Still winless in SEC play, the Missouri Tigers look to get its first win against Texas A&M on the road.
TV Schedule: Tuesday, January 23, 9:00 pm ET (SECN)
Location: Reed Arena in College Station, Texas
Missouri (8-10) dropped its game on Saturday to Florida 79-67, falling to 0-5 in SEC play. The Tigers kept the game close for about 30 minutes before letting it slip away over the last 10. If it weren’t for the outstanding offensive performance from Tamar Bates, the 12-point loss could have been much worse. Bates led all scorers with 36 points on 13-21 shooting and 9 made free throws, accounting for over half of the Tigers total points. Nick Honor was the only other Mizzou player in double figures with 10 points.
Missouri has been solid on the offensive end, averaging just over 75 points per game. Sean East II leads the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game. Tamar Bates has been the most consistent scoring option since the beginning of conference play. He is averaging 12.7 points this season but is averaging 20 points in SEC games hitting 60.1 percent of his shots.
Defensively, the Tigers are allowing 74.2 points per game this year. Rebounding continues to be an issue. Missouri averages 8.6 steals per game, helping to make up for the poor defense and scoring droughts. The Tigers are still one of the best shot-blocking teams in the country with 5.4 per game, even though this number has dropped slightly in conference play.
The next game for Missouri is a road trip to take on Texas A&M (11-7) in College Station. The Aggies won on Saturday, taking down LSU 73-69 on the road. Wade Taylor IV led all scorers with 19 points. Tyrece Radford scored 15 points and Jace Carter added 13 points, joining Taylor in double figures. Andersson Garcia added 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Texas A&M has also been solid on the offensive end of the floor, scoring 74.7 points per game. Wade Taylor IV has been their best player all year. His 19.5 points per game leads the team by a healthy margin. Henry Coleman is adding 11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. And Tyrece Radford is averaging 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds to round out the Aggies scoring in double figures.
The Aggies like to push the pace and put up shots. But on the season, they have been one of the worst shooting teams in the country. They are making 39.5 percent from the floor and 26.8 percent from three. They make up for this offensive inefficiency by being one of the best rebounding teams in college basketball. Texas A&M averages 44.1 rebounds per game and grabs 18.9 offensive rebounds, which leads the country.
There is a clear blueprint for a Missouri win. Limit Taylor’s offensive impact and take away second-chance scoring opportunities. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but Missouri should have a good chance at stealing a win on the road if they can do those two things.
The Tigers have played okay offensively during this five-game losing streak. Tamar Bates has been huge for Missouri, but none of his teammates have scored consistently down the stretch to win games.
Missouri must keep fighting to get a first conference win. The season might not be where many thought it would be, but the Tigers can still shake up the SEC. Why not start by taking down Texas A&M on their home court?