Arizona has favorable size, but not numbers, for matchup vs. Missouri
Missouri will be playing for its comfortable lounge chairs when it faces No. 20 Arizona on Saturday.
Tigers coach Kim Anderson took away three luxuries from his team as punishment following its 62-52 home loss to North Carolina Central on Nov. 28.
Missouri (5-3) is 2-0 since then, earning back the right to wear its normal practice gear and to have student managers at practice, chasing down rebounds for the team and helping clean up.
If the Tigers can upset Arizona (7-2) in Columbia, Mo., they would gain back their locker room chairs, which were replaced by metal folding chairs.
The Wildcats are coming off a 79-57 home victory over UC Irvine on Tuesday, but they could be ripe to be upset.
Arizona, which will be without point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (high ankle sprain) for the third game, has been competing with seven scholarship players. Sophomore guard Allonzo Trier, who averaged 14.8 points per game last season, has not played due to an undisclosed eligibility issue. He is practicing with the team, but school officials have not commented on a timetable for his potential return.
Senior Kadeem Allen moved over from shooting guard to handle the point guard position. Allen was the starting point guard for much of last season, but he has eight turnovers in the past two games. Jackson-Cartwright had only 11 in seven starts.
“He's turning the ball over more, and I think some of it is fatigue,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said of Allen. “He guards the other team's best player, and he uses a ton of energy there.”
Miller, who almost never strays from his pack-line, man-to-man defense, used about five minutes of 2-3 zone in the second half against UC Irvine in an effort to keep his players fresher and to avoid further foul trouble.
“The other thing is we're really big,” Miller said. “That's one of the strengths of our current group. So if you think about that back line and the guards, using that size is probably a smart move. … I think working on it and using it at the appropriate time, that's probably what we'll do.”
Doing so against Missouri might be a good idea.
The Tigers are shooting just 29.1 percent from 3-point range (51 of 175) and 41.4 percent overall. They shot 25 percent from the field (17 of 68) in the loss to North Carolina Central.
Freshman guard Frankie Hughes leads the Tigers with 14.0 points per game. Forward Kevin Puryear is averaging 12.5.
Missouri did get hot while scoring 55 second-half points Tuesday in an 81-55 home win over Miami (Ohio).
“When the shots weren't falling, it started to weigh on us a little bit,” said Puryear, who scored 19 against the Redhawks. “We were kind of over-analyzing the game. Then when you see the ball go through, it built a great amount of confidence for us.”
Arizona is led in scoring by a trio of freshmen — 7-foot forward Lauri Markkanen (17.8), wing Rawle Alkins (11.8) and guard Kobi Simmons (11.2). Center Dusan Ristic is averaging 9.7 points and has two double-doubles this season.
Missouri often plays with a lineup in which its tallest player is 6-8. Arizona rotates four frontcourt players who are 6-9 and taller.
The teams played last season in Tucson, with the Wildcats winning 88-52 as the Tigers shot just 30.4 percent.
- Allonzo Trier
- Dusan Ristic
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Arizona Wildcats
- Kadeem Allen
- Kevin Puryear
- Missouri Tigers
- Parker Jackson-Cartwright