Mizzou basketball opened its conference schedule with a tough loss to Kentucky. Their defense shined while the offense struggled all night.
No one expected Mizzou basketball to beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena to open conference play, but that doesn’t mean the game wasn’t winnable. Mizzou had plenty of chances to control the game, but their lack of offensive threats continues to haunt them.
Starting a new series for SEC play, here are your Studs and Duds from the January 4th game against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Stud #1: Kobe Brown
Freshman Kobe Brown started the game against Kentucky by drilling a 3-pointer to open the scoring. All throughout the first half, Brown looked the best he had all season against the best team he’d played against.
He issued a very promising performance before his second half was supposedly limited by cramps.
He finished with nine points and three rebounds on 4-of-7 shooting in 20 minutes of action.
Stud #2: Dru Smith
Dru Smith didn’t have his best game offensively, but he was going up against some of the best guards in the country. He scored a team-high 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting, but it was his defense that shined. Smith had four steals and picked the pocket of multiple ball handlers.
Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey both average around 13 points per game and both saw their fair share of Smith. Both of them also scored less than 10 points.
The Evansville transfer keeps proving that he is an elite defender, and he might be Missouri’s best offensive option.
Stud #3: Xavier Pinson (Kind of)
Xavier Pinson had an interesting game against the Wildcats. He only played 10 minutes and had some issues with foul trouble, but he didn’t look bad in the few minutes he got.
Mizzou lacks a great playmaker that can create their own shots. Twice, however, Pinson took a defender 1-on-1 and scored. Those two plays resulted in his only five points of the game. A deep 3-pointer and a two-dribble pull up.
His defense may have played a factor in the limited minutes, but it was easy to see that he was giving more effort on that end than usual.
In a game where it’s hard to pick out who really played well, Pinson deserves some recognition for making something happen on offense.