A slow start dealt Mizzou hoops another blow as the Tigers fall to 4-3 on the season.
The Mizzou hoops team believes it is improved from a season ago. The Tigers think they could have a special season and contend for an NCAA Tournament bid and be in the top half of the SEC conference.
In order to meet their goals, they have to stop hurting themselves from the beginning of the game. And that’s what they did again on the second and final day of the Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Mizzou lost 77-66 to Oklahoma, a former Big 12 foe of the Tigers’. With that, the Tigers dropped to 0-2 in Kansas City and head back to CoMo with a 4-3 record. They could have left the classic with a title, instead that went to Butler, as the Bulldogs defeated Stanford 68-67 in the second game of the day. Mizzou is sent home with an opportunity to fix the wrongs it had in its home-state invite.
The Tigers got down 15-3 in the first four minutes of Tuesday’s game against Oklahoma. On Monday, Butler jumped out to a 15-3 lead in the first four minutes. Similar to the outcome of Monday’s game, Mizzou was able to recover a little bit and make it a game in the second half. The Tigers won the second half 37-36 over the Sooners, and the Tigers beat the Bulldogs 26-25 in the second half of their first game of the classic.
Both one-point second-half victories failed short for Mizzou to grab a win. But unlike on Monday, Mizzou stood a good chance to leave the Sprint Center with a win.
The good news about Mizzou’s third loss of the season is that they got back into the game. Once down 36-18, the Tigers used an offensive explosion to pull within one point in the second half.
At the 10-minute mark, Mizzou basketball trailed Oklahoma 49-48. But the Sooners took back a double-digit lead and halted the Mizzou offense for the final minutes of the game.
The Tigers have had troubles on offense, and finally, Mizzou found some scoring opportunities.
Jeremiah Tilmon and Mark Smith — each had poor opening nights in K.C. — led the Tigers in scoring. Tilmon had 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting while Smith scored a team-high 18 points with four 3-pointers. Mizzou knocked down eight 3-pointers as a team, and that is something the Tigers are going to need to carry with them throughout the season in order to compete later on in the year.
In all three losses so far for the Tigers — Xavier, Butler and now Oklahoma — Mizzou has started slow. They must get better in the first few minutes of their games so they don’t need late runs just to be closer on the scoreboard.
Mizzou returns to the court next Tuesday against Charleston Southern at Mizzou Arena. Following that game, the Tigers play a tough Temple Owls team on the road the following Saturday.