Jan. 15, 2010
Columbia, Mo. -
Complete Release in PDF Format
Mizzou Basketball News and Notes 2009-10
University of Missouri Tigers (14-3, 2-0 Big 12) vs.
University of Oklahoma Sooners (10-6, 1-1 Big 12)
2009-10 Regular Season Game 16 - January 16, 2010 - Norman, Okla.
Tip-off: Noon CST
Arena: Lloyd Noble Center - Norman, Okla. (12,000)
TV: ESPN2 - (Ron Franklin play-by-play; Fran Fraschilla analyst)
Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst)
Rankings: Mizzou: RV/RV, Oklahoma: NR/NR in Associated Press / USA Today Coaches polls
Series: Oklahoma leads 111-94 all-time; last - MU won 73-64 on March 4, 2009 in Columbia
Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa '82); 168-79 overall (8th season); 79-38 at Mizzou (4th)
Oklahoma: Jeff Capel (Duke, `97); 158-80 overall (8th season); 79-39 at Oklahoma (5th)
> Missouri Basketball hits the road yet again as it travels to Oklahoma looking for its first 3-0 Big 12 Conference start since 2000-01 ... Missouri is 2-0 in Big 12 play under Mike Anderson for the first time and a win by the Tigers would make Anderson the winningest coach among that huge class of coaches that entered the league before the 2006-07 season.
> Missouri is known for big runs during games, but the Tigers have "spurt-ability" throughout a season as well ... Missouri is on a nine-game winning streak, which is the longest streak of the Anderson era in Columbia ... The 2006-07 Tigers coached by Anderson opened the year 9-0 ... Anderson's club has now enjoyed four winning streaks of 6+ games dating back to last season ... Over the past year Missouri is 45-10 overall and 17-3 vs. Big 12 foes, including Big 12 Tournament play last year.
> Missouri is returning to the Oklahoma City area for the first time since winning the 2009 Big 12 Championship at the Ford Center on March 14, 2009 ... It wasn't just Mizzou hoops that enjoyed OKC last year, Tiger softball won the Big 12 crown and advanced to the College World Series in Oklahoma City last year and Tiger Baseball advanced to the Big 12 Championship Game down in the Bricktown Ballpark ... Oh and if you want to talk about overall success, these two programs were the pillars last year as Missouri and OU were the only teams to win 30+ in hoops and 10+ in football.
> Of course you can't talk winning streaks without mentioning Missouri's 30-game streak inside Mizzou Arena, which dates back to the home finale of the 2007-08 campaign against Iowa State ... The Tigers rank #2 nationally with regards to home court winning streaks, tied with Siena and one game ahead of Pittsburgh and Dayton ... Kansas leads the country in consecutive home wins with 51 ... Missouri's current home win streak is the second longest in school history ... The school mark is 34 straight set from 1988-90 ... That run was actually broken by an Arkansas club in which Mike Anderson was an assistant coach for Nolan Richardson.
> When you talk about the future of Mizzou Basketball, you start with its youth and the Tigers have plenty of it ... MU has one of the nation's youngest teams this year with 11-of-13 players in their first or second season playing for Mike Anderson ... The Tigers are getting more than half of their 83.5 points per game from the sophomore class alone ... The second-year Tigers are logging 44.8 points per game ... If you add the freshman class, Mizzou is getting 68 percent of its scoring (56.7 ppg) and 59 percent of its assists (10.3 apg) from underclassmen this season ... Oh and for good measure, Missouri is welcoming in the nation's #7 recruiting class next year (per USA Today).
Mizzou Quick Hitters
> Missouri Basketball hits the road once again as it travels to Norman, Okla., to face the Oklahoma Sooners on national television ... It's been an tough stretch of games for the Tigers to open league play, as the team has faced Kansas State, Texas Tech and now Oklahoma ... Each of those three teams has spent time in the Top 25 ... Oklahoma was preseason #16 nationally, while K-State was #10 last Saturday in Columbia and Tech was ranked as late as last week.
> Missouri earned its first road win of the season on Wednesday in Lubbock ... The Tigers are now a very solid 3-3 away from Mizzou Arena, including neutral-court wins against Old Dominion and Illinois, a pair of RPI Top 70 clubs and a road win at Tech who was ranked inside the Top 40 of the RPI.
> Winning on the road in this league is tough, but Missouri is actually 5-3 in its last eight Big 12 road games, including a 3-1 mark vs. Big 12 South teams.
> No Big 12 team has more wins vs. league opponents over the last 20 games ... Missouri is now 17-3 vs. Big 12 opposition, including three wins in the Big 12 Tournament last year.
> Winning on the road usually comes down to the final seconds and Missouri has been excellent in tight Big 12 road games the last couple of years, going 3-0 vs. Texas, Oklahoma State and now Texas Tech in games decided by five points or less ... It doesn't count as a road game, but the Tigers also beat OSU 67-59 in Oklahoma City last year in front of a "Road" crowd in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tourney.
> Missouri has actually won two of the last three games in Norman and won five of the last seven vs. "Boomer Sooner" overall.
> Missouri itself has been downright inhospitable at home this year ... The Tigers are 11-0 with a +30.2 ppg scoring margin inside Mizzou Arena ... The Tigers are also shooting 51 percent from the floor, 42 percent from three-point range and are turning teams over 22.7 times a game.
> Missouri's current nine-game winning streak equals the longest of the Mike Anderson Era ... Anderson's Tigers also won nine consecutive to start his tenure at MU in 2006-07.
> You would have to go all the way back to the undefeated Big Eight Championship squad of 1993-94 to find the last Tiger team to win 10 consecutive games... That team won 15 consecutive, including a perfect 14-0 mark in league play.
> The Tigers have won 10 consecutive home games vs. Big 12 opposition ... Missouri topped both #16 Kansas (62-60) and #4 Oklahoma (73-64) inside Mizzou Arena last season and defeated #10 Kansas State to start league play in 2009-10.
> Missouri ranks #10 nationally with 17.4 assists per game ... However the perfect illustration for the Tigers' unselfishness is that Mizzou has ZERO players ranked among the Top 250 nationally in assists ... No one player dominates that basketball and that fuels Missouri's quick-strike offense ... However nine different Tigers have 19 or more assists this season, led by Zaire Taylor (46), J.T. Tiller (44) and freshman Michael Dixon (42) ... And as a reminder, Missouri led the nation in assists last season with 18.4 dimes per contest.
> Missouri has topped 20 assists six times, including 28 dimes in the 106-69 win against Oregon and 25 vs. Georgia.
> Conversely the Tigers lead the nation in steals per game (12.6) and are the only club in America with three players ranked among the Top 100 nationally in steals per game ... Zaire Taylor (#54 - 2.0 spg), Kim English (#86 - 1.8 spg) and Keith Ramsey (#86 - 1.8 spg) are leading the way, while J.T. Tiller continues to play the type of on-ball defense that could help him repeat as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
> Missouri is #2 nationally in turnover margin at +7.2 ... With that great turnover margin and assist/turnover ratio (+1.2) the Tigers have taken 113 more shots then their opponents this year ... That statistic certainly helps to offset rebounding margin ... In a crazy stat that speaks to great ball-security, the Tigers already have 104 more steals this season than their opponents through just 17 games.
> Did you know the Tigers actually turn their opponent over a nation-leading 30 percent of the time during a game? What does that mean? Well it means nearly one out of every three defensive possessions ends in a turnover.
> With that great turnover percentage Missouri is forcing 21.5 turnovers a game and is averaging 27.1 points per game off of those turnovers.
> It's certainly early, but the Tigers sport excellent depth on their roster ... Nine different players have reached double figures in scoring and 10 different Tigers are averaging at least 10.3 minutes per game ... In addition, that depth fuels Missouri's pressure and has allowed the Tigers to reach double figures in steals in 14-of-17 contests, including a school record 24 thefts vs. Chattanooga on Nov. 24.
> Missouri continues to be outstanding at the free throw line this season ... The Tigers are hitting at a 72.0 percent clip on the year, compared to 67.2 percent shooting last season.
> It's hard to argue with the production of Missouri's bench ... The Tigers are getting 39.8 of their 83.5 points per game from the reserves ... Missouri's bench has actually outscored their starters five times this season and are outscoring their opposition's bench 39.8-to-16.3.
> Mizzou has had a double-figure scorer off the pine in 14 games this season, including a season high three players in the wins against Texas Tech, Oregon and UMKC.
> One thing about Mike Anderson's clubs, they are built for the long haul ... Over his tenure "Coach A's" teams have averaged 26.7 points per game off the bench... That's over 117 career games.
> It's nothing new to have the reserves outscore the starters either ... Including five games this season, the reserves have dropped in more tallies than the "initial five" 17 times (in 117 games) in Anderson's tenure ... It just goes to show you, when the man says he has eight or nine starters, it means he has eight or nine starters!
> To help illustrate that point even further, Missouri has had seven different starting lineups this year.
> Missouri has typically played some tough schedules over the years and that trend will continue in 2009-10 ... Mizzou has 15 games against teams that have been ranked / receiving votes in the Top 25 this season ... Included in that list are some impressive non-conference games against, Illinois, Old Dominion, Vanderbilt, Oregon, Georgia and Richmond.
> Missouri has faced eight teams in the RPI Top 100 and is 6-2 in those games ... In both losses the Tigers were in a one-possession game in the final minute of play.
J.T. Tiller, 6-4, 200 Pounds
> J.T. Tiller has earned mention on virtually every preseason All-Defensive Team in 2009-10 ... Tiller is of course the reigning Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 Conference and was named to All-Defensive Teams by Sports Illustrated and ESPN prior to the start of his senior season.
> Tiller has been hobbled by a bone bruise in his left foot, but has still reached double figures in 7-of-14 games played.
> Tiller has notched seven assists in a game three times this year, including seven dimes at Vanderbilt, seven in a win against Old Dominion and seven in a home win against Georgia.
> The Marietta, Ga., native has 275 career assists and needs just 55 more dimes this year to move into the career Top 10.
> He also owns 137 career steals and 14 more thefts would push him into the Top 10 in that category as well, surpassing former teammate Jason Horton (2004-08), who had 150 ... In fact his career steals per game average of 1.2 already ranks in Mizzou's career Top 10.
Zaire Taylor, 6-4, 189 Pounds
> Zaire Taylor has been one of America's top defensive players so far in 2009-10 and is #2 in the Big 12 and ranked among the Top 60 nationally with 2.0 steals per game this season.
> Taylor ripped a career high seven steals vs. Fairleigh Dickinson in just 18 minutes of action ... Taylor was in the game for 31 defensive possessions and stopped FDU 26 percent of the time with either a steal or a blocked shot.
> The seven steals are tops in the Big 12 this year, tied the Mizzou Arena record and are the second most in school history ... Had he played all 40 minutes vs. the Knights he was on pace to record 15.6 steals in the game.
> Not only is Taylor excellent at swiping the basketball, he is one of the country's best at protecting the rock as well ... Last year he ranked among the Top 5 nationally with a 3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio.
> Taylor has wasted little time picking up his assist totals this year and has dished 46 dimes while committing just 19 turnovers in his last 16 games.
> Of course its hard to talk about Taylor and not mention his "Big Shot" monicker ... Taylor hit game-winners last year vs. #16 Kansas and at #16 Texas and then broke a 66-66 tie vs. #10 K-State on Jan. 9 with a deep triple with just 33 seconds remaining ... All three of those game-winners were vs. ranked teams.
> Not only do Taylor and Tiller form one of America's best backcourts, but the pair is incredibly visible in the community and volunteered with the Children's Miracle Network Radiothon, which supports the University of Missouri Children's Hospital ... The duo answered phones on the phonebank and made special visits to patients.
Laurence Bowers, 6-8, 205 Pounds
> Laurence Bowers is one of Missouri's most efficient players this season and is third on the team in scoring (10.9), second in rebounding (5.8) and tops in blocked shots (1.7) in just 20.7 minutes a game.
> Bowers scored a career high 23 points in the Jan. 2 win against Georgia, hitting 11-of-14 FGs for his first career 20-point night and has now reached double figures in four of his last five games, including 13 points and eight boards vs. K-State and 10 points and nine boards at Tech.
> Over his last five games Bowers is a combined 23-of-35 from the floor (.735) and has averaged 14.0 ppg.
> Bowers has reached double figures nine times this season and he continues to be one of the team's most efficient players shooting 63 percent from the floor.
> Don't be surprised by Bowers' efficiency ... That's part of his game ... The Memphis native maximizes his minutes played ... Last season as a freshman he was the team's most efficient rebounder and shot-blocker in just 6.9 minutes a game.
> The Memphis native has blocked at least one shot in 14-of-17 games this season, including a career high four swats in the wins against Austin Peay and Tech.
Kim English, 6-6, 200 Pounds
> Kim English was named one of the nation's Top 5 Most Improved Players by Dick Vitale in USA Today.
> English leads Missouri with 13 double figure scoring games this season, including seven 20-point efforts.
> English has scored 20+ in four of his last nine games, including 24 tallies in the win against Illinois and 20 more at Texas Tech.
> English grabbed a career high 10 boards for his first double-double Wednesday at Texas Tech.
> He also grabbed a six rebounds and ripped two steals vs. the Fighting Illini ... English has at least one steal in 16-of-17 games this season, including 18 steals in his last nine contests.
> English was named the Big 12's Player of the Week on Dec. 28 after leading the team to wins against Illinois (24 points) and Austin Peay (23 points).
Marcus Denmon, 6-3, 185 Pounds
> Marcus Denmon is nearly full strength after off-season knee surgery and has reached double figures 11 times this year.
> Denmon has been one of Mizzou's most consistent scorers with those 11 double-figure efforts and poured in a career high 20 points in the win at Texas Tech.
> In fact Denmon has reached double figures in a career high six consecutive games thanks to 47 percent three-point shooting during that stretch.
> Denmon has been very good late in games recently ... The Kansas City native is coming off a 14-point effort against #10 Kansas State where he scored eight of his team-high tying 14 points in span of 3:43 late in the second half to hand the Tigers their 30th consecutive home court victory ... The Tigers were down 55-49 at the 5:37 mark when Denmon nailed back-to-back treys and then hit a baseline runner off glass that had "Old Skool Basketballers" reminiscing.
> During the win at Texas Tech Denmon scored five points in overtime, including the first bucket of the extra frame and a 24-foot trey to break an 85-85 tie.
> Denmon currently ranks among the Big 12 leaders in three-point field goals per game (2.4) and three-point percentage (.440).
Steve Moore, 6-9, 264 Pounds
> Fans will notice a slimmed down version of Steve Moore this year ... Since his arrival Moore had dropped 40 pounds and has now began to regain the weight in the form of muscle ... Moore credits Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning David Deets with adjusting his eating habits, allowing the "Extreme Makeover".
> Moore turned that weight loss into production, as he has recorded career highs in virtually every statistical category this season.
Michael Dixon, 6-1, 175 Pounds
> Michael Dixon has been one of the Big 12's top freshmen this season and is averaging 8.7 points on 47 percent shooting this year.
> Dixon has reached double figures in eight of his last 12 games and was excellent in "high major" non-conference games, averaging 11.2 in contests against Illinois, Oregon, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
> The rookie showed his moxie in Missouri's recent road win at Texas Tech, hitting four free throws in the final :17 seconds of OT for the win.
> The Kansas City native leads Mizzou in FT percentage at 86.7 percent and has hit 23 consecutive free throws dating back to the Dec. 5 game against Oregon.
> Dixon has been especially tough during Missouri's nine-game win streak, averaging 9.9 points and 2.4 assists in five starts ... He is also averaging just 1.2 turnovers during the run while shooting 52 percent from the floor.
> Dixon was recently named the Big 12's Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 28, the first league honor of his young career.
Miguel Paul, 6-1, 172 Pounds
> Miguel Paul leads Missouri in assists per minute this year and is dishing 2.5 dimes in just 13.8 minutes a contest.
> Paul is second on the club in assists and his 2.9-to-1 assist/turnover ratio is the best on the club (40 dimes, 14 turnovers).
> Paul has 17 assists and just four turnovers in his last eight games, an assist/turnover ratio of 4.3-to-1.
About The Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma (10-6, 1-1 Big 12) has had a break from action after defeating rival Oklahoma State on Big Monday, 62-57 in overtime in Norman ... Willie Warren continues to put up All-American numbers with 17.6 points per game ... Warren is also second on the team with 69 assists and is shooting 44 percent from the floor ... The Sooners are getting great production from Tony Crocker as well ... The senior is second with 13.1 points, but is logging a great 6.9 rebounds from his guard position ... Freshmen Tiny Gallon (12.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Tommy Mason-Griffin (10.3 ppg, 4.8 apg) help round out a tremendous starting unit for Jeff Capel's club and the Sooners are a perfect 8-0 at the Lloyd Noble Center this season.
Missouri Tied For Best Record vs. Big 12 Foes Over Last 20 Games
Would you have ever guessed the Missouri Tigers are tied with the Kansas Jayhawks for the best record vs. Big 12 foes over the last 20 games? If so, you would have guessed right, as both the Tigers and Jayhawks are 17-3 vs. league opposition, which includes play in the Big 12 Tournament.
Team Last 20 vs. Big 12 Foes
Oklahoma State 12-8
Kansas State 10-10
Texas A&M 10-10
Iowa State 4-16
Texas Tech 4-16
Road wins are tough to come by in the Big 12, but under Mike Anderson the Tigers have been darn good away from Mizzou Arena, going 10-15 since his arrival in 2006-07 and 5-4 over the last two seasons ... Missouri won its first road game Wednesday at Texas Tech and the Tigers hit the road yet again on Saturday at Oklahoma.
> In the five seasons before Anderson's arrival the Tigers had won just 12 league road games, going a combined 12-28, which includes a 5-3 road mark in the Elite Eight year of 2001-02.
Quick Starts For Mizzou
Missouri has equaled its fastest start this century (same as 2008-09 club) as it looks to improve to 15-3 on Saturday at Oklahoma ... This current 14-3 start is exactly the same as last season's record at this time.
> Below is a look at some of Missouri's fastest starts through 17 games over the last 30 years.
Season Start Finish
1981-82 17-0 27-4
1989-90 16-1 26-6
1993-94 15-2 28-4
1979-80 15-2 25-6
1988-89 14-3 29-8
1982-83 14-3 26-8
1991-92 14-3 21-9
1994-95 14-3 20-9
2008-09 14-3 31-7
2009-10 14-3 ???
1980-81 13-4 22-10
2001-02 13-4 25-11
1992-93 13-4 19-14
Dixon One Of Mizzou's Best Frosh Point Guards
Michael Dixon has made a huge splash for Mizzou early in his Tiger career and below is a quick look at how the Lee's Summit freshman compares to some other Tiger point guards during their freshman campaigns.
Tiger Year PPG APG TPG A/T Ratio
**Michael Dixon 2009-10 8.7 2.5 1.1 2.2
Keyon Dooling 1998-99 8.7 3.0 2.0 1.5
Melvin Booker 1990-91 8.3 3.5 2.7 1.3
Travis Ford 1989-90 6.4 3.5 1.8 1.9
Lee Coward 1986-87 6.5 1.7 1.4 1.3
Prince Bridges 1981-82 6.8 3.3 2.2 1.5
**Jon Sundvold 1979-80 6.3 2.1 1.9 1.1
**Larry Drew 1976-77 6.9 2.8 N/A N/A
** Kansas City natives
Bench Making The Difference
Missouri is known for using its deep, effective bench to help fuel the Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball and the Tiger reserves have outscored their opposition's bench in all-17 games this season ... In fact, Missouri's second wave has outscored its starters five times this season, including recent games against UMKC and Georgia.
> Seven times this season the Tiger bench has scored 40+ points in a game and owns a 37.5-to-16.3 scoring margin against its opponents in 2009-10.
> Missouri has had six different Tigers come off the bench to score in double figures this season: Kim English, Laurence Bowers, Marcus Denmon, Michael Dixon, Zaire Taylor and Miguel Paul.
Top Bench Scoring Totals of 2009-10
Opponent Bench Scoring
vs. Texas-Pan American 57
vs. UMKC 57
vs. Georgia 54
vs. Oregon 50
vs. Chattanooga 49
vs. Tennessee-Martin 45
at Texas Tech 41
Tigers In The National Rankings
Missouri is again ranking among the national leaders in several statistical categories ... Below is a quick rundown of how the Tigers rank.
Category Avg / Ntl Rk Leader / Avg
Assists 17.4 / #10 Sam Hou. / 21.1
Scoring Mar. 20.1 / #6 Kansas / 25.3
Steals 12.6 / #1 Missouri / 12.5
T/O Margin +7.2 / #2 Houston / 10.4
3FGs P.G. 8.4 / #14 VMI / 12.5
3FG % 39.8 / #18 Columbia / 46.8
Scoring 83.5 / #11 VMI / 90.2
Noting Mizzou's 30-Game Home Winning Streak
> Missouri has won 25-of-30 games by double figure margins.
> Has won 19 of 30 games by 20+ points, 11 games by 30+, six games by 40+ and two games by 50+.
> Own an average margin of victory of 22.2 points per game and is scoring 87.7 points in those 30 wins, while allowing just 65.8 points.
> Has topped 100 points five times and 90 points 12 times.
> Has won 10 consecutive games vs. Big 12 opposition during the run.
> Has defeated three ranked foes (#4 Oklahoma, #10 Kansas State and #16 Kansas).
> Own an average margin of victory of 32.0 points in a pair of Big 12 / Pac-10 Hardwood Series wins against California (93-66) and Oregon (106-69).
> During the streak the Tigers are shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, 39.0 percent from three-point range, are averaging 19.4 assists, 12.6 steals, have just 13.2 turnovers and own a 1.4 assist/turnover margin.
Tigers Surging Into Big 12 Play
Missouri has won nine straight heading into Saturday's game at Oklahoma and many of those wins have come in dominating fashion, outscoring opponents by 22.1 points per game ... Missouri owns seven double-figure wins and is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three-point range during the streak ... In fact Missouri's top four scorers during this surge are all underclassmen, Kim English (16.0), Marcus Denmon (12.4) Laurence Bowers (11.9) and Michael Dixon (9.9).
> Of course long winning streaks are nothing new for Missouri under Mike Anderson ... The Tigers reeled off a pair of seven-game streaks last year and won six consecutive in postseason play, including a Big 12 Tournament crown.
> This current winning streak equals the club's longest under Mike Anderson ... Missouri won nine consecutive to open the 2006-07 campaign at 9-0.
English, Dixon Sweep Big 12 Honors
A pair of Missouri Tigers earned recognition from the Big 12 Conference last week, as sophomore guard Kim English and freshman point guard Michael Dixon were named the league's Player and Newcomer of the Week (respectively) on Dec. 28.
> English led Missouri to two victories over Illinois and Austin Peay, averaging 23.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game ... The 6-foot-6 guard shot 50 percent (8-of-16) from three-point distance and 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the floor.
> Dixon averaged 14.0 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 steals and just 0.5 turnovers in two starts ... The Kansas City native was magnificent in Missouri's win against Illinois, scoring a career high 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting ... He later dropped in 12 points and ripped a career high four steals vs. Austin Peay.
The Future Is Bright For Mizzou
Missouri's freshmen and sophomores are scoring 56.7 points per game for the Tigers this season, which accounts for 68 percent of the team's 83.5 total points per outing and is the top underclassmen scoring total in the Big 12.
> Those 56.7 points becomes incredibly promising since MU is welcoming the nation's #7 overall recruiting class in 2010-11.
> Oklahoma is second in the Big 12 in underclassmen scoring at 54.7 points per game, while the Kansas Jayhawks rank third with 54.3 tallies a night.
With A Tiger Win ...
> Missouri would improve to 15-3 on the season and move to 80-38 all-time under Mike Anderson.
> Overall, Anderson would improve to 169-79 in his eight seasons as a head coach.
> The Tigers would extend their season high winning streak to 10 games, which would also be the longest winning streak of the Mike Anderson era.
> The 10-game streak would be the longest at Missouri since 1993-94.
> Missouri would become the first Big 12 team to win a pair of road games this year and be 3-0 in league action for the first time since 2000-01.
> Anderson would improve to 3-1 all-time vs. Oklahoma and the Tigers would have 18 wins in their last 21 games vs. Big 12 foes.
Congrats To Mizzou's Graduate, Zaire Taylor
Congratulations are in order for senior guard Zaire Taylor ... The Staten Island, N.Y., native graduated Dec. 19 the same day the Tigers took on Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Mizzou Arena ... In fact Missouri Basketball pushed up its normal shoot-around time allowing Taylor to walk across the stage to receive his diploma in Sociology.
Kimmie English has been much more than a scorer for Missouri over the Tigers' current nine-game winning streak ... While he is averaging a team-best 16.0 ppg during the run, he has also provided improved rebounding and defense.
> Defensively, English has multiple steals in seven of the last nine games, including a career high four rips in the win against Fairleigh Dickinson.
> He has also been an improved rebounder, highlighted by his first career double-double vs. Texas Tech, with 20 points and 10 boards.
> Offensively English credits improved shot selection for his elevated scoring totals, as he is shooting 22-of-52 (.423) from three-point range and 48-of-107 (.450) from the floor.
> During this offensive surge English has enjoyed four 20-point efforts and narrowly missed a fourth with 18 points in 25 minutes in the win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff ... Two of those 20-point nights (24 vs. Illinois and 23 vs. Austin Peay) helped English earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors on Dec. 28.