Phil Pressey scores 19 to lead no. 4 Missouri past no. 6 Baylor

Phil Pressey scored 19 points and accounted for four of Mizzou's 14 three-pointers. (Photo: Parker Miles Blohm | Columbia Missourian)

COLUMBIA, MO – No. 4 Missouri continued its dominance at home Saturday afternoon with a 72-57 victory over no. 6 Baylor. Phil Pressey led the way for the Tigers with 19 points and four of the team’s season-high 14 three-point field goals. With the victory, Mizzou improves to 23-2 on the season, matching their win total from each of the past two seasons.

“The biggest thing in this game and talking to our guys, we want to get back to establish our defense, and I thought we did that tonight,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said after the game. “I thought we did a great job with our perimeter guys guarding the ball. That really got us going in the second half when we were able to share the ball, get the ball moving a lot quicker, and I felt like we got in some really good looks and obviously we made some shots.”

This senior class, who, as freshmen, nearly led Missouri to its first Final Four appearance in school history, registered its 100th victory Saturday afternoon, tying it for the most wins over a four-year span.

Michael Dixon looks on as teammate Steve Moore attempts to block Quincy Acy's shot. (Photo: Katie Alaimo | Columbia Missourian)

The class also has an all-time record of 65-3 at Mizzou Arena. Kansas and Texas A&M are the only two teams to defeat this group of seniors at home.

After allowing Baylor to trim their lead to just one point early in the second half, Missouri utilized a 20-6 to break open a 15-point lead midway through the second. That 20-point eruption from the Tigers featured six three-pointers, including three from Michael Dixon, and a dunk from Steve Moore that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the second half.

“[Moore] was outstanding tonight. He was a live wire,” Haith said. “That was a big play. It was an energy play. He’s an energy guy. He is a valuable, valuable player to this basketball team.”

Dixon, who has scored at least ten points in each of his last four outings, chipped in 16 points off the bench for Missouri.

Senior Marcus Denmon racked up 16 points to move into 10th place on Mizzou’s all-time scoring list with 1,605 points. He passed Jon Sundvold, who finished his career with 1,597.

“I’ll say this, when Missouri is on there is nobody in the country that is as good as them offensively. Nobody,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said after the game. “On is when they are making their threes, because they are so good at getting in the lane and everything, you can’t take away both. You’ve got to hope they are not on. They’ve been on a lot this year.”

Kim English, who was a part of Mizzou's run to the Elite 8 in 2009, scored 12 points Saturday against Baylor. (Photo: Katie Alaimo | Columbia Missourian)

Baylor out-rebounded Mizzou 40-27, while limiting them to just five second chance points. The Tigers won the turnover battle, however, generating 20 points off 13 BU turnovers.

“We’ve got to find ways to win games,” Haith said. “For us, rebounding is a spot we stress and we’re trying to get better at, but we’ve got strength in other areas, and we’ve got to take advantage of those areas we’re strong at.”

Missouri will return to action Wednesday night against Oklahoma State at Mizzou Arena. The Cowboys upset the Tigers 79-72 last month in Stillwater behind a 27-point performance from Le’Bryan Nash. Tip-off for Wednesday night’s game is set for 8 pm.



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Double-doubles from Pressey and Denmon propel no. 9 Missouri to victory against Texas

Senior Kim English (R) was one of four players to score in double figures for the Tigers. (Photo: Chris Lee-STL Post Dispatch)

COLUMBIA, MO – The no. 9 Missouri Tigers picked up their third conference win of the season with a 84-73 victory over the Texas Longhorns Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Arena. This is the first time since 1997 that Missouri has defeated Texas in football and basketball in the same season. Gary Pinkel’s football Tigers knocked off the Longhorns 17-5 last November.

It was another complete team performance from the Tigers, who had four players finish in double figures, including senior Ricardo Ratliffe who nearly matched a career-high in scoring with 21 points.

“That makes it a lot easier on me with good guards like Marcus [Denmon], Phil [Pressey] and Matt [Pressey]. They all just find me in the right spots where they know that I’m capable of scoring,” Ratliffe said. “Coach just calls the right plays at the right time and gets me within five feet and I just make sure I make the play.”

Phil Pressey recorded his second career double-double with 18 points and 10 assists. (Photo: Kansas City Star)

Phil Pressey assisted on three of Ratliffe’s ten baskets. The sophomore finished the game with 18 points and ten assists for his second career double-double.  More impressive than gaudy numbers put up by the sophomore guard on offense was the zero next to his name in the turnover column.

“He had a terrific game. What he meant to us offensively, what he did out there was tremendous,” Mizzou head coach Frank Haith said after the game. “I mean, he had the ball, for 35 minutes, all the time, and to not have a turnover, to not have a miscue is tremendous.”

Texas coach Rick Barnes echoed Haith’s praise of Pressey’s performance, labeling it “as impressive as any [he’s] seen this year.” He also praised Mizzou’s unselfishness on offense.

“They have four seniors, and they’re playing with a totally different style than they’ve had in previous years,” Barnes said. “They don’t have any egos, and their goal is to help Missouri as a team.”

Senior Marcus Denmon also had a solid performance for the Tigers on Saturday, recording the first double-double of his career with 18 points and ten rebounds. Denmon, who was limited to just five field goal attempts against Iowa State on Wednesday night, hit four of six 3-point attempts in the first half against Texas.

The Tigers finished the game shooting 54% from the field as a team and 48% from beyond the arc. They also held their own under the basket, outscoring the Longhorns in the paint 34-26.

“There are going to be some ups and downs shooting the basketball,” Haith said. “What we don’t want to do is rely on the 3-point shot. That’s not going to be our staple. Our staple is playing inside-out basketball. We do have good shooters, but the best percentage [shots] are in the paint.”

J'Covan Brown scored 34 points for Texas, including 19 over a ten minute span to cut Mizzou's lead to just five points midway through the second half.

Mizzou led by as many as 16 points early in the second half, but Texas slowly started to chip away. J’Covan Brown led the Longhorns’ assault, racking up 19 points in just ten minutes to cut the Tigers’ lead to five midway through the second half. Brown finished the game with 34 points.

“It was a great win for us today. I thought we showed some poise down the stretch,” Haith said. “When they cut [the lead] to five, we did a nice job of getting stops. Texas is a great ball club; they are a really good team. I knew after half they were going to come back at us.”

MU responded to Texas’ unprecedented surge with a 7-0 run compiled entirely by Pressey, who capped it off in style with a fast break dunk to put the Tigers up by 12.

The Tigers built a 16-point lead in the final minute of the game, before allowing the Longhorns to pull within 11 as time expired.

One of the subplots to Saturday’s game was the matchup between the coaches. Haith, who is in his first season at Mizzou, spent three seasons as one of Barnes’s assistant coaches before he left to take the head coaching position at the University of Miami in 2004. The two remained have remained in touch since their time with the Longhorns and Barnes spoke highly of his former assistant coach after the game.

“I love Coach Haith. Missouri did a great job to get him, and now they’ve got to do all they can to keep him,” Barnes said. “He’s young, and he has a great future ahead of him. People have no idea about the job he did at Miami. He’s always wanted a job like this, with a terrific arena and fans that care about the program, so I’m excited for him.”

Haith will face one of his former assistant coaches on Monday evening when his team welcomes Texas A&M to Mizzou Arena. The Tigers and Aggies are set to tip-off Monday afternoon at 4:30.



MU introduces Haith to fans

The Maneater published this article on April 5, 2011

Head men's basketball coach Frank Haith speaks to the media and members of the MU administration on Tuesday morning at Mizzou Arena. Haith laid out his goals for his new team and expressed excitement for being chosen as the new head coach. (Photo: Nick Agro/Senior Staff Photographer)

The Frank Haith Era has officially begun at MU. Haith, who was officially named Missouri’s men’s basketball coach Monday night, was introduced to the public at a news conference Tuesday morning.

“It’s truly an honor to be here with you today,” Haith said. “I feel like I’m the luckiest man in the world. I have felt the passion already and that’s why I’m here.”

In his first meeting with the players early Tuesday morning, Haith stressed the importance of family and relationships.

“Yesterday was the toughest day I’ve had, because I had to tell those guys in Miami that I was no longer going to be their coach,” Haith said. “So, I know what [the Missouri players] felt when Mike [Anderson] told them that he was leaving for Arkansas. But I told them, I’m not going to be Mike Anderson, I’m going to be Frank Haith.”

Haith also told the players that he intends to pick up where Mike Anderson left off in terms of building the program, but that they have to buy into his system to be successful.

“What he did here for five years, he’s taken this program to be very competitive nationally,” Haith said. “We have great, great people along with really good players. We will win here. We will win big and that was expressed in that meeting this morning with these guys. We want to win and we want to win big. We talked about how that happens, the commitment they have to make, and I think they understand that.”

With a record of 129-101 at Miami over his seven seasons at head coach, Haith’s hiring drew some harsh criticism. Despite the backlash from many of the fans, Haith said he was actually encouraged by their reaction.

“I don’t look at the negativity I’m hearing so far as a negative, I look at it as a positive because that’s why I’m here,” Haith said. “That’s what I want. I want that passion because I want to win. I want to cut down nets. I am not taking it the way you think I should take it. I take it as a positive. I’m excited about doing that here. I’m excited about what we have here to get that done.”

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Tiger road woes continue with loss to Wildcats

The Maneater published this article on February 27, 2011

Senior Jacob Pullen put up 24 points to lead the Kansas State Wildcats to an 80-70 victory over the Missouri Tigers on Saturday afternoon. Pullen had 11 points just four minutes into the game to eclipse the 2,000-point mark for his career.

The loss is Missouri’s sixth conference road loss of the season.

“I thought we had a lot of mental mistakes as a team,” junior guard Marcus Denmon said. “We did a lot of things you can’t do on the road to win. We feel it was something that was in our control but we let it slip away.”

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Poor free throw shooting dooms Tigers against Aggies

The Maneater published this article on January 15, 2011

Texas A&M sophomore Khris Middleton accumulated 11 points in overtime, helping the No. 13 Aggies knock off the No. 13 Missouri Tigers, 91-89. The loss was the third of the season for the Tigers, who are now 1-2 in Big 12 play.

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