Anderson picks up first win as Tigers beat Valparaiso

 

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By Ben Burke, 23 Sports

Sunday, Nov. 16-

The Missouri men’s basketball team recovered from their devastating opening season loss to the Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos to beat the Valparaiso Crusaders 56-41 on Sunday night.

The win, the first in head coach Kim Anderson’s career with the Tigers, can be attributed to solid offensive play in the second half.

Sophomores Wes Clark and Johnathan Williams III were key factors in Missouri’s second half run. Clark scored a career-high 16 points, while Williams III added ten points himself.

Right out of the gate the Tigers appeared to have shaken off Friday night’s loss to UMKC, as they started the game on a 7-2 run.

However, five was the largest lead the Tigers would hold in the half, as the Crusaders did everything in their power to keep the game close.

Some of the same issues from Friday night came back to haunt Missouri, as a 2/10 mark on three point shots to go along with seven first half turnovers had the Tigers fighting just to stay ahead of Valparaiso.

Even though the Crusaders outshot the Tigers 38% to 25% from the field in the first half, Missouri held a 24-23 lead going into the break.

Valparaiso had issues of their own in the half, as they were a pedestrian 5/10 from the free throw line. They also had to do without their star player, sophomore Alec Peters, for a significant chunk of the half due to foul trouble.

Peters, who scored 27 points in the Crusaders’ Friday night win over East Tennessee State, was held to just seven tonight.

The Tigers started the second half on a more sluggish note than the first, as it took more than three minutes for them to score their first bucket.

These first points of the half, coming on a three pointer by freshman Montaque Gill-Caeser, turned out to be crucial. They spawned a 13-2 run that gave Missouri a 37-27 lead with 12 minutes to go.

Gill-Caeser is now averaging 15 points per game this season.

It looked like the Tigers were going to extend their lead even further after the run, but good plays on offense were cancelled out by lazy defense on the other end on several occasions.

Overall, however, Missouri did a fantastic job of shutting down the Valparaiso offense in the second half, as the Crusaders were only able to manage 18 points on 28% shooting, including 20% from three.

This is a sharp contrast to the Tigers’ 32 points on nearly 54% shooting, including eight points off of turnovers, compared to Valparaiso’s two.

Missouri also wreaked havoc in the passing lanes, as they forced Valparaiso into 17 turnovers on the game, the same number that the Tigers committed Friday night.

The Missouri lead stayed in the 7-12 point range for most of the second half, until Clark added four of his 16 points in the last two minutes to extend the Tiger lead to 15.

With the win, the Tigers improve to 1-1 on the season. They finish their three-game home stand this Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.