A tall order

MU's largest basketball player called on to step up, play big
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:33 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Through two preseason games, little about the Missouri Tigers is known.

They will try to play extremely fast and beat their opponent down the floor. Forward Marshall Brown and guard Stefhon Hannah have developed a level of chemistry that belies how long they’ve been teammates. But, one lingering question from the preseason concerns interior scoring. More specifically, how effective will center Kalen Grimes be in the paint?

Statistically, the Tigers had no problem, scoring 48 of their 94 in the paint against Lithuania Academy. That number, however, may be misleading. The Tigers scored 14 fast-break points against a team that dressed only nine players. Coach Mike Anderson said Missouri needs Grimes to stay on the floor.

“Hopefully, we’ve got to get the big guy, Kalen (Grimes), we’ve got to get him going,” Anderson said. “We’ve got to get a presence.”

On Monday, Grimes committed two fouls in the first four minutes of the game. Because of foul trouble, Grimes only played 17 minutes and finished with six points on two-of-four shooting. He also committed four fouls.

“He just never got in sync,” Anderson said. “A lot of times he was out of position. But it’s something we have to get better at.”

Anderson said Missouri cannot depend solely on its quickness to beat opponents. Grimes, who is 6 foot 9 inches tall and is listed at 250 pounds, will be needed by the Tigers to provide size to an otherwise undersized roster.

“You’ve got to have that balance,” Anderson said. “We’re going to be an attacking team, so it’s important to have that presence.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE: After Missouri forced 36 turnovers against University of Missouri-Rolla, it would have been unreasonable to expect the Tigers to improve on that number. However, the Tigers managed to force 41 turnovers against Lithuania Academy.

“Dang, I didn’t know that,” Hannah said when he was told how many turnovers Missouri forced. “Coach just tells us to go out there and play hard. Don’t worry about the score, don’t worry about points.

“If we play hard, we should (get turnovers).”

At halftime, Missouri led 48-18 and had forced 24 turnovers, but Brown wasn’t satisfied.

“I think we played to the level of our competition,” Brown said. “We can’t do that come Friday.”

BLACKED OUT: The Tigers’ season opening game at 7 p.m. Friday against North Carolina A&T will not be on TV. Of the Tigers’ 29 regular season games, three will not televised. The other two are the Nov. 16 game against Lipscomb University and Nov. 25 against Stephen F. Austin. Both will be played at Mizzou Arena.

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