Matt Lawrence and Mizzou travel to Lincoln this weekend.
Jan. 8, 2009
Columbia, Mo. -
Mizzou Basketball News and Notes 2008-09
University of Missouri Tigers (13-2, 0-0) vs.
University of Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3, 0-0)
2008-09 Regular Season Game 16 - January 10, 2009 - Lincoln, Neb.
Tip-off: 1 p.m. CST
Arena: Bob Devaney Center - Lincoln, Neb. (13,595)
TV: ESPN2 - (Terry Gannon play-by-play; Stephen Bardo analyst)
Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst)
Rankings: Mizzou: RV/RV, Nebraska: NR/NR in Associated Press / USA Today Coaches polls
Series: Missouri leads 122-90 overall; in Lincoln the Huskers lead 54-41
Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa '82); 136-71 overall (7th season); 47-60 at Mizzou (3rd)
Nebraska: Doc Sadler (Arkansas '82); 215-87 overall (9th season); 47-30 at Nebraska (3rd)
> Missouri opens Big 12 Conference action on Saturday, as the Tigers travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers on ESPN2 ... Missouri and Nebraska have been locked in some tight contests over the last two seasons, as each of the last two meetings at the Bob Devaney Center have gone into overtime ... Missouri won last year's meeting in Lincoln 86-78 ... Over the last two years, four of the five games have been decided by five points or less, with those two OT games ... In Mizzou's home game with NU last year the Tigers played with just six scholarship players.
> Mizzou opens Big 12 action on the road for the first time since the 2003-04 season ... The Tigers had played four consecutive league openers at home and went 3-1 in those games ... Actually, Missouri has never won a Big 12-opener on the road ... The Tigers are 0-3 in those games.
> Missouri is off to its best start (13-2) since the 1994-95 season ... A win on Saturday would be the best start since that undefeated (14-0) Big Eight Championship club of 1993-94 ... That squad opened the year 25-2 and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
> Missouri is playing its second road game of the year and sixth game away from Mizzou Arena this afternoon ... The Tigers won at Georgia last weekend (83-76) and won two of three games in San Juan, P.R., including a solid 83-72 win over then-No. 19 USC.
> Although Saturday's game is on the road, some kudos are in order for another perfect home non-conference season for Mike Anderson and the Tigers ... Since his arrival at MU, Anderson has directed Mizzou to a perfect 30-0 home mark in non-league play over the past three seasons, which includes a whopping 24.5 ppg. margin of victory and key wins vs. non-conference foes like Arkansas, California, Davidson, Mississippi State, Murray State, Oral Roberts and Purdue.
> A huge key for Missouri in non-conference play was its bench... Missouri's "kamikaze line" is averaging 31.9 points a game this season and has outscored the entire teams of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (50-41), Stetson (45-44) and SIU Edwardsville (62-57) ... Those 62 tallies vs. SIUE were a school record.
> The Tigers rank among the nation's leaders in several statistical categories heading into Saturday's game ... Mizzou is No. 5 nationally in scoring at 85.3 ppg, No. 2 in assists per game at 20.1, No. 2 in steals per game at 11.3 and No. 2 nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 1.6 ... Another fun stat: Missouri is No. 4 nationally with 65.2 FG attempts per game and the Tigers have already shot 152 more FGs than their opponents through 15 games thanks to their impressive turnover margin (+7.3).
> Mizzou Basketball opens conference play on Saturday afternoon as the Tigers head to Lincoln, Neb., to face the 10-3 Nebraska Cornhuskers.
> Mizzou enters the game on a four-game winning streak and will be looking for back-to-back road wins for the first time since the 2006-07 season when the Tigers won at Iowa State and at No. 18 Oklahoma State.
> The Tigers are also looking for back-to-back road wins at the Bob Devaney Center since Feb. 13, 2002 and Jan. 29, 2003.
> Over the last two years all-five Missouri/Nebraska match-ups have been decided by eight points or less and the last two games in Lincoln have gone into OT.
> A huge key for the Tigers continues to be the play of their bench ... On the season, Missouri's reserves are averaging 31.9 points per game.
> The catalyst for Missouri's improved scoring punch off the pine is its five player freshman class ... So far this season that group is averaging 23.9 points off the pine.
> With those great bench-scoring totals, the Tigers have had a school-record tying 11 different players reach double figures this season, equaling the 11 players that reached double figures in 1961-62, 1974-75, 1994-95 and 2007-08.
> It's not just scoring where the Tigers are balanced ... Missouri didn't have a player top 20 minutes of playing time in Tuesday's win vs. Coppin State and 10 players average at least 11.7 minutes per game on the year.
> Sticking with the balance theme, Missouri is on pace to have 10 different players dish out at least 20 assists this season, which would tie a school record ... The 1987-88 Tigers also had 10 players with 20 dimes on the year, which is truly an incredible stat ... Last year's Tiger team, which was one of the most "unselfish" in school history, had eight players accomplish that feat.
> Missouri has had four or more players reach double figures in the same game five times already this season.
> The Tigers had four freshman reach double figures vs. SIUE, which was a first in school history.
> A major reason for Mizzou's large scoring totals is because the club has taken 152 more field goal attempts than its opponents this season and has made 142 more FG's ... Mizzou made 119 more FG's than its opponents throughout the entire 2007-08 season, so 142 more FGs through just 15 games is a HUGE differential.
> With that scoring surge, Missouri has topped the 80-point plateau 11 times in 15 games this season and is 11-0 on the year when scoring at least 80 points ... Missouri has topped 80 points 35 times in the Mike Anderson era (77 games) ... To put that scoring in perspective, the Tigers topped 80 points just 37 times (in total 160 games) the five seasons before his arrival.
> One thing Tiger fans are enjoying this season is points off turnovers ... Missouri averaged 20.3 points per game off turnovers last season and forced one turnover every four possessions ... So far this season Missouri is forcing 19.9 turnovers per game and is averaging 25.9 points off those opponent miscues each night.
> Missouri is scoring an impressive 30 percent of its points this season off turnovers (25.9-of-85.3).
> Because of Missouri's limited 12.6 turnovers a game, its opposition is scoring just 14.2 points a night off turnovers.
> It's only January, but ESPN Bracketology guru Joe Lunardi has Missouri "in" the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed ... Lunardi has the Tigers facing No. 7-seeded Gonzaga in Miami, Fla.
> Although the 2008-09 campaign is just getting started, Mizzou actually got an early jump on exhibition play over Labor Day weekend with a three-game exhibition tour in Niagara Falls, Ontario ... Missouri went 3-0 throughout the tour and averaged a 35.3 ppg. margin of victory.
Tiger Tidbits (Individual Notes)
> Lyons and Carroll are ranked among the nation's Top 15 power forwards by Rivals.com in their current position rankings ... Lyons checks in at No. 12, while Carroll is right behind at No. 13.
> Carroll, Lyons and Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin are the only players in the Big 12 to rank among the Top 15 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage and in the Top 20 in steals.
> Carroll topped the 1,000-point plateau vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and now has 1,128 career tallies at the Division I level, 460 of which came during his first two seasons at Vanderbilt ... Lyons has 913 career points and needs just 87 points to become the 38th member of Missouri's 1,000-point club ... Fellow senior Matt Lawrence is also closing in on 1,000 points and would need 197 more tallies as a senior to reach the mark.
> Over his last 18 regular-season games Lyons has six 20-point outings and has reached double figures in 16-of-18 contests.
> The Kansas City, Kan., native enjoyed a season high 26 points and eight rebounds in the win over Oral Roberts and then led all Tigers with 22 points vs. Illinois.
> Carroll has reached double figures in 14 of 15 games this season and the tandem of Carroll and Lyons have led Mizzou in scoring 12 times this year.
> The Birmingham, Ala., native led Missouri to a 2-1 mark in Puerto Rico and was named to the All-Tournament Team following his career high 29-point, 11-rebound effort against No. 19 USC.
> Carroll has topped the 20-point plateau three times this season, including a 21-point, 10 rebound double-double vs. SIU Edwardsville.
> Carroll has done outstanding work in the second half and is averaging 9.3 ppg in the second half alone.
> The Junk Yard Dog also leads the team (and all Big 12 forwards for that matter) with 31 steals thanks to a career high five thefts vs. Coppin State ... Carroll also ranks among the Big 12's leaders in scoring (7th), steals (3rd), field goal percentage (3rd) and rebounding (10th).
> Matt Lawrence is starting to heat up from the perimeter and has hit multiple three-pointers in seven of his last 10 outings.
> The St. Louis native is already No. 4 in career three-point makes at MU with 197.
> Lawrence drilled a season high six three-pointers vs. Coppin State on Tuesday and actually hit his first-six treys of the game to tie a season high with 18 points.
> Despite being a prolific shooter, Lawrence has 16 assists and just five turnovers on the season.
> Zaire Taylor was named the nation's Preseason No. 2 impact transfer in all of college basketball by Rivals.com ... DeMarre Carroll was the preseason No. 1 on that same Rivals.com list last season and didn't disappoint by winning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors.
> Taylor played his first Division I basketball game in 669 days on Nov. 15 in the season-opener ... The Delaware transfer sat out all of last season and last played at the D-I level on Jan. 6, 2007, at Hofstra.
> So far this season the Staten Island, N.Y., native has 47 assists and just 17 turnovers ... His 2.8-to-1 assist/turnover ratio ranks No. 3 in the Big 12.
> Despite being an active point guard, Taylor has a positive assist/turnover ratio in 12 of 15 games this year and has 5+ assists six times on the season.
> Taylor is coming off a season high 17 points in the win over Georgia ... Taylor has typically played well on the road, including a 30-point outburst at Loyola (Md.) as a sophomore at Maryland in 2006-07.
> Junior guard J.T. Tiller made his ESPN SportCenter Top 10 debut and it's no shock the highlight came courtesy of his defense ... Tiller's swat of Lincoln's Joe Hutchingson with just over six minutes left in the second half checked in at No. 8 on the countdown ... Coach Norm Stewart's response on the telecast after the block "I like J.T. Tiller. If you take the ball to the basket (against him), you can't bring that weak stuff. You'll need a helmet."
> Tiller is one of Mizzou's most well-rounded players and recorded a career high six steals vs. Xavier ... The six thefts tied a tournament record and is No. 6 in Missouri single-game school history.
> Tiller has had multiple steals in 8-of-15 games and is fourth in the Big 12 with 1.9 steals a night.
> Of Tiller's 15 career double-figure scoring games, eight have come either on the road or on a neutral-court site, including his 10-point, seven assist, four-steal effort at Georgia.
> Missouri Basketball is coming off a busy, but productive summer that saw all-13 Tigers remain on campus for workouts and classes ... Some members of the squad also had internships in town, including Tiller, who spent the summer as an intern at AFLAC.
> Perhaps the biggest improvement for Missouri this year is the play of its bench and that bench is being led by a host of young players.
> Sophomore forward Justin Safford recorded his first double-figure game of the year, as he dropped in 10 points and five boards in 13 minutes against Stetson ... Safford is also coming off an eight-point, four-rebound effort vs. Centenary on Tuesday.
> Freshman guard Marcus Denmon reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time in his career vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Cal ... Denmon scored 11 points vs. Pine Bluff before chipping in 14 vs. California.
> Denmon officially opened his Missouri career with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the Tiger win over Prairie View A&M on Nov. 15 ... That was the highest scoring effort by a Tiger freshman in a debut since Kelly Thames scored 19 against Central Missouri State on Nov. 27, 1993.
> Did you know that in his first game at Mizzou Arena Denmon actually cheered AGAINST Missouri? But you can't blame him, his brother Martane Freeman was playing for the Colorado Buffaloes, so we'll let that one slide.
> Freshman newcomer Kimmie English knows Mizzou Arena just about as well as the Arena managers and operators ... English made news this summer for sleeping overnight in the team's locker room and will often shoot in the club's 24-Hour practice gym in the early-morning hours.
> Just to prove he is insane about basketball, English went to Mizzou Arena at midnight on Dec. 31 / Jan. 1 to make the first shots of the New Year inside Mizzou Arena.
> The dedication is paying off for English, who scored 13 points vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor, before scoring a career high 16 points vs. California in the Tiger's big win ... English scored 14 of his 16 in the second half, including 14 straight points for the Tigers in a span of just 4:16.
> Over his last two outings English is 5-of-9 from bonus distance and is second on the club with 17 treys.
> Fellow freshman Miguel Paul is averaging 17.1 minutes over his last 12 games ... Paul has also hit a three-pointer in eight of those 12 contests as well.
> Paul led all Tiger freshmen with 12 points vs. SIU Edwardsville, while chipping in four assists ... He is also coming off an 11-point effort vs. Coppin State, including a dunk.
> Junior Keith Ramsey has played improved basketball over the past few weeks, especially on the defensive end ... Ramsey blocked a career high three shots vs. Cal and poured in eight points and five boards in the win over Stetson.
> Ramsey ignited Missouri's road win at Georgia, with a pair of blocked shots, two assists, two steals and four points.
> The JUCO transfer did it again vs. Coppin State on Tuesday, blocking two more shots, while scoring six points and grabbing five boards in an efficient 14 minutes.
> Ramsey initially scored a career high eight points in just nine minutes vs. No. 19 USC and corralled seven boards (career high) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 14 minutes.
> Laurence Bowers, another of Missouri's exciting freshmen, is making steady progress ... Bowers set career highs of 10 points and seven boards in the win over SIU Edwardsville in just 14 minutes of play.
> Bowers now leads Missouri in dunks this season (6), including a pair of alley-oop slams vs. Coppin State on Tuesday ... Bowers' second dunk was listed #1 on ESPN's Top 10 Plays of the Day on Jan. 6 ... We recommend you check it out ... Note that Bowers is right-handed, but caught the pass with his left hand and then flushed it all in the same motion.
About The Nebraska Cornhuskers
A balanced Nebraska squad enters Saturday's game 10-3 on the season, which includes three consecutive home wins ... The Huskers are 9-1 at home this year including a great win over Creighton and another victory vs. Saint Louis ... Senior Steve Harley leads Nebraska in scoring at 13.5 points and is among team leaders in steals and assists ... Fellow senior Ade Dagunduro is also in double figures at 10.2 points, while Sek Henry (9.8 ppg.) and sharp-shooter Paul Velander (48 percent three-point shooter) pace the Husker offensive attack ... Defensively, Nebraska is allowing opponents to score just 56 points a game and have forced 241 turnovers to rank second in the Big 12 in steals (9.6) per night.
Quick Starts For Mizzou
Missouri is off to its fastest start this century, as the Tigers look to improve to 14-2 on Saturday against the Nebraska Cornhuskers ... This current 13-2 start is Missouri's best since the 1994-95 campaign, Norm Stewart's final at the helm in Columbia.
> Below is a look at some of Missouri's fastest starts through 15 games over the last 30 years.
Season Start Finish
1981-82 15-0 27-4
1989-90 14-1 26-6
1993-94 13-2 28-4
1982-83 13-2 26-8
1979-80 13-2 25-6
1991-92 13-2 21-9
1994-95 13-2 20-9
2008-09 13-2 ???
1988-89 12-3 29-8
1980-81 12-3 22-10
1992-93 11-4 19-14
Lawrence Heating Up
Senior guard Matt Lawrence is starting to heat up for the Tigers and has seen his scoring average increase to 15.3 points over the last three games in wins against Centenary, at Georgia and against Coppin State ... Lawrence has twice tied season highs with 18 points during the run and is shooting 59 percent (13-of-22) from beyond the arc during that stretch.
> Lawrence has also been an excellent passer this season and has seven assists with just two turnovers during that three-game stretch, thanks to his improved driving ability and added strength.
> For his career, the former walk-on and one time Stephen Bardo-named "Surprise Impact Player" is already No. 4 at Missouri in career three-point field goals with 197, despite making just nine triples his entire freshman season.
Mizzou's J.Y.D Ruling The Lane
He plays the game with such passion and ferocity that Missouri senior forward DeMarre Carroll has earned the moniker Junk Yard Dog ... Considered by some to be undersized in the rough-and-tumble Big 12, Carroll has starred in the league due to his blue-collar style of play and earned the League's Newcomer of the Year title in 2008 ... Carroll appears to be shooting for more in 2009, as he is averaging 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds.
> The Birmingham, Ala., native has reached double figures in 14-of-15 games this season, including a career high 29 points and 11 rebounds vs. No. 19 USC.
> Carroll is also one of the Big 12's most well-rounded players, ranking No. 7 in scoring, No. 10 in rebounding, No. 3 in field goal percentage (.583), No. 3 in steals (2.1) and No. 5 in offensive rebounding (2.8) ... Carroll is the only player in the Big 12 to rank among the Top 10 in scoring, boards and steals in the Big 12.
Tiller Heading Home With A History of Great Road Performances
J.T. Tiller has a knack for great performances away from home and on Saturday, the Marietta, Ga., native leads his Tigers into Lincoln for a match-up with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
> Although he is known as a defensive stalwart, the junior guard has reached double figures 15 times in his career, with eight of those games coming away from Mizzou Arena ... The 6-foot-3 guard has three double-figure scoring games this season, a 13-point effort against Xavier in San Juan, P.R., a season high 14 points vs. No. 19 USC and most recently a 10-point, seven-assist, four-steal effort at Georgia in his home state return.
> As a sophomore, Tiller reached double figures nine times, including 13 points at Kansas and 14 tallies in a win at Nebraska.
> During his rookie campaign, all three of Tiller's double-figure efforts came on the road, with 12 coming at Purdue, 11 in a near miss at Kansas and 12 in a road win at Colorado.
Missouri's Second Wave...
Head Coach Mike Anderson has consistently tried to build depth with his basketball teams and the 2008-09 Tigers may be his deepest club since arriving in Columbia two years ago.
> Missouri is averaging an impressive 31.9 points, 18.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists and 3.8 steals from its reserves this season, including 18.7 points per game from freshmen Marcus Denmon, Kim English and Miguel Paul.
> Missouri's bench has been especially deadly over the last nine contests as the reserves are averaging 34.9 ppg. and actually outscored both Stetson (45-44) and SIU Edwardsville (62-57) ... The 62 points vs. Edwardsville was a new school record, topping the 58 points the Tigers reserves scored in a double-overtime win vs. Iowa State last season.
> Last season Missouri averaged 25.4 points per game from its bench after setting the school record in 2006-07 with 26.4 ppg from reserve performers ... That mark is in serious jeopardy this season.
Wear & Tear Of The Fastest 40 Minutes
While Missouri leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 3 nationally with a +21.4 ppg scoring margin, the Tigers are doing extraordinary work extending their advantages in the second half this season ... With the Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball taking full effect, Missouri is outscoring its opposition 45.4-to-34.1 in the second period alone and is allowing its opponents to shoot just 38.6 percent from the floor, 26.2 percent from the three-point stripe and yes, just 64.9 percent from the foul line ... In the first half of games Missouri owns a 39.9-to-29.8 ppg scoring margin, but opponents are shooting an improved 41.9 percent from the floor, 33.9 percent from three-point range.
Mizzou Opponent's Numbers by Half
Statistics 1st / 2nd
Scoring Margin +10.1 / +11.3
FG 41.9 / 38.6
3FG% 33.9 / 26.2
FT% 63.1 / 64.9
Points 29.8 / 34.1
Mizzou Arena - Home Sweet Home
(Knock on wood) Mike Anderson is a perfect 30-0 all-time in non-conference home games at Missouri and the Tigers recently completed their third consecutive undefeated non-conference run under Anderson ... Not only have the Tigers won 30 consecutive in the preseason, but they have done so in dominating fashion, sporting a 24.5 ppg margin of victory.
> The Tigers have played some impressive foes during Anderson's run as well, and own quality wins over Arkansas, California, Davidson, Purdue, Murray State, Mississippi State, Oral Roberts and others during that 30-game stretch.
Year Record Margin of Victory
2006-07 11-0 18.7 ppg
2007-08 9-0 27.5 ppg
2008-09 10-0 29.5 ppg
Total 30-0 24.5 ppg.
Matt Lawrence All-CLASS
Senior Matt Lawrence was named a candidate for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, making him one of just 30 seniors across America to earn the recognition.
> The award is based on criteria focusing on the "Four C's" of classroom, character, community and competition and the award winners will be selected by a national balloting of head basketball coaches, national media and college basketball fans.
Extend The Three-Point Line? No Problem!
The extended three-point line hasn't been an issue for Missouri this season, as the Tigers are shooting 35.9 percent (113-of-315) from bonus distance in 2008-09 through 15 games compared to the 33.2 percent (108-of-325) the Tigers shot through 15 games last season.
> Balanced shooting has been the key factor for the Tigers ... Missouri had just seven players who had made three or more treys through 15 games last season, while this season's group boasts 11 different players with three or more triples, including backcourt newcomers Miguel Paul (12 treys), Kim English (17), Zaire Taylor (7) and Marcus Denmon (12).
Assist/Turnover Ratio Key To MU's Start
Missouri's assist/turnover ratio this season has fueled the club's quick 13-2 start and it's no surprise Missouri is listed alongside the nation's top-ranked teams in that category.
> Missouri currently ranks No. 2 nationally with a 1.6-to-1 assist/turnover ratio, just behind nationally ranked Notre Dame and ahead of ranked foes North Carolina and Pittsburgh.
Team Rank A/T Record
Notre Dame 13 2.0 9-3
Missouri RV 1.6 12-2
North Carolina 3 1.5 12-1
BYU - 1.5 10-2
Pittsburgh 1 1.5 13-0
Carroll Reaches 1,000 Career Points
DeMarre Carroll reached a career milestone in the Tigers' 95-41 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 2, as the skilled forward scored his 1,000th career point as a Division I basketball player ... Carroll opened his career at Vanderbilt in the SEC and scored 460 points over two years, before transferring to play for his uncle, Head Coach Mike Anderson ... While at Mizzou, the Birmingham, Ala., native has flourished, and has scored 668 career points in just 47 career games as a Tiger.
School Record Pace For Fewest Turnovers
Although Missouri plays at a frenetic pace, the 2008-09 Tigers are the best in school history (so far) at protecting the rock ... Missouri is averaging just 12.6 turnovers per game this season, which is among the Top 40 for the fewest in the country.
> In fact, Missouri has been its best at protecting the basketball with J.T. Tiller running the point ... Over the final 12 games of the 2007-08 season the Tiller-ran Tigers averaged just 11.6 turnovers, down from their previous average of 13.8 turnovers through the first 20 games of that year.
Rank TPG Season
1. 12.6 2008-09
2. 13.0 2007-08
3. 13.3 1999-00
4. 13.7 1989-90
5. 14.0 2001-02
6. 14.1 1982-83
7. 14.2 1992-93
8. 14.5 1987-88
The Good Tigers Giveth ...
As a basketball team, Missouri is about as unselfish as it comes ... The Tigers are averaging an impressive 20.1 assists per game, which is No. 2 nationally and have a 1.6-to-1 assist/turnover ratio as a team, which ranks No. 2 in America ... Missouri is logging assists on 63 percent of its buckets in 2008-09 and 13 players have a positive or even assist-to-turnover ratio so far this year ... In fact, Missouri is on pace to tie a school record by having 10 players record at least 20 assists this season, tying the 1987-88 Tigers.
... And Taketh Away
Missouri has no issues creating turnovers once again this season as they produce 19.9 turnovers a night and average 11.3 steals (No. 2 nationally) ... Missouri is averaging 25.9 points a game off turnovers and scores 30.0 percent of its points off opposition throw-aways.
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