Effort hasn’t usually been a problem for Missouri.
Turnovers, missed shots, poor rebounding and other youthful mistakes have plagued the Tigers at times during coach Kim Anderson’s first season.
But Anderson faulted Missouri’s effort Saturday in the program’s worst home loss in five years at Mizzou Arena, a 67-47 beating at the hands of Mississippi.
“Disappointed in the effort, and that’s probably one of the few times I’ve said that this year,” Anderson said. “I’m disappointed with how we responded when they got after us.”
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Anderson’s squad showed plenty of fight during a one-point loss last Saturday against Arkansas and battled hard Thursday against top-ranked Kentucky, but that fight was nowhere to be found against the Rebels, 14-7 and 5-3 in the SEC.
Mississippi handed Missouri, 7-14 and 1-7 in conference, its seventh straight loss, which matches the program’s longest losing streak since the 1992-93 season.
“For us to win, we have to have energy and passion and toughness,” Anderson said. “I thought after we got going ... I thought Ole Miss probably was tougher than we are. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I think they just were tougher than we are.”
Missouri’s listless performance reached a crescendo near the 4-minute mark in the second half when the Rebels’ lead reached 20 for the first time and Tigers fans started streaming toward the exits.
MU — which suffered its worst home loss since a 77-56 loss March 6, 2010, against second-ranked Kansas — dug a 12-point hole in the first half, shooting just over 30 percent from the field and connecting on only two of 13 three-points shots.
It didn’t get better in the second half as Missouri wound up shooting 19 of 61 overall, a chilly 31.1 percent, and made only six of 25 threes overall, including a couple by sophomore forward Johnathan Williams III late in the game with the outcome no longer in doubt.
Those shooting woes also extended to the free-throw line, where the Tigers went three of 10 for the game.
“We got shots early, but we didn’t make them,” Anderson said. “Then, guys got tentative.”
The Rebels, who out-rebounded Missouri 43-37 and shot 43.6 percent from the field, led 37-25 at halftime.
Williams, who led MU with 14 points and seven rebounds, opened the second half with a 12-foot jumper, but Missouri never put together a run.
“The zone made a big difference,” Williams said.
The closest MU got after halftime was nine points on a three from the left wing by sophomore guard Wes Clark at the 11:17 mark.
Mississippi’s lead remained nine points after Williams’ bucket with 9:38 remaining, but a 15-0 run by Mississippi buried Missouri.
Senior Jarvis Summers had been scoreless until connecting on a jumper that kicked off the Rebels’ run.
Junior Stefan Moody scored the next six points for the Rebels and racked up eight of his game-high 23 points during the run, which ended with Mississippi up 63-39 with 3:07 remaining.
The Tigers are tied with Vanderbilt for last in the SEC.
“It’s tough, but you’ve just got to forget about it and work hard,” Williams said. “That’s the only thing you can do. Keep looking up and don’t put your head down.”
Missouri had welcomed three straight crowds larger than 10,000, but a crowd of 9,053 watched Mississippi take control with a 16-3 run in the first half.
The Tigers had pulled ahead 15-14 on a jumper by freshman guard Montaque Gill-Caesar with 11:22 remaining before halftime, but Moody scored six points during that run, including a highlight-reel one-handed, putback dunk.
“When I was in high school I used to do that all the time,” Moody said. It was his first tip-in slam as a college player.