Missouri's Justin Safford and Oklahoma's Carl Blair battle for a loose ball.
Feb. 12, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Another rout at home, fueled by a deep bench, helped Missouri shake off a recent spanking at Kansas.
The 19th-ranked Tigers got 16 points from Michael Dixon and 11 from fellow reserve Justin Safford, improving to 15-0 at home with an 84-61 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday.
"Guys coming off the bench, they know what Coach is looking for," Safford said. "And that's energy."
Marcus Denmon, Missouri's leading scorer with a 16.5 point average, needed stitches to close a wound just below the right eye after taking an inadvertent elbow from teammate Laurence Bowers under the Oklahoma basket with just under 18 minutes remaining. He did not return, finishing with nine points, but is expected back Tuesday against Texas Tech.
"It's kind of one of those shiners. He caught a nice elbow and of course that's going to happen especially when you're in there where the action is," coach Mike Anderson said. "I think he's going to be OK. I think it was one of our guys."
The Tigers (19-6, 5-5 Big 12) romped without needing much from Kim English, either. English, restored to the lineup after a two-game absence, was scoreless for 33 minutes, finished with six points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Ricardo Ratliffe had 13 points and Bowers had eight points and nine rebounds. The bigger stat: the bench outscored Oklahoma's reserves 42-16.
"Coach is always talking about how when we sit there, we see what's going on," said backup forward Steve Moore, who had six points, three rebounds and a block in 14 minutes. "So when we get out there, we can fix it."
Missouri has led by at least 15 points in the last 10 games at home, this time shaking off a 103-86 loss at No. 2 Kansas on Monday. The Tigers are 0-5 on the road in the conference.
"A lot of people aren't very successful in there (Allen Fieldhouse)," Dixon said. "It was good to get a bad taste out of our mouth, though."
Cameron Clark had 16 points and Tyler Neal had 14 for Oklahoma (12-12, 4-6), which is 1-10 on the road and has a freshman and three sophomores starting. Cade Davis, the Sooners' lone senior and second-leading scorer with a 12.6 average, was scoreless in the first half and finished with five points.
Coach Jeff Capel said players didn't abide by his halftime speech to concentrate on transition defense. Capel called a quick timeout after Missouri scored six points in the first 1 1/2 minutes after the break to take a 12-point lead.
"I don't know who that was out there for us in the second half," Capel said. "That's not taking anything away from Missouri because they took it from us."
Capel didn't believe it was just Missouri's depth, either, noting that minutes for the starting five were down from the norm, but not much with four starters playing at least 30 minutes and foul-plagued Andrew Fitzgerald limited to 23. In the previous six games the starters averaged 34 1/2 minutes.
"The pace of the game is very different from what we're accustomed to, but that's no excuse," Capel said. "We have to figure out a way to be tougher."
Oklahoma hit three of its first four shots from 3-point range, but finished 5 for 17. All but two of the Sooners' bench points came from Neal.
The Sooners' early 18-11 lead, according to Safford, was "fool's gold."
Safford lost his starting job three games ago, and totaled five points the first two, and missed practice Thursday with flulike symptoms. Freshman Phil Pressey has started ahead of Dixon at guard the last four games, and Dixon reached double figures once before Saturday.
"They always have guys running in and out and that keeps the heat and pressure on you and it kind of wears you down throughout the game," Davis said. "They rely on their bench to bring them energy and bring them points and they did."
Freshman Ricky Kreklow and Moore combined for the first nine points of a 14-0 run that put the Tigers up 25-18 with just under 6 minutes to go in the half. Kreklow, who totaled three points in the first nine Big 12 games, had the first five points in the run including his first 3-pointer in conference play - although it was off the glass while well-defended.
"I didn't even see the basket," Kreklow joked. "He was covering my eyes."
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