Senior Jimmy McKinney has found himself in unfamiliar territory this season.
For McKinney, a four-year starter for Missouri, the sidelines have become an all-too-familiar point of view.
Although McKinney has been regarded as the Tigers’ iron man, starting in 87 of his 95 games heading into the season and averaging 30 minutes a game, recent foul trouble has left him watching.
McKinney said he wasn’t exactly sure why fouls have been such an issue for him this year but said a little more footwork and concentration should fix it.
“I just need to be a little more careful and cautious with my decision-making,” McKinney said.
For MU (2-2) to get a much-needed road win against Davidson at 7 tonight, McKinney will need to avoid the whistles that limited him to 19 minutes at Arkansas and 21 minutes against Northwestern State.
Before practice on Monday, Snyder offered McKinney some advice concerning his foul troubles.
“I was just talking to him about that and you can’t let calls into your head,” Snyder said. “They are what they are. A couple of Jimmy’s fouls ... we’ve shown it to him on tape, it’s just extending his arm. He’s making a good physical play but he’s extending his arms instead of playing with his body.”
In Missouri’s 66-63 loss to Arkansas on Friday, McKinney fouled out with 5 minutes and 56 seconds left.
“Jimmy’s one of our guys that can make a play, and make a play for someone else too,” Snyder said. “We need to have him, no question about it.”
McKinney does have the ability to take over a game—just ask Northwestern State.
With Missouri down by eight at halftime, potentially facing their second-straight home loss after the 80-77 loss to Sam Houston State in the home opener, McKinney shouldered the three fouls he picked up in the first half and scored 15 second-half points to spearhead a 81-72 comeback victory.
Sophomore point guard Jason Horton attested to McKinney’s importance to this young team, especially on the road where the Tigers have struggled the past two seasons.
“He is a real good leader, he’s not afraid to take the big shot,” Horton said. “We lose a lot of experience when he’s not in the game and that’s experience we need on the road.”
A win at Davidson (3-2) would be not only big for the Tigers’ confidence on the road, but it would also avenge an 84-81 loss to Davidson at Mizzou Arena last season.
Snyder isn’t expecting the Tigers to take the Wildcats of the Southern Conference lightly this time around.
“I know we know how good they are, 16-0 in their league last year, basically returning their entire team,” Snyder said. “They put it on us last year.”