The Missouri Tigers are still a work in progress, but a quick start and strong finish led to an easy 96-58 win over the North Florida Ospreys on Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Arena. Mizzou improves to 2-0 on the season.

The Tigers jumped out a 16-2 lead in the first six and a half minutes. The Tigers forced the Ospreys into seven turnovers at that point. The Pressey’s Ricky Kreklow, Ricardo Ratliffe and Steve Moore came on after that ran into some trouble as the starters returned with 10:27 to play and a 22-12 lead. After a red hot start, the Tigers cooled when UNF started heating up. With 12 minutes to play in the half, Missouri was up 20-9, but UNF went on a 15-7 run over the seven minutes to pull to within 27-24 with 5:12 to play. The Tigers closed the half strong to lead 41-33. Laurence Bowers, Ricardo Ratliffe and Michael Dixon each led the Tigers with 8 points.

UNF came out hot to start the second half on a 6-0 run to close to 41-39. Mizzou then went on a 13-4 run to go up 54-43 with 13:25 to play which included an 11 point spurt thanks to a three pointer from Marcus Denmon and back to back buckets from Ratliffe and layups by Denmon and Matt Pressey.

The Tigers opened up a 17 point lead at 65-48 with 10:51 to play and never looked back, outscoring UNF55-25 in the second half.

Marcus Denmon led the Tigers with 18 points. Ricardo Ratliffe and Laurence Bowers had double-doubles. Ratliffe had 16 and 10. Bowers, 12 and 10. Missouri shot 51% for the game hitting 36 of 70 shots. Mizzou was 6 of 17 on three tries and did much better at the free throw line hitting 66% for the game (18-27). Mizzou forced the Ospreys into 34 turnovers.

Those 34 turnovers are a Mizzou Arena record. That’s the most under Mike Anderson at Mizzou and the team scored 30 of its 96 total points off North Florida miscues.  As a team Missouri recorded 18 total steal, including career highs for a pair of Tiger point guards. Mike Dixon’s five steals surpassed his career high of four against Austin Peay on December 27, 2009.  Phil Pressey added five in just his second game.