Stock watch for Missouri men's basketball

Anderson says weekly that “it’s hard to play 11 players,” but as long as Allen can produce these numbers, he’ll be in the Tigers’ lineup.
Junior guard Wes Clark (15) shoots the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Jan. 12, 2016 at Mizzou Arena. Clark had four points in the 94-61 loss.

On Saturday, in Columbia, South Carolina, 15,389 people showed up to see a freshmen-laden Missouri Tigers (8-9, 1-2 SEC) men’s basketball team that had just come off a 33-point loss to Arkansas the Tuesday before.

Missouri had been plagued with slow starts in the Tigers’ first conference games against Georgia and Arkansas, and again against South Carolina, they faced an early deficit. Ultimately, Mizzou fell 81-72.

Up next: Mizzou hosts Georgia (9-6, 2-3 SEC) on Wednesday, travels to Texas A&M (15-2, 5-0 SEC) on Saturday and will play in Lexington against Kentucky (13-4, 3-2 SEC) on Jan. 27.

Stock Up

Wes Clark: Simply put, the junior guard has carried the load for coach Kim Anderson’s offense since conference play began. Clark scored 26 points against South Carolina on 10-16 shooting, and the buckets came at the most critical of times. Clark has shot 50 percent from 3-point range in the previous six games, and he has been pivotal in handling the ball for Missouri against the likes of Arkansas, Auburn and South Carolina.

In the first matchup against Georgia, Clark scored 13 points, and the Tigers will need that same type of production come Wednesday night.

D’Angelo Allen: The animated sophomore forward for Mizzou has provided a much-needed spark at certain times this year. In recent games against the South Carolina and Auburn, Allen has impacted the action with energy and ability to rebound.

In limited action on Saturday, Allen totaled 8 points on 4-for-5 shooting and grabbed 6 boards. In Missouri’s last home game against Auburn a week and a half ago, he had 7 points and 4 rebounds in just 12 minutes of play. Anderson says weekly that “it’s hard to play 11 players,” but as long as Allen can produce these numbers, he’ll be in the Tigers’ lineup.

Stock Down

Readiness at tip: It’s somewhat of a coincidence that the game that started this trend was Missouri’s SEC opener at Georgia on Jan. 6. For reasons that Anderson says “he can’t even figure out,” Mizzou has struggled out of the gate against SEC competition. Against South Carolina, the team trailed 7-0 early, and against Arkansas and Georgia, they trailed 13-4 and 10-0, respectively.

Anderson said the team has tried everything from set plays to food changes to alter the trend, but it’s still been a struggle. And ultimately, against the competition ahead, the team can’t keep spotting points from the tip-off.

Rebounding in the frontcourt: Although the Gamecocks do pose a serious threat in the post, Missouri struggled on the boards against South Carolina. With freshman forward Kevin Puryear in early foul trouble, the Tigers were outrebounded 41-26.

To combat the youth on defense, rebounding is a must for this Mizzou basketball team. Going forward, this has to be a key of emphasis for Missouri to trend up throughout the rest of the season.

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