Mizzou on track for a No.1 seed come March.Once again, home court proves the biggest advantage a team can have in sports. The last time the Missouri Tigers faced the Oklahoma State Cowboys they lost in Stillwater 79-72.
The Tigers held leads throughout that game but fell apart down the stretch, allowing the Cowboys to finish the game on a 26-10 run.
That was not the case in the rematch Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena.
The #3 Tigers (24-2) buried the Cowboys (12-14) 83-65. The game was more of a beat down than the score indicates. The Tigers led by 35 at one point, and Frank Haith pulled his starters during the 2nd half.
Marcus Denmon led the way for the Tigers with 17 points and Ricardo Ratliffe contributed a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Ratliffe still leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 73%.
Michael Dixon Jr. had 15 points and Kim English and Phil Pressey each had 13.
The Tigers finally had a night where they had a rebounding advantage, 37-29. They rank 276th in the nation in rebounding.
The Tigers offense is on record pace in school history. They rank 7th in the nation in points per game (80.2), 17th in assists per game (16) and 3rd in field goal percentage (50%).
The Tigers are still in a first place tie with the Kansas Jayhawks in the Big 12 standings.
When Lawrence Bowers was ruled out for the season in October, Kim English needed step up. English (6’6 200 lb) is out-sized almost every night, but that hasn’t stopped the senior from adapting.
Kim English had the duties of defending Cowboys freshman Le’Bryan Nash (6’7 230lb) on Wednesday. Nash had 27 points in the previous game, but was held to just 11 on Wednesday night. English may not be the prolific scorer we once thought, but he knows his role with this team: do what is necessary to win each game.
English on stopping Nash
When a team only loses two games, it’s easy to remember what they did wrong, and it sticks.
Frank Haith on his team learning from losses
The Tigers clearly learned from the loss to OSU, and responded with a beat down Wednesday. Since that loss the Tigers have made a habit of closing out games: a 1 point win at Texas, a 3 point win against KU and a 3 point win at Oklahoma.
Next, Mizzou travels to College Station for a matchup with Texas A&M on Saturday.
I love the sound bites…that gives me some great ideas for my own blog!