Missouri coach Kim Anderson is still tinkering with his coaching style in his third season at the Division-I level.
At halftime of the Tigers' 81-55 victory over Miami (Ohio) Tuesday, Anderson "jumped" his players in the locker room.
"The idea of getting leads and then losing leads, that's not acceptable," Anderson said. "We can't continue to do that. This team will only be as good as how it reacts to adversity... Our margin of error isn't as great as some teams."
The Tigers (5-3) seemed to react well, as Kevin Puryear scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Russell Woods added 15 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season. He was 4 of 7 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line, well above his 56.5 percent season average.
"Coach (Anderson) just gave me the confidence," said Woods, who scored all of his points after halftime. "Kevin (Puryear) kind of kept my head up. He just told me to keep playing, just keep fighting, and I just came out there and tired to go hard."
Logan McLane made the first basket of the game just 19 seconds in, but Missouri answered with a 16-0 run, holding the RedHawks scoreless for 9:03.
Michael Weathers' 3-pointer with 10:36 remaining in the first half snapped the lengthy scoring drought and sparked a 23-7 run that gave the RedHawks a 25-23 lead approaching halftime. However, with 13 seconds remaining in the half, Terrence Phillips hit a 3-pointer to give Missouri a 26-25 halftime lead.
"That was definitely a big momentum booster for us in the second half," Puryear said of Phillips' 3-pointer. "I think that play carried over into the second half. We had a big a talk in the locker room about knocking down shots and just not putting too much pressure on ourselves to knock down those shots."
"First halves have just not been our strength this year in that we've struggled offensively, sometimes, just not being able to be consistent," RedHawks coach John Cooper said.
Frankie Hughes picked up where Phillips left off, nailing a 3-pointer only 29 seconds into the second half. Hughes finished with 13 points.
Missouri came out of halftime on a 20-5 run and rarely let up, outscoring the RedHawks 55-30 in the second half.
"In the second half, they start off well and they score, and they punch us in the face," Cooper said. "It's almost as if we just couldn't handle it, couldn't answer it. A couple times, we were trying to get it all back in one possession. And then, they started dominating the offensive boards, they were getting the ball inside, and they were just more physical than we were at that point in the game."
Michael Weathers had 12 points and four assists but fouled out with 5:49 seconds remaining. McLane finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and fouled out with 2:06 remaining. Marcus Weathers and Bruno Solomun each added 11 points and six rebounds.
The RedHawks (4-5) committed 28 personal fouls, tying a season high. Missouri converted on 22 of 31 free-throw attempts, including 16 of 21 in the second half.
Cullen VanLeer had 14 points, shooting 4 of 7 from 3-point range, and Phillips finished with seven points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Missouri: The Tigers 16-0 run to start the game is a good sign for Missouri fans. The storyline of this young team this season has been an inability to recover from slow starts and poor shooting stretches, but it displayed neither Tuesday.
Hughes has scored 112 points at Mizzou so far, making the third-straight season a Tiger freshman has scored 100 in his first eight games.
Missouri hosts Arizona Saturday. The Wildcats defeated the Tigers 88-52 last season in Tucson.