Mizzou Basketball is 9-2, entering a week where it will play one of the hottest teams in the country, Stephen F. Austin then play in the annual Braggin’ Rights game against Illinois.
Head coach Cuonzo Martin was on Sports on a Sunday Morning with Mike Kelly, after Saturday night’s 85-51 win against North Florida.
Here are the highlights from that conversation:
Jordan Barnett taking on alpha-dog mentality:
With 18 points and 11 rebounds, Saturday, Barnett was Mizzou’s leading scoring and rebounder. He is top-18 in the SEC in both of those categories this season.
“Just his ability to score and make plays, I think his next step is the continued improvement of making plays off the dribble.”
Jontay Porter bring rare ability:
Kelly points out Porter’s ability to flash through the paint against zone defenses, then either find an open shooter or make his way to the basket.
“I think it’s really rare from the standpoint of guy but on a size but could make decision with the ball could put the ball on a floor can post up and shoot the ball.”
Porter is seventh in the SEC with just over 7.1 rebounds per game, third overall in blocks and is fourth on this Mizzou squad in minutes played.
Best on-ball defender:
Martin defensively one-on-one is where he wants to see more growth in the second half of this season. But Kelly asked to name his top on-ball defender thus far.
“I think with Jordan Geist and Blake Harris, those guys do the best job with pressure, we call it jamming the point guard, when they pick up the point guard in full court. So those two guys are the best at that, but right now I would say Kassius Robertson is in there somewhere in just guarding guys. But again it’s so tough, if I had to pick a guy who takes the most pride in picking up his guy and playing defense, it’s Geist.”
Stephen F. Austin game Tuesday:
The Lumberjacks will enter Columbia with a 10-1 record, coming off a win in LSU. Martin points out that SFA was even missing it’s top scorer, Kevon Harris, in the entire second half of that game.
“We know to be a fight and we need a tremendous atmosphere too because they are battle tested and they have experience. They can defend very well, I think they lead the nation steals.”
SFA is No. 1 in steals, with just over 11 per game, but they have averaged 13 per game in its last three games.
Braggin’ Rights vs Illinois, Saturday at Scottrade Center:
Martin has never been to a Braggin’ Rights game between Mizzou and Illinois, but knows the energy it will bring to downtown St. Louis.
“I think it’s big for the country, I mean because it’s a day that everybody’s looking at. So we have to do our best to put on a great show and a great performance because it will be a fun time.”