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Second-ranked Missouri holds off Texas Tech 63-50

Missouri's Kim English, center, celebrates with teammate Marcus Denmon, left, as Texas' Myck Kabongo, right, looks on late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won the game 84-73.

Missouri's Kim English, center, celebrates with teammate Marcus Denmon, left, as Texas' Myck Kabongo, right, looks on late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won the game 84-73. Photo by The Associated Press.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Kim English scored 19 points in the first half, Marcus Denmon had 13 after the break and No. 2 Missouri had just enough to avoid a second straight upset with a shaky 63-50 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday.

Ty Nurse had 15 points for Texas Tech (7-13, 0-8 Big 12), which shaved a 15-point deficit to seven on Clark Lammert's 3-pointer off the glass at the shot clock buzzer with 2:36 to go.

Missouri (19-2, 6-2) finished with six straight points, including Ricardo Ratliffe's dunk in transition with a minute left after English blocked a shot and then saved the ball from going out of bounds.

English had 22 points, Denmon added 19 despite 4-for-15 shooting and Phil Pressey matched his career best with 12 assists.

Missouri remained unbeaten at home, three days after an upset loss at mediocre Oklahoma State insured a short stay in the top five. The Tigers' first 11 home victories had been by an average of 27 points.

Jaye Crockett added nine points and 11 rebounds for Texas Tech. Freshman Jordan Tolbert, the Red Raiders' leading scorer and rebounder, had four points, four rebounds and eight turnovers in 16 minutes while saddled by foul problems.

English and Pressey had impressive totals at the half — English with four 3-pointers and 19 points and Pressey a heavy contributor without taking a shot, racking up seven assists and three steals.

English hit a pair of 3s in the first minute-and-a-half to fuel a 10-0 opening run, but Missouri missed nine of its next 11 shots as Texas Tech rallied to tie it at 14. English scored nine points in the final 6 minutes, helping build an 11-point cushion before the Red Raiders closed the gap to seven at the break.

Tolbert picked up his third and fourth fouls in the first 1:39 of the second half, the latter a flagrant foul with Denmon hitting a pair from the stripe to put Missouri up 35-24.

Heralded national football recruit Dorial Green-Beckham got a huge ovation when he arrived courtside just before game-time, escorted by Missouri assistant coach Andy Hill. Fans later chanted "MIZ-DGB!" and Green-Beckman, a wide receiver from Springfield, watched the game from behind the Missouri bench.

The wooing continued when most of the football team was introduced during a break in the first half along with a recitation of the school's accomplishments under coach Gary Pinkel. Green-Beckham got a standing ovation on his way off the court, stopping to pose for a picture with Truman the Tiger, the school mascot.

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