COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Thus far, it's been a very rocky road for Missouri.
The Tigers are 4-0 at home heading into Saturday night's game against Fairleigh Dickinson. But they're 0-2 on the road, and counting neutral site games are 1-3 away from the friendly confines of Mizzou Arena after collapsing in a 60-59 loss at Oral Roberts on Wednesday night.
"It's just a mental thing," guard J.T. Tiller said. "Sometimes on the road you can get caught up in their kind of game and we have to use the leadership of our seniors to come out with a tougher attitude."
Missouri (5-3) beat Old Dominion in the South Padre Island Invitational before losing to Richmond in the final. The Tigers then beat Oregon and lost at Vanderbilt and Oral Roberts.
Coach Mike Anderson's signature up-tempo style of play feeds partly off energy from enthusiastic home crowds.
"It takes a certain type of energy," Anderson said. "Right now we're kind of at a snail's pace on the road."
It's happened before with Anderson, who is 101-17 at home overall, including 50-8 at Missouri. The flip side is an underwhelming 33-45 mark on the road, including 10-21 at Missouri.
Anderson believes the best way for the Tigers to establish their frenetic pace more often on the road is to step up the intensity when they don't have the ball.
"Our defense can create that tempo," Anderson said. "And defense is about pride. I didn't see enough of that Tiger pride on defense against Oral Roberts."
Tiller, the senior captain, believes it's up to players to create that energy however they can.
"It has to come from us collectively on the bench," Tiller said. "That is our only crowd on the road."
Youth might be a good reason for the struggles thus far. Missouri is averaging 97 points at home, and 65 points on the road or at neutral sites.
"We're still trying to find that identity as a young team," Anderson said. "This team has to be the sum of its parts and right now some of those parts aren't clicking where they should be all the time."
Despite the problems, Anderson believes the team has a chance to be great.
"I have confidence that we have the right guys," he said. "We just have to execute what we have."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)