Low energy, but Tigers get the victory

Dismal weather and NCAA football title game keep crowds away from Arena.
Wednesday, January 5, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:20 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For the first time this season, Missouri coach Quin Snyder’s voice could be heard above the crowd in Mizzou Arena Tuesday when the Tigers played American University.

Luckily, it was a game that most people wouldn’t mind missing.

Despite playing poorly, the Tigers improved their record to 8-5 with a (64-51) victory against the Eagles on Tuesday.

Only 6,315 people attended the match up between the Eagles (6-5) and the Tigers. Snyder said the lack of fans was not surprising when the dismal weather was taken into account.

The weather wasn’t the only thing dismal about the game, however.

The Tigers seemed flat and the crowd wasn’t much help, remaining quiet most of the game. It was the first time all season Snyder’s yells could be heard throughout the arena. Snyder said it was his job to get his players excited for a game. Yet, he didn’t take all of the blame for his team’s bland play.

“Kids got to get up,” Snyder said. “At some point it’s hard to coach effort.”

Snyder said the lack of energy could be felt in the huddles but the team did a good job of not letting it get to them. He said his team had the right attitude for the situation.

“It’s got to be about how you play not what’s going on around you,” Snyder said.

Senior guard Jason Conley said it was no secret that the Tigers were playing with little intensity against American. However, he could not explain why the team’s energy was so low.

“I don’t know, it was one of those games,” Conley said. “Coach Q even said that there’s going to be games like this, but our energy level was just low. There wasn’t a lot of people at the game. The big game (The Orange Bowl) is on tonight and the weather outside was pretty bad.”

The low energy translated itself into low shooting percentages. However, the Tigers were able to take advantage of their athleticism and pound the ball inside and get to the free throw line.

Missouri hit just 8 of 31 shots inside the arc and had just 12 points in the paint. The team was saved however by hitting 45.5 percent of its three pointers and 18 of 23 free throws.

The lackluster game was not without some highlights. With just seconds left to go in the first half, Conley had the ball out on the wing. He took a fake step, like he was going to drive the baseline. Then quickly pulled back and hit a 3-point jumper to put the Tigers ahead 33-21 as time expired.

Conley, who had his second double-double in a row with 12 points and 10 rebounds, may have had the most interesting play of the game. Late in the second half, Conley lost the ball under Missouri’s basket. As most of his teammates trotted down the court to defend, Conley leaped between two Eagle defenders after the loose ball.

In a pile on the ground, Conley got the ball and passed it out to sophomore guard Thomas Gardner who then laid it in for an easy basket. Conley said he didn’t really know what was happening at the time.

“All I remember was I turned the ball over and I had to get it back somehow, someway,” Conley said. “There was two guys there and I said ‘I have to get to it before these two guys do.’ and I jump on the floor and I got a piece of it. The next thing you know I look up and Thomas has the ball and he’s scoring it.”

Freshman point Jason Horton also had a good night scoring a career-high 12 points. He did this with a ‘Charley-horse’ he received to his left thigh after driving in for a lay-up. Horton said the slight injury might have helped him focus defensively.

“I think it kind of woke me up a little bit,” Horton said. “I think everybody was still kind of dazed, walking around in a kind of dazed a little bit this game because it was hard to get up for but I think it really made me focus.”

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