Against Arkansas, Missouri seemed to finally buy into coach Quin Snyder’s desire to make defense the backbone of this young Tiger team.
Great defense, though, didn’t get the job done as the Razorbacks claimed a 62-52 victory Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena. The loss was another example of a game that could have gone the Tigers’ way. Snyder said there are many changes the Tigers need to make if they want to start winning.
Snyder said the Tigers need to start making plays at pivotal points in the game.
“We didn’t make the plays that we had to make,” Snyder said. “If you look at our shot chart in the second half, I don’t think we made a shot other than a lay-in and we missed quite a few lay-ins and free throws as well.”
Snyder said the inability to convert puts pressure on the defense. Despite struggles in the past, the Tigers’ defense performed well against Arkansas, holding a team that had averaged 80 points to 62 and limiting it to 23-of-48 shooting with just one 3-pointer.
The defense, though, didn’t produce better offense, as Snyder had predicted. He said the players were able to run the offense and get open looks but the shots didn’t fall.
“We were getting some open shots,” Snyder said. “When a team extends the floor and pressures you, if you beat it and get the ball and attack the rim and kick it out, those are shots that you need to take and obviously you need to make them if you want to win and we didn’t make enough of them.”
The Tigers also struggled with their ballhandling. Missouri had 18 turnovers and nine assists. Snyder said most of the mistakes were mental.
“Mental errors end up turning into physical mistakes,” Snyder said. “There were some of those that we’ve got to see them on tape and guys have got to continue to be more alert in those situations.”
Snyder said he saw two types of turnovers against Arkansas. One type of turnover came when the Tigers didn’t play smart or tried to do too much and passed up the easy play, Snyder said. The other type of turnover was when the Tigers made the right play against Arkansas’ press but lost the ball anyway.
“I think we’ve got guys that I do believe they’re capable of making those plays,” Snyder said.
Lack of confidence was another aspect that Snyder said affected the Tigers play. He said the lack of baskets tends to hurt a team’s confidence. In order to get over that, he said his players needed to get back and guard and forget about it because there is nothing that can be done about it.
Sophomore guard Thomas Gardner said Missouri’s mental lapses on defense hurt the team.
“They got a lot of easy stuff in transition, throwing the long ball for easy layups,” Gardner said.