At times, the Missouri Tigers look like a young basketball team with a lot of talent. Other times, the Tigers look like a young basketball team with a lot to learn. Many times it can happen in the span of a few minutes in the same game.
We saw it against LSU and again Saturday night at Auburn. Missouri scored the first nine points to start the second half, highlighted by Keith Shamburger’s three-pointer to go ahead 49-41. Then, they allowed Auburn to grab the lead for good with an 11-0 run with 3:28 left for a 74-67. Their Tigers went on for an 85-79 win, dropping your Tigers to 1-1 in SEC play.
“It was a great basketball game. I thought both teams played extremely well. I was really proud of our guys,” said Missouri coach Kim Anderson. “We got behind, came back and they made a run. We did not make the plays we needed to at the end. I was really proud of the way we fought.”
The difference was that Auburn was able to take their game to another level. Two teams slugging it out, but Auburn tightened up on defense and Missouri got a little sloppy.
Wes Clark, who finished with 16 noticed it as well.
“Their energy took over the game. They played a little bit harder than us in the last few minutes.”
Shamburger led the Tigers with 21 points thinks Mizzou is turning a corner. Now, he says they have to learn to finish when they face Kentucky.
“I saw them the last two games. We have just got to play hard like we have been playing the last two games. Or the last four games to be honest. We have just got to come out with the same intensity and we have to finish the game strong and we will be fine.”
Texas A & M took Kentucky to overtime before the Wildcats survived their second OT win in as many games.
If Clark and Shamburger can convey the message of finishing to their teammates, Kentucky would be best served to be placed on high alert. This Tigers team may surprise them.