Three seasons ago, Missouri men’s basketball head coach Kim Anderson paced, glared and instructed from the opposite baseline in an exhibition with Central Missouri.
He likely has fond memories of that season – he won a Division II National Title as coach of the Mules.
Fast-forward to Friday, Nov. 4, and his Tigers, voted last in the SEC preseason poll, used a 21-4 run in the heart of the second period to pull away from Central Missouri at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.
After the 7-point victory, Anderson said the Mizzou locker room was disappointed.
“I thought we played nervous,” Anderson said. “We were going to have a day off tomorrow. We’re not now.”
Missouri freshman Frankie Hughes started over K.J. Walton, who battled the flu as late in the week as Wednesday. Hughes led the Tigers with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Kyle Wolf and Spencer Reaves, two of eight Mules returners, led the team with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Anderson said, initially, emotional seeing his former recruits Wolf, Brad Woodson and graduate assistant Preston Brunz across the court. That is, until they started scoring.
“There are a lot of great memories there with Central Missouri,” Anderson said. “But when the game started, it was just another team.”
Karleskint looks to rebound from 14-15 overall record in 2015-16, its first losing season since 2002-03 – Anderson’s first year in at Central Missouri.
He said he tries not to think about last season.
“We are light-years ahead of where we were at this point last year,” Karleskint said. “It helps having some returners that know what we want, and the standard that we want. Obviously, last year is not good enough.”
In the previous matchup between these coaches, the Mules triumphed over Karleskint’s Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, 56-44. They were knotted at 26 at the half, and Karleskint said Friday’s game resembled the 2014 NCAA first-round tournament tilt.
“Neither team could score,” Karleskint said. “It’s very reminiscent. I was just, ‘Man, we can’t score against this guy.’”
Missouri led the Mules 23-19 at half. Wolf was fouled attempting a three, and gave Central Missouri a 33-32 lead after a trio of free throws.
On the next possession, Willie Jackson put Mizzou on top 34-32 with a hook shot.
Tiger freshman Reed Nikko scored five points in a minute to spark a Missouri run. By the time he scored his next points, Missouri led the Mules by 18. Nikko finished with nine points in 11 minutes.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2