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Fancy dunks not enough for Tigers

Sunday, November 21, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:02 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Forget about the exciting second-half rally from a double-digit deficit.

Forget about three chances to tie with seconds left.

After Friday night’s 84-81 loss to Davidson at Paige Arena, Missouri coach Quin Snyder was stuck on the first 25-30 minutes, where the Tigers had plenty of highlights but not much substance.

“We can look at the last 5 to 10 minutes, but the game was the first 25 minutes, 30 minutes,” Snyder said.

A PROBLEM:

Early in the game, Missouri’s offense resembled a dunk contest but little else.

  • (16:39) Jason Conley took a steal the length of the court and elevated over Davidson’s Brendan Winters for a two-handed dunk. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw.
  • (14:01) Thomas Gardner followed Conley’s lead and took a steal the length of the court for a dunk.
  • (12:44) Driving to the basket, Linas Kleiza’s shovel pass found Marshall Brown for a two-handed dunk.
  • (9:43) Conley sneaked down the baseline, around the backside of the basket for a one-handed dunk. He was fouled again on the play.
  • Despite the highlight reels, the Tigers trailed 19-17 after Conley’s dunk and free throw.

Missouri tied at 19, but it went the next seven minutes without a field goal. Davidson ended the half on a 16-8 run, drawing some boos from the 10,067 in attendance.

The Wildcats led 35-27 at the half and extended its advantage to 19 points with 12:50 left.

In addition to offensive woes, the Tigers had several defensive lapses that afforded Davidson open looks and it shot 66 percent on 3-pointers in the first half.

At the 3:33 mark, Missouri played 30 seconds of great defense, but failed to communicate a switch on defense and Ian Johnson rolled to the basket for an easy layup with one second left on the shot clock.

“Those are the kind of things that are demoralizing,” Snyder said.

A TREND:

The Tigers have had slow starts in each of the Tigers’ first two games.

On Monday, Missouri fell behind 5-0, 25-21 and 29-24 in the first half against Brown.

The Bears, like the Wildcats, had plenty of open opportunities, shooting 62.5 percent from behind the arc in the half.

On Tuesday, the Tigers went on a scoring drought of more than four minutes as Houston opened up a 23-22 lead.

This lead ballooned to 29-25 as Missouri scored four points in an 11-minute span.

The Cougars shot 71 percent on 3-points in the first half of the game.

A SOLUTION:

As Snyder reflected on Missouri’s struggles in the early part of the first three games at Friday’s postgame news conference, he preached urgency.

Urgency to know what set they’re in defensively.

Urgency to get to a spot on defense.

Urgency to get on the ground for a loose ball.

“The real experience we got (Friday) was knowing the level we have to play at,” Snyder said.

In addition to urgency, it is obvious the Tigers need to take steps to make the extra pass on offense, contest open jump shots on defense and play with more toughness in the post and on the boards.

“It’s a tough way to lose, period,” Kleiza said. “It hurts. It hurts really bad. A loss that early in the season is a good wake up call for us.

“We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”


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