Less than perfect basketball started off the season for the Missouri State men’s team.
The Bears hosted Little Rock for their season — and home — opener on Tuesday night, and lost to the Trojans 67-66.
“We need to look ourselves in the mirror — especially as coaches — and put a better product out on the floor,” head coach Dana Ford said.
The game came down to the wire after Little Rock hit a jumper with four seconds on the clock after redshirt junior Josh Hall missed a 3-pointer from the corner.
The first part of the game foreshadowed what was to come in those final seconds.
The Bears weren’t perfect in the first half, shooting 46.7% from the field. The 3-point shot seemed like a favorite for many of the Bears, but the shots weren’t sinking. The Bears were 4-for-16 behind the arc, with senior forward Lamont West leading the way with two triples.
Senior forward Tulio Da Silva led the way for the Bears’ scoring in the first half with nine points. He also had five rebounds, jumping just ahead of Hall, who had eight points and three rebounds in the first.
Missouri State limited the turnovers, having only three compared to Little Rock’s seven.
Senior forward Kabir Mohammed, who only played nine minutes in the first half, was a presence for the Bears. He had two offensive rebounds and four points, two of which came from the line. Mohammed ended the game with 11 minutes, and Ford took the blame for his lack of court time compared to that of Da Silva who had 37 minutes.
“Thirty seven minutes is high — Lamont West was in trouble I think in the first half,” Ford said. “I do think a coaching error I had in the second half was not playing Kabir Mohammed more. He definitely should’ve played more — I thought he was fantastic in the first half. That’s a coaching error, just like this game is a big, big coaching error.
“Kabir should’ve played more, Tulio should’ve played less.”
The second half also showed plenty of struggles for the Bears. They shot almost 10% worse than in the first half, going 9-for-24 from the field.
The shots from distance continued to be a favorite for the Bears. Six players took two shots from behind the arc — only four made it once.
“I thought in the first half, they were great looks,” Ford said. “I thought maybe in the second half — maybe a little bit more questionable ones. We actually made the tougher ones. … I do know, from a coaching standpoint, the ball should’ve went inside a lot more in the second half.”
In the end, Ford took the blame for the Bears’ first home-opening loss in JQH Arena.
“We as coaches did not deserve to win,” Ford said. “As coaches, that was not a good enough product for me to be heartbroken.”
The Bears play again at home on Sunday, Nov. 10, against Alabama State at 2 p.m. Ford said there’s a chance he changes his schemes by the time that game comes around.
“Maybe this loss is great for me because what I’m selling’s not being bought, so I’ve got to figure out a way to sell the right product here,” Ford said.