What I learned from Missouri’s 91-58 win over Northwest Missouri State
By Eric Short
It was only the Tiger’s first preseason game, but there was a lot to take away from Missouri’s 91-58 win over Northwest Missouri State on Monday night. The lopsided 33-point victory showed Tiger fans how this year’s team plans to respond after last year’s spectacular 30-5 run. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for this season.
Welcome to Columbia
Keion Bell pumps up the crowd at Monday’s basketball game, a 91-58 win over Northwest Missouri State.
Watching Earnest Ross and Keion Bell is going to be a real treat for Tiger fans this year. The two transfers, from Auburn and Pepperdine respectively, combined for 42 points on Monday and give the Tigers a lot of size and quickness on the perimeter.
I was very impressed with Ross’ shooting ability, as he made his first four three-pointers on his way to 6 for10 shooting and a team high 22 points. With his ability to shoot from the outside and bang in the post, Ross is going to be a tough matchup for anyone the Tigers play.
We knew that Keion Bell could dunk, but what I didn’t know was how intense this guy could be. Even with Missouri up by 30, Bell was still screaming and gesturing the crowd to get louder. Bell’s demeanor on the court showed that he is ready to step into a leadership role this season for the Tigers.
The only question with Bell is if he can eventually fill into the back up point guard role. Coach Frank Haith alluded to Bell’s ability to play point guard in the preseason. While Bell is certainly a good enough ball handler to run the point, he doesn’t seem to be the same caliber of playmaker as Phil Pressey or even Mike Dixon. Once Dixon comes back from suspension not as much will be asked of Bell at point, but it will still be interesting to watch Bell’s development as a point guard.
Beefing up in the post
Another transfer, Alex Oriakhi from Connecticut, is a huge upgrade from Steve Moore at center. The 6-foot-9 senior can do more than just draw charges on defense and will do a great job of protecting the rim with 6-foot-8 Laurence Bowers. Oriakhi may not be a dominant offense post player but possesses enough moves to give the Tigers a legitimate scoring option on the block. By solidifying their interior defense, the Tigers can take more chances going for steals on the perimeter.
A post player to watch is 6-foot-10 freshman Ryan Rosburg from Chesterfield, Mo. His numbers on Monday might not have been impressive—four points and one rebound—but he showed great intensity on defense and gives the Tigers more front court depth than they had last year.
Someone might get left out
With all of the Tiger’s new additions, it is inevitable that at least one Missouri player will have to be redshirted. The most likely candidates are freshman Dominque Bull and Stefan Jankovic. Bull is already suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules and Jankovic, a 6-foot-11 point forward from Canada, looks like he may need another year of development before he can become a significant contributor. Rosburg’s offensive game is far from polished but his size may prove to be too valuable for him to be forced to take a year off.
Negus Webster-Chan was the most impressive freshman on Monday night. Another Canadian product, the 6-foot7 guard has good ball handling skills and has no trouble attacking the basket. Webster-Chan needs a little work on his perimeter jump shot but he looks to be a capable scoring option off of the bench.