Snyder Says Game is Fun Again

1 decade 8 months 2 weeks ago January 14, 2006 Jan 14, 2006 Saturday, January 14 2006 Saturday, January 14, 2006 7:52:10 PM CST in Sports
And why not? After a sluggish 4-4 start that culminated with a 32-point loss to Illinois in the annual "Braggin' Rights" game in St. Louis last month, the Tigers (9-4) have won five straight and are tied for first with Texas and Nebraska at 2-0 in the Big 12, following wins over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. "The game is fun right now," Snyder said. "I think we really had to work to make the game fun after Illinois because it didn't seem real fun coming back from break." Especially gratifying was Tuesday's win over the 22nd-ranked Sooners in Norman, Okla. "I felt good after the Oklahoma game and so did our whole team," senior center Kevin Young said. "I think even the bus driver felt good after that one."

Still, Snyder knows the Tigers have room for improvement as they prepare for Saturday's game against Colorado (10-3, 0-2 Big 12) in Columbia. The Buffaloes have not won at Missouri since January 1997. In particular, Snyder is looking for more consistent production from junior Marcus Watkins, who is averaging two points and a rebound in five straight starts, and sophomore bench players Glen Dandridge and Kalen Grimes. He said the same thing a month ago about Marshall Brown, "and he's really answered the challenge," Snyder said. Since the Illinois game, Brown is averaging 13.4 points and 6.6 rebounds, up from 9.6 points and 4.1 rebounds through the season's first seven games. Another concern for Missouri is whether junior guard Thomas Gardner, the Big 12's leading scorer with 20.2 points per game, will be able to play against Colorado. Gardner sustained a mild concussion during practiced Thursday when he collided with Brown. He is listed as questionable. The two reportedly collided while going for a loose ball. Snyder said that sort of enthusiasm is a good thing. "I think our guys are excited to be playing right now, there's some enthusiasm in practice and it's carrying over into games," Snyder said.

Senior guard Jimmy McKinney said he doesn't expect anything different Saturday. "Guys still want this feeling," McKinney said. "Guys really love this feeling the way we're winning and the way we're playing, so we're going to try to keep it up. "I think we're going down the right path, but we're not there yet, we've still got a lot of learning to do," McKinney said. "We've still got a lot of things to achieve." -The Associated Press 1/13/06

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