The slump was real. Missouri’s 3-point field goal percentage of 37.0 was soaring above the NCAA Division I average through the first 15 games of the year. The Tigers went cold over the next four games, though, canning just 18-97 and bricking so hard that the percentage for the season fell to 33.3.
The slump got worse the longer it went on. It culminated with the team’s worst performance from deep all year on Saturday against No. 4 Alabama in which MU sank just 3-28.
The slump was bound to come to an end eventually. And it did, as Mizzou caught fire against Ole Miss in an 89-77 road win on Tuesday, going 16-30 from beyond the arc. But how? What changed in the two days between the team’s worst shooting night of the year and its best?
“We didn’t want to put any added pressure on our guys. We kept our same routine,” Mizzou head coach Dennis Gates said. “We didn’t hit a panic button. And I just credit our entire program, our entire team, for just continuing to not waver and believe in each other and believe in our style.”
The Tigers are now up to 180 made 3-pointers on the season — more than the 171 they made in the entire 2021-22 season. The 53.3% they made against the Rebels was their best rate of the year. The 16 treys were the most in an SEC regular season game in program history.
“I knew at some point we would get there,” Gates said.
Senior guard D’Moi Hodge led the way knocking down 6-11 against Ole Miss. Senior forward Kobe Brown and senior guard Isiaih Mosley helped with the heavy lifting, each getting four to drop. Senior and junior forwards Noah Carter and Mohamed Diarra, respectively, added one apiece.
There might be more nights when the basket has a lid on it. There might also be nights Mizzou shoots even better than it did on Tuesday.
Gates doesn’t want to overreact to either. As long as his players take good shots, the makes will eventually come.
“We didn’t do anything different as a program as it relates to getting extra shots up,” Gates said. “I think our guys just was able to meditate and dial in and allow the ball to find the right shots. They set screens for each other, the ball was moving, we got back to 21 assists, which is something essential in our program.”
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