Two turnover-plagued wins is not the type of preparation most teams like taking on the road.
It might seem like an equation for disaster, but No. 4 Missouri hopes Saturday’s matchup against Indiana in Bloomington creates different results.
After committing 19 turnovers in an ugly 70-61 win against Coppin State on Tuesday, the Tigers hope to have all the kinks worked out before Saturday’s 3 p.m. tipoff at Assembly Hall.
Missouri coach Quin Snyder said the timing for a matchup with Indiana (2-2) couldn’t be better.
“I think going on the road again and playing a good team will be great for us,” Snyder said. “We respect Indiana, but it’s a game we want to play.”
The Hoosiers suffered a 100-67 loss to No. 16 Wake Forest on Tuesday.
Indiana threw the ball away 22 times in the most lopsided defeat in Mike Davis’ four years as coach. The Demon Deacons converted the Hoosiers’ turnovers into 38 points.
With 6-foot-11 center George Leach sidelined, Wake Forest’s taller and more physical players pounded the Hoosiers’ interior defense. The Hoosiers scrambled to find a new defensive powerhouse in the post. Freshman Patrick Ewing Jr. responded with eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks in his first start.
Leach is expected to miss three to six weeks because of a left knee tendon injury he suffered in the Hoosiers’ 80-77 overtime win against Xavier.
His absence leaves the Hoosiers with a big problem, a 6-9, 260-pound problem, in center Arthur Johnson.
Johnson earned a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds in the season opener against Oakland. He was one rebound short of a second straight double-double Tuesday. Johnson backed forward Travon Bryant’s team-high 16 points with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Snyder said any opportunity for the Tigers’ frontcourt to pick at that weak spot hinges on Johnson’s intensity.
“If we’re going to ride him like we need to ride him, he’s got to be that guy,” Snyder said.
Johnson’s zeal got him in foul trouble Tuesday. He earned his fourth foul with 9:14 left in the game.
Snyder didn’t mind, and he is encouraging it.
“You could feel his emotion in the second half when we were going on that run,” Snyder said. “He got in foul trouble, but we need him to be in that place all the time.
“I want to see AJ playing through that stuff. I want to see all our guys play through mistakes.”
The Hoosiers hold a 9-7 series-advantage against the Tigers, but Missouri claimed the teams’ most recent meeting with a 68-63 win in Bloomington on Dec. 18, 2000.
In that meeting, the Tigers’ first victory in Bloomington since 1962, the Tigers held Indiana to 33 percent shooting.
Bryant said that brand of defense is what his team strives to do Saturday.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us to go out there and execute the game plan,” Bryant said. “We’ve got to continue to get better in that aspect. If we defend and rebound, we get easy offense.”