Tigers Survive Road Test in College Station
COLLEGE STATION, TX -- No. 3 Missouri held on for a tough victory against future SEC foe Texas A&M Saturday, 71-62.
A balanced scoring attack was once again the key to Missouri's offense. Four Tigers were in double figures, as Kim English led the way with 21 points. Michael Dixon stayed hot by scoring 15 points and dishing out six assists. Phil Pressey recorded 13 points and seven assists, but had five of Mizzou's 14 turnovers. Marcus Denmon added 14 points, and Khris Middleton led the way with 15 for Texas A&M (13-13, 4-10).
Missouri (25-2, 12-2 Big 12) shot 56 percent from the field and made eights of its 20 three-point attempts. Ricardo Ratliffe continued to struggle though, hitting just two of his five shots and attempting zero free throws.
Missouri got off to a slow start in the first half, trailing 7-2 four minutes into the game. Baskets by Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon and then a three-pointer by Kim English put the Tigers in front, 9-7. With the game tied at 24 late in the first half, Mizzou used another 7-0 run to take the lead into the locker room, 31-24. A slam dunk by Steve Moore and five free throws made up the Tigers' late burst.
Early in the second half, a jumper by Elston Turner cut the Missouri lead to just two points. The Tigers responded though with a 12-2 run, led by Marcus Denmon's two three-pointers, extending the lead to 46-36. Mizzou led by as many as 13 before the Aggies made a late charge. Turner's trey with 1:22 remaining brought Texas A&M to within five at 65-60. But Denmon responded with a dagger from downtown with 36 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
The win vaults the Tigers ahead of Kansas by one-half game for the Big 12 lead. Missouri comes home to Columbia to face Kansas State on Tuesday night before a huge showdown at KU on Saturday that could decide the Big 12 regular season title.