Missouri coach Dennis Gates will continue assessing his team on Sunday when the Tigers host Ohio Valley Conference newcomer Lindenwood in Columbia, Mo.
The teams won home games on Friday. The Tigers (2-0) are coming off a 92-85 victory over Penn at Mizzou Arena, while the Lions (1-1) routed NAIA foe Hannibal-LaGrange 85-58.
In Missouri’s season-opening 97-91 victory over Southern Indiana on Monday, Gates kept top-rated 2022 JUCO prospect Mohamed Diarra on the bench. Against Penn, Gates benched Ronnie DeGray III and Missouri State transfer Isiaih Mosley, who twice led the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring.
“We have depth,” Gates said. “Hopefully, you can see how differently we can play. Now what’s going to be interesting is to see how well we are when all cylinders are clicking. That’s where I see us growing, that’s where I see us identifying and becoming a team with an identity. It can’t be identified in just two hours. We just need time to do that.
“And Isiaih, I could’ve put him in, I could’ve run him, you know, no different than Ronnie DeGray, Mabor Majak. I just chose to tighten the lineups and went with the guys who were playing well.”
Five Tigers are averaging double-digit scoring totals. Forward Noah Carter led the way against Penn with 28 points and eight rebounds.
Guards D’Moi Hodge (17 points), Nick Honor (16 points, four assists) and Tre Gomillion (11 points, five assists, five rebounds) also had strong games. After making 7-of-28 3-point attempts against Southern Indiana, Missouri sank 16 of 35 tries from beyond the arc versus Penn.
Lindenwood made its Division I debut with a 73-46 loss at No. 24 Dayton. Lions coach Kyle Gerdeman was pleased that his team battled through the mismatch.
“The score won’t show it, but we showed a really good defensive effort and commitment for a long time against a really good team,” Gerdeman said. “It was pleasing to see that toughness, especially on a night where it was hard to score.”
The Lions got rolling offensively against Hannibal-LaGrange behind guards Kevin Caldwell Jr. (20 points, seven assists), Brandon Trimble (16 points) and Chris Childs (14 points).
“We are just trying to get better every day with a bunch of new guys,” Gerdeman said.
–Field Level Media