Missouri travels to Las Vegas in search of first road victory

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:12 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2008

Missouri could play in Timbuktu for all Quin Snyder cares.

At this point, it doesn’t matter that his team is traveling almost 1,500 miles to play because all he knows is the Tigers are struggling on the road, regardless of the location.

“It’s difficult for us right now,” Snyder said. “We’ve been struggling on the road whether it’s conference or out of conference. So being on the road is tough enough.”

Missouri will look to win its first road game of the season when it plays at UNLV tonight at 9:30 p.m.

The Tigers (10-12, 2-7 Big 12 Conference) are 0-5 on the road this season, and their most recent road win came Feb. 28, 2004, at Kansas State.

Missouri has also lost four straight and seven of its past eight.

In coach Lon Krueger’s first year at UNLV, the Rebels are 9-11 and 2-6 in the Mountain West Conference.

Snyder said the Tigers need to play 40 minutes of solid basketball instead of faltering in the second half as they have done in their past three road contests. Missouri held a four-point lead with 5:30 left at Colorado, an 11-point lead early in the second half at Kansas and a four-point lead with 15:00 left at Texas A&M.

“You see the youth and immaturity of our team when a team goes on a run and there’s timeouts, timeouts, timeouts and we can’t find a way to dig in and stop it,” Snyder said.

The redundancy is wearing on Missouri’s Jason Conley as well.

“It’s like things that have been going all year, where we’ve been doing all the work in the first half, (against) every team almost, and we come up short in the end,” Conley said. “We have to learn to finish people off.”

Missouri point guard Jason Horton attributed the team’s wayward second halves to soft defense. The Tigers’ defense proved particularly vulnerable against the Texas A&M Aggies, who made 9-of-12 3-pointers in the second half.

“We’ve got to make it tough on teams,” Horton said.

The Tigers will have to stifle UNLV’s inside duo of Odartey Blankson and Louis Amundson.

Blankson, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward, averages 17.4 points and 8.5 rebounds. Amundson, a 6-9, 230-pound forward, adds 9.5 points and 8.6 rebounds.

“(Blankson) plays so hard and he’s a relentless rebounder,” Snyder said.

Romel Beck and Jerel Blassingame anchor the Rebels’ guard play. Beck averages 13.9 points and is shooting almost 40 percent from the 3-point line. Blassingame averages 6.3 assists.

Missouri beat UNLV 94-60 last February in Columbia, and a similar effort tonight could renew the Tigers.

“Our team has been in games on the road,” Snyder said. “But we have not been able to maintain consistent focus with really adhering to our game plan when we’re on the road.”

CLARIFICATION: News outlets reported that Missouri athletic director Mike Alden met with the governing Board of Curators on Friday to discuss Snyder’s future. Joe Moore, a spokesperson for the University of Missouri system, released a statement Tuesday which stated otherwise.

“To clarify for public record, contrary to some media coverage, this matter was not discussed by the UM president and the Board of Curators,” Moore said.

The meeting to confirm Snyder’s retention actually involved Chancellor Brady Deaton, Alden and Snyder.

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