Denmon, Dixon lead Missouri over Texas Tech

Michael Dixon of Missouri drives to the basket while being covered by John Roberson of Texas Tech during Wednesday night’s game in Kansas City.

Michael Dixon of Missouri drives to the basket while being covered by John Roberson of Texas Tech during Wednesday night’s game in Kansas City. Photo by The Associated Press.

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Marcus Denmon scored 20 points, leading Missouri past Texas Tech 88-84 in the first round of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday night and bringing an end to Pat Knight’s time as coach of the Red Raiders.

Knight was fired Monday, effective whenever Tech was eliminated from the conference tournament. The son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, who coached Tech while grooming Pat for the job, finished 50-61 in three disappointing seasons.

Twice Missouri (23-9) had big runs and appeared to pull away. But the Red Raiders (13-19) responded each time and made it close before the Tigers finally nailed down the victory to end a three-game losing streak and advance to a second-round game today against Texas A&M (8:30 p.m., ESPN2-TV).

John Roberson had 28 points for Texas Tech.

With Denmon and Kim English canning 3-pointers, the Tigers scored the first eight points of the second half and seized a 56-44 lead that ballooned to 58-45 on a bucket by Michael Dixon, who totaled 17 points.

But Roberson followed with a 10-footer and the Red Raiders unreeled an 18-5 run, tying it 63-all on Roberson’s fourth 3-pointer. David Tairu, one of five seniors on Knight’s last team, drilled a 3-pointer and converted a rare four-point play in the spree.

Then back came the Tigers, with Denmon and Dixon hitting 3-pointers in a 15-4 spurt, taking a 78-67 lead on Steve Moore’s layup.

Mike Singletary’s bucket halted the spree for a moment, but English, fouled on consecutive trips down the court, sank four straight free throws, giving the Tigers an 82-69 lead.

Another 3-pointer by Roberson ignited a 13-2 run by Tech. Brad Reese’s two free throws made it 84-82. Phil Pressey’s two foul shots put Missouri back on top 86-82 before Roberson, fouled by Pressey, made two free throws of his own that shrank the lead to 86-84.

With 18 seconds left, Tairu was called for a foul on Dixon, who made one foul shot. Denmon rebounded a Texas Tech miss on the other end and drew a foul. The Tigers’ top scorer, with 1.7 seconds left, made one of two foul shots.

Tairu had 16 points for Texas Tech, Singletary 13, and D’walyn Roberts 12.

English had 15 points and four assists for Missouri, which lost to Texas A&M in overtime in the regular season.

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