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.
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.”
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.
Quotes via MUTigers.com