LUBBOCK, Texas – Despite all of Missouri’s maturation, Wednesday’s game at Texas Tech, in some ways, resembled the losing pattern of late December.
In their 87-76 loss at the United Spirit Arena, the Tigers committed 16 turnovers. Those turnovers allowed Texas Tech to stay with the Tigers and eventually take control. The Red Raiders turned the Tigers’ turnovers into 27 points.
“I think that helped (them) a lot,” sophomore guard Jimmy McKinney said. “They got a lot of little fast breaks.”
As the Tigers (15-11, 9-6 Big 12 Conference) gave the ball away, the Red Raiders shared the ball with one another. They produced 17 assists compared with four turnovers. One Tiger, McKinney, had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.
Bad handling helped to cause December streak
During the Tigers’ three-game losing streak in December, they carelessly handled the ball, averaging more than 16 turnovers. They committed 18 against Illinois on Dec. 23, 16 at Memphis on Dec. 27 and 15 against Belmont on Dec. 30.
Since then the Tigers have placed increased emphasis on ballhandling in practice, but the work did not succeed against the Texas Tech (20-9, 8-7) pressure.
Four Tigers, seniors Travon Bryant and Arthur Johnson, junior guard Jason Conley and freshman guard Thomas Gardner, had three turnovers.
Turnovers keyed a Red Raider run midway through the first half. With the Tigers leading 19-16, Bryant turned the ball over, and Texas Tech senior Andre Emmett quickly translated it to a layup.
Two possessions later, Gardner dribbled a ball off his foot, and he was forced to foul Jarrius Jackson to prevent a layup. Jackson, though, hit both free throws.
McKinney said the turnovers shouldn’t represent a future problem for the Tigers.
“That’s not a concern,” McKinney said. “We just made some mental breakdowns. We’re not worrying about that. We just have to continue to be aggressive. Once we are aggressive the turnovers will be minimized. That’s just a mental focus right there.”
The game did not begin well for Tigers, who entered with a Big 12-worst negative-1.52 turnover margin. On their second possession, Bryant turned the ball over, which resulted in a basket.
Texas Tech's turnover rate much lower
Conversely, the Red Raiders did not commit a turnover until more than 16 minutes had been played. At that point, the Tigers had eight turnovers. As a result, they had outshot the Tigers 38-31.
Despite the Tigers’ 53 percent shooting in the first half, they had nine miscues for 15 Texas Tech points. In the second half, they did not get the good shooting to balance the poor management of the ball.
A Bryant turnover allowed Red Raider junior Ronald Ross to get an easy basket for a 66-53 lead with 11:51 left. Moments later, the Tigers turned the ball over immediately after they inbounded the ball. Emmett converted one of his game-high three steals into three-point play.
The mistake under the basket capped Texas Tech’s decisive 31-point flurry to open the half.
“I thought they were weak turnovers,” Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. “I didn’t think they were lack of skill, dribbling off your foot, as much as they were not being strong with the ball, not being tougher minded. Some of that is Texas Tech came after us.”
YOUNG HONORED: Sophomore Kevin Young was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team. Members must have a grade point average of at least 3.20 to be eligible.