Missouri outlasts Texas Tech
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
COLUMBIA (AP) — Sporting the look of a boxer with a row of stitches just beneath his right eye, Marcus Denmon got No. 20 Missouri going early with 18 first-half points.
The Tigers could have used a little more from their leading scorer the rest of the way, and a little more fight from the rest of the roster.
Kim English scored all but two of his 16 points in the second half and reserve Michael Dixon 13 points in a 92-84 victory Tuesday night over Texas Tech. The Tigers (20-6, 6-5 Big 12) shot 58 percent but were tested in a run-and-gun contest that was light on defense before pulling away late to go to 16-0 at home.
Denmon was 8-for-11 in the first half, and only 1-for-2 in the second half because he wanted to be unselfish.
“I was trying to be a little more passive in the second half just because I felt like I could help get some other guys involved,” Denmon said. “A lot of teams around the country, they have just one key player and if you can key on him, you can stop the team.
“That’s not how it works with us.”
Coach Mike Anderson said his team was flat, and players weren’t disagreeing. Missouri committed five straight turnovers as the Red Raiders shaved the lead from 10 points to three with 1:14 to go. Anderson singled out starting forwards Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe for criticism.
Both had foul trouble and Ratliffe finished with four points and two rebounds in 16 minutes.
English missed three free throws in the final 33 seconds.
“You’re going to have a game like that,” Anderson said. “I didn’t think it was because they didn’t want to. It just wasn’t there.”
Paid attendance of 10,488 was Missouri’s worst in Big 12 play. There were almost 4,000 no-shows, reflecting fan apathy too.
“Coach Anderson says a raggedy ride is better than a smooth walk,” English said. “And it’s so true.”
John Roberson had 21 points for Texas Tech (11-15, 3-8), which shot 49 percent and had the highest scoring total for an opponent at Missouri. David Tairu added 17 points but the Red Raiders lost their fourth straight, all against ranked opponents.
“We’ll bounce back, we always do,” forward Mike Singletary said. “We came in here and battled and that’s what you want to do, you want to be in a position to win the game.”
Missouri entered averaging a 23.7-point victory margin at Mizzou Arena and led by 13 with about 91⁄2 minutes left, but were hanging on after Roberson’s 3-pointer cut it to 87-84.
Denmon, a junior guard, topped 1,000 career points late in the half and English finished the game with 998. Denmon missed the last 18 minutes of Saturday’s home victory over Oklahoma after taking an accidental elbow from Bowers.
“It’s still hurting a little bit,” Denmon said. “But it’s nothing I can’t play through.”
Singletary, Texas Tech’s second-leading scorer with a 13-point average, did not start for the second straight game and had four points in nine minutes. Singletary has been bothered by a left calf injury and limped off the court for good with about seven minutes to go with a sore left knee.
“I was feeling all right until I kind of bumped knees, and it kind of went downhill from there,” Singletary said.
Ricky Kreklow’s layup for a 59-58 lead with just under 15 minutes to play was the eighth straight lead change. Six players contributed to a 12-2 run that gave Missouri breathing room for the first time at 77-64 with about 91⁄2 minutes to go.
Denmon showed he was fine immediately, scoring seven of Missouri’s first 11 points. All three of his first-half misses were from 3-point range.
The Tigers led 45-44 at the break, with both teams apparently content to run and gun. Missouri shot 56 percent with five 3-pointers with a 12-3 run and Texas Tech shot 50 percent with four 3-pointers and a 16-2 run for a six-point with about 51⁄2 minutes to go.