MUTIGERS.com
Mizzou 78, Illinois 74

MUTIGERS.COM
MUTIGERS.COM

MUTIGERS.COM

Dec. 22, 2011

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Head Coach Frank Haith

Opening Statement...
First half we played really well, even though we had foul trouble with Ricardo and Marcus. Steve gave us a tremendous effort as well; especially with the stuff that doesn't show up on the stat sheet. He was active, he had a presence--he had steals, blocked shots. In the second half, we have to give Illinois credit, but I also thought we lost a lot of focus. I'm really proud of how these guys fought and found a way to win.

On pace in last 90 seconds...
Well we had lots of opportunities in that time and this team is probably going to take advantage of those. I think we had a couple of those when we needed to run offense, we have a team that's really athletic and really good in transition and it takes time to develop that understanding of when to go and when not to go, and we don't want to play warp speed all the time, that's a little out of character and that allowed Illinois to get back in the game. In that situation we really needed to run offense but there at the end when we needed to make plays, we did a good job making plays.

On what went wrong when they lost the lead...
Well I think we lost our focus on offense, we took quick shots and we haven't played like that for long stretches for any point of the year. On the defensive end I think we played good, I think we did a real good job in the ball screen situation

On what they learned in the last two minutes...
We challenged them, you know we told them in the timeout, stay together and when we got to those moments when it was a four minute game, a three minute game, or a two minute game execution was going to be a big part of it. I thought where that showed was with Ricardo Ratliffe, where he didn't have a great game in the last 90 seconds he made some defensive plays, got his hands on some balls, we can defend and we have great possession.

On Denmon having an off night...
I told the team since Marcus and Ricardo didn't have the best games in the first half and had some foul trouble, and Marcus struggled tonight but we found a way and that was good for us because we had some other guys that showed they could score. Obviously the two little guys, Phil and Mike, were outstanding tonight and every night you can have a off night but you can't take a night off and so we still have to play on both ends of the court.

Player Post Game Quotes

Steve Moore

On role in first half...
I was just trying to do what I do every game. Whether that be getting rebounds, blocking shots, just doing exactly what's expected of me. I was surprised Coach called my number early this game, and fortunately I was able to produce tonight.

Michael Dixon, Jr.

On beating Illinois in the first tight game of the season...
It's good to have a game like this, but we feel like we won the game but we know we could have played a lot better. Illinois is a good team, and they fought hard and didn't quit. It will definitely be helpful for us down the stretch.

Phil Pressey

On sitting out last year and playing in his first Braggin' Rights game...
I cheered like I was playing in the game last year so I was definitely breaking a sweat. This year was a lot more than I expected though when I was actually playing the game. This was Coach Haith and my first Braggin' Rights experience together so I was happy to get the win.

On being tested down the stretch...
This was our first real test down the stretch. We haven't really the opportunity to play in a close game like this yet this year, and we know there's going to be a lot more games like this the rest of this season.

Illinois Head Coach, Bruce Weber

Opening Statement...
"Obviously, that was a great, high-intensity, game. [Missouri] will be one of the best teams we will play all year. They were tough to matchup with; we had to go small ball. [Illinois guard] Joe Bertrand, who hasn't made a bucket in three or four weeks, including practice, came up big time for us and got us back in the game. I was proud of our kids. We didn't quit. They come at you fast and furious and you have to get back in transition defense. We made a decision to lock-in on Denmon and English and make the other guys make plays, and to their credit, Matt, Phil and Ratliffe made enough plays to get a victory for them. Mike Dixon is so explosive and can score -- I know how good he is -- he was huge. He got them to the free throw line and we didn't get to the free throw line. Good effort by our kids, but the big thing is: where do we go from here?"

On the sting of the loss...
"When they are kicking our butt, you are hoping to just survive and stay in there, and then you have a chance to win it, and now it hurts. I was happy our guys competed. I wrote on the board, "Play with courage, compete and have energy," and I think, for the most part, we did. We just didn't finish the job."

On defending Missouri...
"We needed to do a little better job defending the lane drive. They kept getting angles and they are smart. I watched Phil [Pressey] in high school, and I was amazed at how a young kid could have such great feel for the game to draw people to him and dish it off. We told Meyers [Leonard] to stay at home because as soon as you go up to Phil, he is going to dish it off. They got some of those [buckets]. We made a decision, we went with it, and they found a way to win. They have enough weapons."