Mizzou robs Lindenwood 82-53 for third straight win

Mizzou robs Lindenwood 82-53 for third straight win

Nick Honor had a brilliant first half in the Tigers’ 82-53 win over Lindenwood on Sunday.

The freshman point guard had a team-high 11 points, shot 3-7 from outside, and also chipped in four rebounds, an assist and a steal, leading his team to a 40-25 halftime lead. Through 16 minutes of playing time, he had a plus/minus of positive-15.

However, Honor got too aggressive in the second half, and was whistled for two fouls in the first 68 seconds. Honor went to the bench with three errors, and Lindenwood went on an 11-4 run, trimming Mizzou’s lead to single digits.

“Nick is a hack,” Missouri head coach Dennis Gates so. “Nick gets impatient because the ball is there and he just wants to take it.”

When Gates first recruited the Clemson transfer, he pointed out that Honor had too many possessions where he didn’t put pressure on the ball. Gates and assistant head coach CY Young broke down film with Honor, showing him how they expect their guards to play full-court defense. They told him he needed to use his speed to turn over the ball handler, and do it without faking.

“Well, he does the whole pitch,” Gates said. “Now he has to switch to not fouling as much and stretching.”

Honor re-entered the game at the first media timeout of the half and helped push his team back in front by a comfortable margin. He did not commit another foul the rest of the night and finished the game with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

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Honor proved that he had a positive influence on the court. He hopes he will do a better job of continuing next time.

“Coach Gates has been calling me a hacker for about, at least a couple of weeks. I disagree, Honor said. “(What changed was) just moving my feet and watching (the ball carrier’s) waist and just sticking to our principles. I get a little, you know, aggressive at times on that end and try to steal, but I’ll try to improve as the game goes on.

Isiaih Mosley returns to the rotation

After riding the bench in Missouri’s win over Penn on Friday, Mosley saw 14 minutes of action against Lindenwood.

Gates has called Mosley the team’s best passer on multiple occasions, and the Missouri State transfer guard flashed his playmaking ability often throughout the night. He was credited with three assists, all coming off alley-oops. He also had some hockey assists – passes that led to someone else earning a dime.

He was a bit out of control at times, committing a team-high four turnovers. On one play, Mosley tried to throw it up to the freshman forward Aidan Shaw from midfield. The pass was off target for an alley-oop, but Shaw still came down with the ball, avoiding the turnover.

Gates said he wasn’t overly concerned about his team’s 22-16 assist-to-turnover ratio, which was lower than Missouri’s first two games. He actually liked Mosley and Shaw trying to make the climax happen.

“I love the fact that we’re selfless,” Gates said. “I love the fact that our guys are willing to throw Aidan Shaw a lob across the half court and Aidan Shaw drove the lane to get those specific looks. I love the fact that our guys are playing unselfishly and I thought they overachieved … So long it’s embedded with selflessness, I’m OK with that.

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Ben Sternberg makes his Mizzou debut

As the lead grew out of reach for the Lions to mount a comeback, Gates emptied the end of the bench, inserting all three of the team’s walk-ons — freshman guard Jackson Francoisjunior centre Mabor Lighthouse and graduated guard Ben Sternberg.

Lindenwood got a putback layup to escape, stopping the clock with four seconds left. Sternberg asked Gates if he could pull up for one more shot. Gates gave him a nod. He had permission.

Sternberg received the inbound pass on the right side of the court, took three dribbles, jumped the half court line and started a prayer at the rim. The buzzer sounded when the ball went through the hoop, and the final score was 82-53. Sternberg unbuttoned his jersey and strutted toward Mizzou Arena’s student section. When he turned back, Francois and Mosley were there to stab him in the chest.

Gates said he immediately apologized to Lions head coach Kyle Gerdeman and made it clear that Sternberg was not trying to show boat. But Gates truly felt it was a learning moment for the Tigers.

“What if it’s recess, right?” Gates said. “I want guys to be able to play because our situations are completely new. And it’s one of those things where you have to give guys opportunities to do it throughout the clock, especially with how every game is evaluated.”

Sternberg’s teammates were excited to see him make a strong impression in his first game.

“That’s my boy there,” Honor said. “Ben, the word to describe him is ‘energy.’ He just does a lot for this program and everybody in it, brings a smile to everybody’s face. He works hard, so I mean, it feels great to know that he hit it down. I mean, we all believed it going in. He had so much confidence in himself, you know what I’m saying? It’s kind of contagious after a while.”

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“I was happy for Ben,” the senior forward Kobe Brown so. “I was happy to see that shot go in. He’s, like Nick said, he’s a huge energy guy. He talks all the time, brings people together, he is the glue of our team.”

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