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Missouri men's basketball to host South Carolina on Saturday

Friday, January 24, 2014 | 9:50 p.m. CST; updated 6:18 a.m. CST, Monday, January 27, 2014

COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Frank Haith and his post players believe their production at the rim will improve, because in their minds, it has to.

Haith said the Tigers' big men's lack of production in games isn't a reflection of what goes on during workouts.

"Keanau Post doesn't miss layups in practice, Torren Jones doesn't miss layups in practice," Haith said at a news conference at Mizzou Arena on Friday, a rare hint of despair in his usually confident, positive tone. "We've missed so many shots where there weren't people even around."

Haith, whose Tigers host South Carolina at 3 p.m. at Mizzou Arena on Saturday, believes his team is still a work in progress and that there is more than enough time before March to make improvements.

"We have to be active and consistent with it and work with our big guys," he said. "We need more consistent production."

Junior transfer Zach Price, ineligible to play in games this season, might help in practice. The junior, who came from Louisville, provides the Tigers with a 6-foot-10 body to attempt finishing layups against. 

"He's a very good shot blocker," said sophomore forward Ryan Rosburg, who has started every game this season and is averaging 4.3 points. "He gives us a lot at practice to prepare us for the games."

But Missouri won't face too many players Price's size on Saturday. South Carolina is a guard-oriented team led by freshman Sindarius Thornwell and senior Brenton Williams, who are averaging 12.8 points per game and 11.5 points per game, respectively. Out of the seven Gamecocks that average more than 20 minutes played per game, only one is taller than 6 foot 7. 

Guard Earnest Ross believes that fact will only enhance the progress Missouri's big men hope to make.

"If you go hard against yourself, against your teammates, you can go even harder against your opponents," Ross said.

Haith said he cannot pinpoint one specific reason for the discrepancy between his guards' play and his forwards' play so far this season. But he believes that everyone on his roster has improvements to make.

"Does that mean guys are selfish and guys are trying to overcompensate in the game? Are they putting more on themselves?" Haith asked. "I don't know. I can't give you the right answer to that."

But he believes the ball will start bouncing their way. None of the Tigers' four losses have come by more than 6 points.

"We've been in every game," Haith said.


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