Men’s basketball carries struggles into SEC play

As the Tigers continue to lose games, Missouri fans question coach Kim Anderson’s future with the team.
While walking off the court, Missouri guard Terrence Phillips, 1, leans into assistant head athletic trainer Pat Beckmann after being injured during the previous play. Phillips did not return for the remainder of the game.

It has not been a good last couple of weeks for Missouri men’s basketball.

Since the winter break holiday began Dec. 16, Missouri has lost five straight, including its final three non-conference games against Eastern Illinois, Illinois and Lipscomb. The Tigers were also bested by LSU at home on Jan. 4 and fell on the road against Georgia on Jan. 7.

Overall, Mizzou is on a six-game losing streak and has not won in over a month, with the team’s last win coming at home against Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 6.

One major reason for the Tigers’ lack of success has been their shooting. Missouri is dead last in the Southeastern Conference in field goal percentage and three-point percentage, second to last in points per game and third to last in free-throw percentage. On the season, the Tigers are averaging 70.6 points per game, 39.5 percent from the field, 25.9 percent from three-point range and 67.8 percent from the free-throw line.

The Tigers have been even worse in every major scoring category over their last five games. Mizzou has shot a combined 38.3 percent from the field, 21.7 percent from three and 66.4 percent from the free-throw line since Dec. 17, while averaging 69.8 points per game.

The team has also endured some setbacks in personnel. On Dec. 29, news broke that freshman forward Willie Jackson was transfering to be closer to home. On Jan. 5, the team announced that freshman forward Mitchell Smith tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the LSU game and will miss the rest of the season.

As the losses continue to mount for the Tigers, coach Kim Anderson’s future with team has come into question.

Anderson, in his third year coaching the Tigers, has led Missouri to a 24-53 record. The Tigers have yet to win a Southeastern Conference game this season. They have also yet to win an SEC road game under Anderson.

In response to questions about Anderson’s job status, Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk said he prefers not to make public evaluations of the Missouri staff in the middle of the season.

“Doing so would only offer a distraction from their need to focus on preparation for each game,” Sterk said in the statement.

Sterk added that evaluations will be completed at the appropriate time.

He didn’t give Anderson an endorsement but said he is here to support Anderson, staff and other student athletes.

“I clearly understand where our program is currently, and rest assured that we are all disappointed with where we stand entering SEC play,” Sterk said.

The Tigers will look to right the ship in their next game when they play Auburn at home on Tuesday.

Edited by Eli Lederman |

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