Missouri races to big win over Northern Illinois

Denmon scores 24 points as Anderson gets 100th victory at MU

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — When Missouri coach Mike Anderson arrived at Missouri five years ago, he took over a down program and started recruiting players based on trust he would turn things around.

A hundred wins later, that’s exactly what he’s done.

Marcus Denmon scored 24 points and Matt Pressey added a career-high 18 as Anderson became the fastest coach to reach 100 wins in school history Monday night as the Tigers blew out Northern Illinois 97-61.

“For most of us, we came here on coach Anderson’s word,” junior Laurence Bowers said. “Now, to be a part of him winning 100 games is special to me and I know for our guys as well.”

Missouri went on a 17-0 run to start the game and held the largest halftime lead against a Division I opponent in school history at 40 points. The Tigers connected on 69 percent of their shots in the opening half and scored a season-best 57 points.

The Tigers finished with 26 assists on 37 field goals. Missouri currently ranks ninth in the country, averaging 18.3 assists.

“We certainly played efficient basketball with 16 assists at halftime,” Anderson said. “That’s become the staple of what we do.”

Pressey’s career-best performance comes in his second consecutive start in lieu of his brother Phil Pressey’s broken right ring finger he suffered in practice a little more than a week ago.

The Pressey brothers entered the starting lineup after sophomore Michael Dixon was suspended two games for violating an undisclosed team rule. Dixon has since been reinstated, but has come off the bench since his return after starting the first nine games of the season.

He finished with eight points and a team-high eight assists.

“Coming in to this game, I wanted to be more assertive on the offensive and defensive end,” Matt Pressey said. “My brother going down kind of hurt us, but I knew I had to step up and try to run the team.”

Tim Toller led Northern Illinois in scoring with 13 points. The Huskies shot just 23 percent from the floor in the first half and finished the game 3-of-23 from 3-point range.

“We didn’t want to give up easy buckets, which we did, and we had to make shots, which we didn’t,” coach Ricardo Patton said. “Missouri exposes every weakness a team has.”

Xavier Silas, who came into the game as the nation’s second-leading scorer at 26.2 per game, finished with a season-low eight points for the Huskies (3-7).

“I’m asking him to run the team and score, so that was part of his struggle,” Patton said. “We just didn’t help him out as much as we needed to tonight.”

Denmon has come on as of late to lead the Tigers in scoring at 16.7 points a game. Over his last seven games entering Monday, he’s averaged 18.7. He also led the team in scoring with 15 in the Tigers’ most recent 75-64 win over Illinois.

“He’s talking more and is playing with a lot of confidence,” Anderson said. “He’s emerging as that leader of our team and to me that’s a very good sign.”

Anderson surpasses former coach Quinn Snyder as the fastest to reach the 100-win mark. Snyder reached the milestone after five full seasons at Missouri, but Anderson needed just 147 games.

Bowers finished with 16 points and Ricardo Ratliffe scored 14 for Missouri, which had five players in double figures.

The win pushes Missouri’s home court non-conference winning streak to 55 games, with all but seven of those victories coming under Anderson.

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