Tigers blown out by Rebels

The Tigers shot 31.1 percent FG, falling to 1-7 in SEC play

Well, that was ugly.

In Missouri’s worst loss since a 86-37 beating from No. 1 Kentucky on Jan. 13, the Tigers sloppily fumbled their way through yet another conference loss to Ole Miss. Losing 67-47, Mizzou fell to 1-7 in Southeastern Conference play and 7-14 overall.

The Tigers shot atrociously to start the game, making just 29.2 percent of their field goals and shooting 2-10 from the three-point line. A nearly silent crowd sat quietly through a painful display of poor shooting, sloppy ball handling and pitiful rebounding.

After missing the first few open shots of the game, coach Kim Anderson believed his team became hesitant while shooting.

“I thought where we really struggled was that we had shots early, but we didn’t hit them,” Anderson said.

The second half wasn’t much better, as Anderson’s Tigers missed all four free throws and shot 32.1 percent on field goals.

The first-year coach was obviously upset with his team’s performance. Anderson took over 20 minutes to enter the postgame press conference and when asked what took so long, he slowed his words.

“We were just,” Anderson paused. “Talking about the game.”

Whatever kind of “talking” it was, the disappointment Anderson displayed was evident.

His team struggled to show much effort, especially in the second half.

“Nobody is more disappointed than me,” Anderson said. “I can’t find any (positives) today.”

Mizzou played tired basketball, and the fans were apparently tired of watching such a horrendous showing, leaving Mizzou Arena nearly empty by the time of the final buzzer.

Having not won a game since a Jan. 8 matchup against Louisiana State, the Tigers had not previously been lacking effort. Saturday’s game against the Rebels was the exception, and Mizzou forward Johnathan Williams III admitted it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s tough,” the sophomore said. “Working hard is the only thing you have to do. Keep looking up and don’t put your head down.”

Offensively, the Rebels’ zone defense suffocated the Tigers, forcing nine turnovers.

Within striking distance with less than eight minutes remaining, the Tigers gave up a 15-0 run to the Rebels, all but sealing their seventh consecutive loss.

Mississippi’s Stefan Moody dominated the Tigers all afternoon on the offensive end, scoring 23 points, including a monstrous put-back dunk.

The 5-foot-10-inch junior guard, who averaged 15 points per game entering Saturday’s contest, shot 6-11 from the field and made all 10 free throws, ending the afternoon with five rebounds and two assists.

“You see that dunk?” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “We’ll see that again tonight, I think. He’s a special player off the bounce.”

If Mizzou did anything well, it was shutting down Jarvis Summers, who scored just four points throughout the contest. His two buckets came at the end of the game, when Missouri had all but given up.

Endless struggles plagued the Tigers Saturday afternoon, including – but not limited to – field goal shooting, free throws (3-10), passing, defense, well, pretty much everything.

It was everything you don’t want to see as a head coach. Nothing seemed to work. Nothing seemed to go Mizzou’s way. As a coach, Anderson said he has to keep grinding. He’ll be in his office tomorrow, watching tape, preparing.

And you’re invited.

“Nobody feels like I’m not doing a good job more than me,” he said. “But I’ll be here tomorrow, if you want to come, watching film.”

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