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Columbia Missourian

Haith finds lots of positives for Missouri men's basketball team

By Justin Yang
February 6, 2013 | 9:18 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith had a message for his team.

It was to stay positive.

Thursday's game

No. 21 Missouri (16-5, 5-3)
at Texas A&M (13-8 and 3-5)

WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Reed Arena (12,989), College Station, Texas at 8 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 (Reece Davis play-by-play/Bob Knight analyst)

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Missouri's season has not been terrible with the Tigers ranked No. 21 at 16-5. But the team has run into setbacks, from a number of injuries to key players to the inability to win on the road.

"You just have to weather the storm a little bit," Haith said Monday about how his team has dealt with its struggles. "Keeping your guys up and knowing that we have a lot of season ahead of us."

Guard Jabari Brown said Haith has urged his team to keep looking forward and not let past games affect them.

"You start thinking about that (the past), and it will carry over to future games," Brown said.

Haith has endured his players injuries, and Missouri has gone 5-3 since Dec. 22 when forward Tony Criswell was the first player to get hurt. Senior forward Laurence Bowers's knee injury followed, and guard Keion Bell was also hurt.

They are all recovered and ready to play now.

But Haith still has yet to overcome his team's lack of road wins — something he hopes will end Thursday against Texas A&M.

On Monday, Haith listed what his team needs to do to end the three-game road skid.

Haith said there needs to be scripted plays. Forward Alex Oriakhi needs to stop fouling and needs to stay on the court. Missouri needs to be patient  and run an offense.

The most important thing Haith needs to do is to help get his team off to a good start.

"I look at really, dissecting how we play offensively on the road," Haith said. "Particularly on how we started games. That's been our struggle."

Texas A&M is 13-8 and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference, but its record could be very different. The Aggies past four losses have all been by fewer than 10 points. Aggies guard Elston Turner leads the team with 15.7 points per game.

"They're a team, when you watch them on tape, they are very capable," Haith said. "Very talented and physical, got great size."