Last night, the Missouri State men's basketball team lost to Little Rock 67-66. Head coach Dana Ford said it wasn't a "heartbreaker" because there were several errors on the coaching side. Ford has also preached that the Bears need to play as a unit, and that wasn't the case last night.
Fans had questions, so I did the best I could to explain what I saw from my end.
Looked like the offense lacked continuity and flow. Do you think that was because of Cook and Dixon being in foul trouble? Or is that just about getting more time with one another in game situations?— Patrick Posten (@PostenPatrick) November 6, 2019
I think it's a little bit of both. Having Tyrik Dixon out of the point guard position and — Keandre Cook off the court in general — changed the offense. However, I think there's still a lot of work to be done.
Dana Ford said the team needs to work on playing as a unit, and I agree. This team has so much raw talent — it showed last night. The Bears have to play as a team and not five individual players in the same color to find success.
If Primm plays do we win? Why so few minutes for Ridder? Thoughts on the freshmen? What about Ford Cooper?— Joseph Highley (@Joseph_Highley) November 6, 2019
You touched on a lot, so I will answer your questions in order.
I don't know if Gaige Primm would've been an absolute difference maker. Even if Primm had played last night, his minutes wouldn't have been high. I do think he would've helped Tulio Da Silva out. Da Silva played 37 minutes last night, which Ford admitted was way too high during the postgame interview.
When it comes to Jared Ridder, I respect Ford's decision to limit his minutes. If you watched Ridder's shot last night, it was clear he wasn't fully back and ready. There was one shot from the corner in particular that I keep thinking about. He seemed to push the shot rather than actually shooting it. I'm definitely not a doctor, but he didn't look absolutely comfortable.
Again, I think getting him game reps was a great choice, but he wasn't that 3-point shooter fans expected.
The freshmen didn't surprise me. I liked what I saw, and they provided valuable minutes for the Bears.
I personally loved Isiaih Mosley's energy. He was active and on his toes for all of his 10 minutes out there. He played smart basketball, but he — like the rest of this team — has work to do, but he doesn't seem afraid of making the most of what he's given.
Ja'Monta Black also was impressive despite going 1-for-5 from the field. He's one who would benefit from the Bears playing more as a team, for sure.
With Ford Cooper Jr., I'm not sure what exactly is going on there. He's another who Ford described as a "precautionary" sit out rather than an injury one. In the case of last night's game, he would've been useful while Dixon was out because of foul trouble. I think something important to bring up is that after the game, he was out on the court throwing up some shots.
Speaking of that, the freshmen were out on the court taking extra reps. Cooper, Mosley, Black and even Tyem Freeman who is redshirting this year were on the floor after that loss hitting a bunch of different shots.
That's something that should excite fans going forward.