Knight endorses Anderson's aggressive style
Monday, January 29, 2007
The Texas Tech coach believes the Tigers and their new coach are on the right path.
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Bobby Knight believes Mike Anderson is on the right track.
Missouri topped its victory total from last season with 10 regular-season games plus the Big 12 tournament to go in Saturday's 71-58 victory over Texas Tech.
After facing Anderson for the first time, Knight had only compliments for the Tigers' full-court attack.
"They stay at it, they play hard, they work hard," Knight said. "If I were just somebody who understood basketball watching them play without any interest in who wins, I would be impressed.
"They've been well-coached and well put together for the way they play."
The Red Raiders had appeared poised to crack the Top 25, coming off a pair of victories over Top 10 opponents Kansas and Texas A&M. They played Missouri without injured starters Charlie Burgess and Jon Plefka and were often thrown out of their rhythm, especially at the start of each half.
Missouri (13-6, 2-4 Big 12) jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead and then outscored Texas Tech (15-6, 4-2) 10-0 over the first 9:37 of the second half while pulling away.
"Some games are at a slow pace, some games are at a fast pace, and you've got to be able to adjust to what happens," Knight said. "If we could have gotten the ball close to getting in the bucket at the start of the second half, it's a different ballgame -- at least with 10 minutes to go."
Missouri led by six at halftime, then hounded Texas Tech into missing its first 10 shots and committing five turnovers while taking a 51-35 lead with 13 minutes to go.
"If there's anything we want to hang our hats on, it's going to be our defense," Anderson said. "We were in all the right places and doing a lot of good things."
The timing was perfect, too, for the well-being of a program that was 12-16 last season under Quin Snyder. Knight's well-known volatility no doubt factored into the first sellout of the season at the Mizzou Arena, a crowd of 15,061.
Two other games are sellouts, Nebraska next Saturday and Kansas on Feb. 10, and more performances like Saturday should pump up the house for other remaining home games.
Both Anderson and players credited the crowd for boosting their play.
"We played pretty good defense at times, and when you do the things we did to them in the second half, that's a credit to our players and to our fans for creating a great environment," Anderson said.
Point guard Stefhon Hannah led Missouri with 15 points and four assists and tied for the team lead with six rebounds. He credited the so-called sixth man with an assist.
"Once we saw they were in the game, that gave us a lot of energy," Hannah said. "If the fans keep doing that, then we're going to try and give them everything."
Texas Tech was Missouri's first home opponent in two weeks.