The Missouri Tigers jumped out to a quick 10 point lead, let Texas back in the game in the second half and then pulled away late for an 82-77 win over the 15th ranked Longhorns, Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena.
Sophomore Kim English led the attack against Texas scoring 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting including 2 of 3 on three pointers on a night when he was the only Tiger to hit a three try. Mizzou was 2 of 13 on the night.
The key was Missouri battled on the boards keeping the rebounding difference against a much bigger Texas team to 42-28 in favor of the Longhorns. The Tigers defense did an outstanding job of shutting down center Dexter Pittman who didn’t get off any shots and turned the ball over four times.
The Tigers jumped out to an 11-1 lead two and a half minutes into the game as they fed off a crowd of over 14,000 dressed in black which I must say should become a tradition at Missouri. The all black background looked very menacing. The key in those first ten minutes was Texas had nine turnovers and they shot just 33% on 4 of 12 shooting. Mizzou was up 19-12 halfway through the first, but Texas rallied to within one at the break as they shot 7 of 13 the rest of the half and only turned the ball over once.
The game was close in the second half as Texas grabbed the lead three different times in the opening minutes of the second half, but could never stretch the lead beyond two points. Texas got in foul trouble in the second half and Keith Ramsey started taking over on the boards. Ramsey finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Ramsey helped pull the Tigers away for good with 4:06 to play. J.T. Tiller got pushed from behind and an intentional foul was called on Texas. This came moments after Tiller was plowed into from behind and he crashed into the goal post below.
Tiller made one of his two field goals, then after the inbounds pass, missed a shot, but Ramsey came flying into to tip it in. Then after Texas turned the ball over, again Tiller missed a shot and Ramsey tipped it in. That five point burst gave the Tigers a 70-60 lead with 3:50 to play. Mizzou would build the lead to as high as 13 and a couple of late baskets by Texas in the final :20 cut the final deficit to five.
This is a good resume builder for the Tigers as they are clearly a bubble team in the NCAA, but it’s also clear thta Texas is not a top 15 team. They’re not even a top 25 team in my opinion. 20 wins, but just a 6-5 conference record? No way. Mizzou improves to 19-7 and 7-4 in the Big 12.