Campus Corner

The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri

As Missouri’s ball movement sputters, so does offense

03/10/2014 5:02 PM

03/10/2014 5:02 PM

Freshman Wes Clark’s two three-pointers were the only two jump shots Missouri made in a 72-45 loss Saturday at Tennessee.

The Tigers went two of 23 on jumpers overall and shot a season-worst 31.9 percent from the field, going 15 of 47 overall and only two of 17 from three-point range.

Ball movement was a big part of Missouri’s struggles.

The Tigers aren’t very good passing or moving without the ball on a normal night, averaging only 10.7 assists for the season, but those struggles have become particularly acute in the last two games.

One explanation is Missouri’s poor shooting.

“People are still trying to pass, but you’ve got to hit shots to get assists,” Tigers junior Jabari Brown said.

Missouri dished a season-high 19 assists against Mississippi State, which finished 3-15 in the SEC.

Against Texas A&M and Tennessee, the Tigers have totaled 10 assists and 28 turnovers.

“We’ve got guys pressing a little bit maybe,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re keeping that ball moving and we play inside-out.”

Pressing is code for trying to do too much on their own. The Tigers are spending too much time dribbling and working hard enough to cut, pass and move.

Chemistry is also an issue, but not because the guys have bad attitudes or poor character. Simply, as the losses have piled up, the trust in one another to make plays seems to have dwindled.

There have been a fair number of animated conversations among teammates on the floor after miscues during the last month.

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