COLUMBIA — With Missouri set to play LSU at home Saturday, less than 48 hours after the Tigers beat South Carolina on the road, one might be tempted to call the short turnaround a daunting task.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
But when you ask junior guard Phil Pressey about it, the wide grin he flashes reveals a truth thats undoubtedly shared by many hoops heads.
I love it, I mean its basketball, that means less practice, Pressey said with a big laugh Thursday. I love it, man. I love it.
Pressey was certainly in a good mood. His comments came moments after Missouri dismantled South Carolina 90-68 at Colonial Life Arena, which improved the Tigers record to 20-8 and 9-6 in the Southeastern Conference.
But when asked about what he remembers most about Missouris last game against LSU a 73-70 loss at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center Presseys demeanor was decidedly less cheery.
They punched us in the mouth early, Pressey said. We had to dig ourselves out of a hole.
A 16-point hole, to be specific. And the Tigers did mount a comeback, but let the game slip away late.
Haith said afterwards that Missouri wasnt a great listening team, and criticized his players transition defense and shot selection. You can bet these are things Haith reminded his team about in preparation for Saturdays rematch, which starts at 3 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.
Its a team we already played, so in terms of our prep work, we can go right after it, Haith said. We started a little bit this week, going over the things LSU does to get ready for this quick turnaround.
Missouri only turned the ball over eight times at LSU but shot 37.7 percent from the field, which Haith attributes to his players impatience and LSUs defense.
Weve got to be able to handle their pressure, Haith said. Theyve got a three-quarter press that hurt us a little bit and theyve got two guys that can steal the ball. Youve got to be strong with the ball against those two guys.
Those two guys, Anthony Hickey and Andre Stringer, also combined to score 38 points. But Missouri figures to be helped this time around by the presence of senior guard Keion Bell, the Tigers best perimeter defender who missed the first game because of a shoulder injury.
Keion is playing like an all-conference guard, I really believe that, Haith said of Bell, who leads MU with 18.4 points per game since the loss at LSU. Hes been outstanding this year.
But it will take more than Bell to slow down Stringer and Hickey, who average a combined 22 points per game. Fortunately for Missouri, Pressey is confident the Tigers can carry over some of their defensive effort against South Carolina, short turnaround and all.
More games for me is no problem, Pressey said.
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