No doctor was needed.
After some self-examination, the Missouri men’s basketball team had no trouble finding the diagnosis for its 78-62 loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena in front 11,691 fans.
After the game in the locker room, Missouri coach Quin Snyder and his players said it was simply a lack of effort on the defensive end which led to the Tigers’ first three-game losing streak in the Big 12 Conference since the 1996-1997 season.
On Saturday, Missouri (9-8, 1-3 Big 12) suffered a 20-point loss at Kansas State and before that lost at Oklahoma State on Jan. 11.
The loss also marks the Tigers’ second three-game losing streak of the season.
“Obviously it’s disconcerting to see how we played in terms of our focus defensively,” Snyder said. “You can’t play with two or three guys playing with energy and guys taking plays off defensively.
“I told our team you have to hate how you’re playing more than anything. We’ve been like this earlier in the year and the slippage that’s occurred is slippage in terms of team focus.”
Texas Tech (11-4, 3-1) exploited Missouri’s defensive lapses with fundamental, disciplined basketball.
The Red Raiders made crisp passes, set endless screens and made backdoor cuts that led to easy baskets.
Texas Tech even passed up open 3-pointers for more high-percentage and often uncontested ones. The Red Raiders only shot five 3-pointers, two coming with the game well in hand.
Texas Tech had 42 points in the paint, resulting in a field goal percentage better than 50 percent.
Ronald Ross was the biggest beneficiary, scoring a game-high 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Jarrius Jackson and Devonne Giles each added 17 points on 50 percent shooting.
“When you’re ahead it’s easier to get closer to the basket than when you’re behind,” Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight said. “That’s why it’s so important to maintain the lead in the beginning of the second half.”
The Red Raiders led 40-34 at the half and that lead drastically increased as Missouri went more than 12 minutes without a field goal. The Tigers also committed 19 turnovers.
“We just have to take care of the ball and play defense better, that’s all,” said Jason Conley, who had seven points and five turnovers.
Linas Kleiza had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Missouri, as it has done so often throughout the season, settled for long range 3-pointers, and lots of them.
The Tigers were 4-for-20 from behind the arc, making 1-of-9 3-point attempts in the second half.
Missouri’s two most glaring possessions were shot clock violations.
On two occasions in the second half, the Tigers let more than 30 seconds run off the shot clock before taking an off-balance, heavily-contested 3-pointer, neither of which came close to hitting the rim.
Missouri struggled from the outset, committing five turnovers in the first five minutes and falling behind by as much as 10 midway through the first half.
The Tigers began to cut into that lead and had a chance to tie at 36 late in the first half, but they fell victim to a turnover when Jason Horton brought the ball down the court and was called for traveling.
“I felt that after K-State we would feel (the pain of losing) and I thought we’d come out and have a better effort.” Snyder said. “That obviously wasn’t the case.”