Three things Missouri men's basketball must do to beat Georgia

Coach Kim Anderson: “We have to quit spotting teams 10 points and then trying to catch up. I wish I had the answer.”
Freshman guard Terrence Phillips (1) shoots the ball Jan. 12, 2016, at Mizzou Arena against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Phillips scored a career-high 16 points as the Tigers lost 94-61.

Missouri’s men’s basketball team returns to Mizzou Arena on Wednesday night looking to avenge their loss in the Southeastern Conference opener to the Georgia Bulldogs (9-6, 2-3 SEC). Students are back in session and the snow-covered should pose a test for the dogs from Athens.

Tipping at 6 p.m. on the SEC Network, this game will be an opportunity for Missouri (8-9, 1-2 SEC) to get back in the win column in conference play and pick up some momentum heading into a tough road stretch against Texas A&M and Kentucky.

Here are three things Missouri must do to win this game:

Start fast: There’s always something to be said about a team that jumps out of the gates and finds success early. For Missouri, it’s been the other team that’s done that throughout the 2015-16 season.

On Monday, coach Kim Anderson addressed the problem — kind of: “We have to quit spotting teams 10 points and then trying to catch up. I wish I had the answer. I know I’m getting paid to have the answer. We’ve tried a lot of different things. The way you warm up to what you eat to even scripting plays

The first time Mizzou faced Georgia, the Tigers trailed 10-0. On Wednesday, getting on the board early and keeping it competitive is certainly a key for Missouri.

Establish post presence: They can be deceptive sometimes, paint points. Why? Because opening up the lane with layups and dunks inside frees up shooters, and with players like junior guard Wes Clark who’s hit 15 of his last 30 three-pointers taken in the last seven games, this is critical.

Freshman forward Kevin Puryear struggled in Mizzou’s last game against South Carolina with early foul trouble. In his place, though, was senior center Ryan Rosburg who scored 12 points. Going against Georgia’s versatile 6-foot-8 sophomore forward in Yante Maten on Wednesday night, establishing a post presence will be critical to Missouri’s offensive success.

Keep fouls to a minimum: Again and again foul trouble plagues this Missouri men’s basketball team. Freshman point guard Terrence Phillips has struggled with this all year as have the other freshman.

How would Missouri avoid it? Well, it depends on the referees. Within college basketball in this day and time, one can glean the referees’ styles from the tip-off. If they’re whistle-happy, step back. If not, be aggressive. For Missouri to beat Georgia on Wednesday night, the Tigers must stay out of foul trouble.

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