Missouri’s defense is on the rise but at the same time its shooting percentage is plummeting.
To reverse this trend, coach Quin Snyder said he is not changing what the players do in practice, but how they do it.
Shooting difficulties for Tigers
Snyder said after reviewing game tape of the Tigers 62-52 loss to Arkansas on Tuesday, he saw the Tigers (4-4) had 34 open shots. Even though they were open, the Tigers couldn’t find their range, shooting a dismal 17-of-57.
If freshman forward Marshall Brown’s numbers are taken out of the stat sheet, the Tigers hit only one 3-pointer in 16 attempts. Snyder said there was a simple solution to shooting problems, though.
“Our guys got to get into the gym and shoot more on their own,” Snyder said.
Missouri is also struggling to score at the free-throw line. Shooting more than 55 percent from the field is great, but from the line it is atrocious.
Snyder said this was an anomaly because the team shoots many free throws in practice with great success. The team just isn’t finding that success during game situations. So Snyder decided he wanted to shake things up a bit.
“I’m trying to tinker with how you shoot free throws,” Snyder said. “I’m coming up with competitive games."
“A lot of the same things we’re working on, we’re trying to come at it maybe from a little different angle.”
The Tigers’ players took a mandatory day off on Wednesday after playing or practicing for 13 days straight. The Tigers practiced Thursday but were undermanned with junior center Jeffrey Ferguson out with a torn meniscus in his right knee and sophomore point guard Spencer Laurie recovering from a high right ankle sprain.
Changing outlook on game scoring
Even though the Tigers are having trouble scoring, Snyder said his team must focus elsewhere. He said the Tigers aren’t going to win by scoring more points than their opponents but by making their opponents score less than them.
“If we only score 52 points then we’ve got to hold them to 51,” Snyder said.
More to come
The Tigers must keep this in mind when they host Montana at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The Grizzlies (3-3) come in averaging 68.4 points while the Tigers have only scored 64.5 a game.
The Tigers might have an advantage against the Grizzlies, though. While Missouri enjoyed its day off Wednesday, Montana spent the day traveling to Springfield for its game against Southeast Missouri State on Thursday night.
The Tigers need to stay sharp, though, with a tough stretch of games in the next few weeks, including No. 1 Illinois.
After the Arkansas loss, senior guard Jason Conley said he knew what the Tigers needed to do to start winning.
“We have to understand that we have to play defense every single play,” Conley said. “Because those times where we let up for a second was when they scored on us.”