Nov. 11, 2011
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - No. 25 used a strong second half performance to pull away from a scrappy season-opening opponent, and gave new Head Coach Frank Haith a win in his first game at Mizzou, 83-68 over Southeast Missouri State.
Haith got a strong defensive effort and a balanced scoring attack from a trio of veterans, as seniors Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe each had 20 points, while Kim English added 19 of his own. Denmon, a Naismith Award and All-American candidate, and Ratliffe each had eight rebounds to lead the charge. Ratliffe got seven of his boards after halftime to key a second-half that saw MU break open a two-point lead at the break.
English hit 5-of-9 three pointers, including consecutive treys in a stretch that extended MU's lead to 53-42. A Denmon steal and layin with 14:22 left made it 55-42, and the Tigers never looked back, as SEMO would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way, while leading by as much as 17 multiple times.
The visiting RedHawks jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, but the Tigers responded with a 10-0 run, and they held a 38-36 lead at halftime, thanks to an acrobatic layin just before the final buzzer by sophomore G Phil Pressey. Pressey's play capped a 12-4 run to close the half for the Tigers, as SEMO held a 32-26 lead after a Marland Smith bucket at the 4:36 mark.
"No chairs were thrown or anything," senior guard Kim English said. "But he challenged us."
English hit four 3-pointers in the second half, going 5 for 9 from long distance.
"My teammates were finding me and those are the shots I make a thousand times a week," English said. "No euphoric feeling or anything."
The Tigers have a 59-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents dating to the 2005-06 opener.
"Credit to SEMO, they came out with a lot of energy and they made a lot of shots early," Denmon said. "Some of those shots, as you continue to play defense, they start to come up a little short."
Tyler Stone, who began his career at Mizzou before transferring to SEMO, led Southeast Missouri State with 18 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Brister added 15 points and six assists.
Missouri entered the season ranked for the first time since 2003-04 coming off three straight NCAA tournament bids.
The Tigers lack height without 6-foot-9 Laurence Bowers, out for the year with a knee injury, and often had four guards on the floor, making it tougher to put Southeast Missouri State away.
The Redhawks battled on even terms throughout the first half, opening a quick 7-0 lead and shooting 52 percent. They led by six with about 4 1/2 minutes to go before Missouri finished on a 12-4 run for a 38-36 lead, half the points coming on free throws and the go-ahead a basket coming on Phil Pressey's layup with 1.7 seconds left.
Missouri opened the second half on a 17-6 run, including two of English's 3-pointers, and kept the game at arm's length the rest of the way.