first half.

Haith joked after the game that he almost burst a blood vessel walking to the locker room at halftime after watching the poor performance.

When Haith emerged from the locker room after halftime, his tie was off and later in the second half his jacket came off, too.

His team was not following directions. His players were taking erratic shots and straying from the offense. The ineffective effort put Missouri in a 13-point deficit early in the second half.

"Offensive execution is not where it needs to be," Haith said on a teleconference Thursday afternoon. "We need longer possessions so we can get better shots."

Haith attributed the shaky performance to over-excitement. After the lopsided loss at Florida, Haith's players were anxious to excel and put the loss behind them.

"I thought because of that, we took quick shots," Haith said.

There is no easy remedy for an issue like this, Haith said. Challenging his players to make better decisions offensively was the way he attacked the issue.

Missouri improved in the second half against South Carolina, making 13-of-27 shots — a couple of them game-changing 3-pointers.

Haith hopes the second-half offense against South Carolina will be the one that appears Saturday against Vanderbilt.

The Tigers' offense could be getting some relief. Guard Keion Bell might play after being sidelined by an ankle injury last Saturday against Florida.

Forward Laurence Bowers is running and mobile now, but most likely will not play against Vanderbilt. Bowers sprained his knee Jan. 8 against Alabama.

Haith doesn't anticipate an easy game against Vanderbilt (8-9, 2-3). The Commodores, led by guard Kedren Johnson (15.1 points per game) are on a two-game win streak. They beat South Carolina 58-51 on Saturday and Auburn 73-61 on Wednesday.

"They're well coached, and I respect them," Haith said.

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