To the surprise of nobody, Missouri men’s basketball dominated Houston Christian on Saturday. The 105-69 victory moved the Tigers to 7-0 on the season before they hit the road for the first time to play Wichita State on Tuesday.
Here’s what to know from Missouri’s huge victory.
Throughout the first half, Missouri’s top performer was DeAndre Gholston. He finished the half with 19 points, and led the team with 22 by the end of the game.
Gholston also had four assists and three rebounds in the victory.
“He hadn’t played as well as he wanted to on the offensive end (before Tuesday),” Gates said after the game. “But defensively he’s been as consistent as anyone and to have a fifth guy out of seven games lead us in scoring, it says a lot.”
Gholston had two steals in Saturday’s effort. He credited what he was able to do offensively to his efforts on defense.
“Picked my intensity up,” Gholston said. “I just kept running and my teammates found me. It just worked out for today. I’ve been staying in the gym, trying to stay confident and it worked out for me today.”
Kobe Brown was the Tigers’ second-leading scorer on Saturday. He only had five points in the first half, but picked it up in the second to finish with 19.
Other Tigers in double figures included Noah Carter (14) and D’Moi Hodge (13). The Tigers made 43 of 67 shots from the field, and 11 of 25 three-point attempts.
Missouri was supposed to beat HCU into the ground and the Tigers knew it. MU got out to a blazing hot start, leading 25-3 before the Huskies made their first shot from the field.
Houston Christian called its first timeout down 11-0 less than six minutes into the half. The Tigers played suffocating defense early and also racked up the assists, finishing with 14.
"It's always focused on the defensive ends because that’s a good ball team that can shoot it,” Gates said. “We held them under a certain percentage from the three-point line, 5 for 25, that’s a great stat, but to get that lead you have to be able to get stops and I thought our guys did that throughout the game.”
The defensive performance continued throughout the game and Missouri finished the game up 23-11 in the turnover margin. Houston Christian head coach Ron Cottrell said that helped doom his team.
“Turnovers was not what we were looking for,” Cottrell said. “They turned us over, live ball turnovers, that really concerns us.”
Missouri’s start to the season has been red hot. The Tigers have won their first seven games and have generally done what they expected to at the beginning of the campaign.
However, all those games have been at home. On Tuesday, MU visits Wichita State and will test its mettle on the road for the first time.
Gates said he wasn’t especially concerned about his team in a new environment.
“These guys have played on the road before,” Gates said. “This isn’t their first rodeo. If we had a team full of freshmen, that’s different, but guys that have played 60-plus games before. They know what the preparation looks like. They know what it smells like. They know what it talks like and they know what we need to do.”
Going into a Saturday matchup with Tarleton State, Wichita State was 3-2 on the season. The Shockers beat Central Arkansas, Richmond and Grand Canyon, and lost to Alcorn State and San Francisco.
They are currently 1-1 at home.
“There’s more sacrifice needing to take place on the road than at home,” Gates said. “There's more preparation that needs to be taking place individually.”
Tuesday’s game against Wichita State is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN+.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Mizzou basketball beats Houston Christian before Wichita State matchup