Second-Ranked Tigers Face Road Test in Stillwater

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Ricardo Ratliffe is the reigning Big 12 and Lute Olson National Player of the Week.</i>
Ricardo Ratliffe is the reigning Big 12 and Lute Olson National Player of the Week.

Jan. 24, 2012

#2/2 Mizzou (18-1, 5-1 Big 12) at Oklahoma State (9-10, 2-4 Big 12)

Game Notes - at Oklahoma State Get Acrobat Reader

TIP-OFF: 6:32 p.m. CT.
Arena: Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)
Radio: Tiger Network (Mike Kelly, play-by-play; Gary Link, analysis)
TV: ESPN HD (Jon Sciambi - Play by Play / Sean Farnham - Analyst))
MU: 2/2
Oklahoma State: NR/NR
Series: Mizzou leads, 75-40 (Last meeting: OSU 76, Mizzou 70 in Stillwater, Okla. - Feb. 2, 2011)
Mizzou: Frank Haith (Elon '88), 147-102 overall (8th year) and 18-1 at Mizzou (1st year)
OSU: Travis Ford (Kentucky `94); 264-193 overall (15th) and 74-47 at OSU (4th season)

For Openers...

    > Mizzou, fresh off of one of the biggest wins in college basketball this season, will travel to Oklahoma State to take on the Cowboys on Wednesday (Jan. 25) at 6:30 p.m. ... The game will air live on ESPN2 and will mark the Tigers' second consecutive road game.

    > Mizzou is of course coming off of its first road win over a top-five team since 1994 after defeating No. 3 Baylor in Waco, 89-88, last Saturday. The win improved the Tigers to 18-1 and 5-1 in league play, placing them just a half game back of Kansas in the Big 12 standings ... The win also improves the Tigers to 3-2 all-time in top-five matchups and 2-1 in top-five road showdowns ... The win also snapped a 10-game home winning streak for Baylor.

    > The Tigers' win over Baylor last Saturday moved them to 18-1 on the season, which is the Tigers' best start since the 1981-82 season ... The win also moved the Tigers to 5-1 in Big 12 play, marking the first time that they have been 5-1 in league play since 1999-2000 when they opened league play at 7-1.

    > Of course, it is worth noting that Frank Haith is the first Tiger head coach to win five of his first six Big 12 games since Quin Snyder did so in his first year at the helm of the program in 1999-2000.

    > Mizzou is 75-40 all-time against Oklahoma State, including a 21-28 advantage in Stillwater. Mizzou dropped the last meeting to OSU, a 76-70 decision in Stillwater on Feb. 2 last season. But despite that loss, Mizzou has won three of the last four meetings with the Cowboys.

    > The win over Baylor on Saturday was due in large part to a great effort from Tiger senior Ricardo Ratliffe, who turned in a team-high and career-best 27 points while grabbing eight rebounds with two blocks, all against a Baylor front court that was billed as one of the best in the nation heading into the matchup. Combined Ratliffe's line with his 17-point, six rebound game against Texas A&M last Monday, the Tiger senior earned his first Big 12 Player of the Week award for his efforts last week.

    > A big reason for Ratliffe's Big 12 weekly honor was that he averaged 22.0 points per game on 76.2 percent shooting. Staying on that topic, the Tiger senior leads the nation with a 77.2-percent clip from the floor ... If he keeps at his current rate all season, the senior would obliterate MU's single-season FG% record of 67.6 by Jeff Warren in 1990-91 ...The single season NCAA record for FG percentage in a single season is 74.6-percent by Steve Johnson of Oregon State (1981). Ratliffe is on pace to shatter that record as well.

    > Focusing more on the topic of Ratliffe, the Tiger senior had his worst outing of the season at Kansas State in the Tigers' Big 12 opener at Kansas State where he had just two points and a rebound in 14 minutes of play ... But since that game, Ratliffe has been on a tear, averaging 19.3 ppg, six rebounds while shooting 78-percent from the floor over his last four games. He has also improved his free throw shooting in that span as he connected on 12-of-15 foul shots (80-percent) last week, despite coming into the week as just a 58-percent shooter from the charity stripe this season.

    > Overall, Missouri leads the Big 12 in nine different statistical categories: scoring offense (83.4), scoring margin (+19.8), free throw percentage (.771), field goal percentage (.509), assists (16.58), steals (9.16) turnover margin (+5.2), assist-turnover ratio (1.58), and rebounding defense (31.1).

Mizzou Quick Hitters

    > Mizzou moved up to No. 2 in this week's national rankings in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, marking the Tigers' highest ranking since 2001-02 when the team was ranked second in weeks four and five that year ... Also, the No. 2 ranking marks the highest that the Tigers have been ranked this late in the season since the 1989-90 season, when the team also checked in at No. 2 nationally in week 12.

    > Staying on the topic of national rankings, Mizzou picked up its fourth win over teams that were either ranked or receiving votes when it defeated No. 3 Baylor on Saturday. Mizzou's other wins over ranked opponents came against Cal (No. 18) and Notre Dame (rv) at the CBE and in the Braggin' Rights game over Illinois (No. 24).

    > Another key reason for the Tigers' win at Baylor was the play of sophomore point guard Phil Pressey, who filled up the stat sheet at Baylor ... In fact, he had 16 points, seven assists, a career-best six steals and five rebounds in the game ... The big numbers for Pressey are his assists as he continues to lead the Big 12 in assists per game at 6.00 .... No Tiger has ever led the Big 12 in assists per game in a season, but Pressey has a chance to do that this season. Already in his career, Pressey has 231 assists in 49 games, which is the second-most for any Tiger in his first two seasons and he has at least 13 games remaining this season.

    > In fact, Pressey is on pace to break the Mizzou single season record of 179, set by Anthony Peeler in 1990. If Pressey were to continue his current pace of six assists per game, he would need just 11 more games to break reset the record. The Tigers currently have 13 regular season games remaining before the Big 12 Tournament, so Pressey could be the all-time single season assist leader at Mizzou before the start of postseason play.

    > Senior guard Marcus Denmon was named one of 25 finalists for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year Award as the foundation announced its midseason list of 25 last Tuesday (Jan. 17). Denmon leads the Tigers with 17.7 ppg and is second on the team in rebounding at 5.4 while boasting an assist-turnover ratio of 2.5 with 50 assists and just 20 turnovers.

    > Those numbers place Denmon as one of the best rebounding guards in the nation. He posted his first career double-double against Texas on Jan. 14 and is the shortest player in the Big 12 that is currently ranked among the league's top 20 rebounders. > Over the last two games, Mizzou has shot 62 free throws as is has shown a great ability to get to the line. In fact, Mizzou attempted 31 free throws in each of those two games, marking the first time since Jan. 13, 2010, that they it has attempted 30 free throws in back-to-back games.

    > The Tigers currently rank second nationally in field goal percentage at 50.9 percent, trailing only Creighton (51.4) ... The team also leads the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.58), is fourth in scoring offense (83.4), sixth in turnovers per game (10.5), and fifth in free throw percentage (.771).

    > Sophomore Phil Pressey had a great game against Texas on Jan. 14 as he tallied his second career point-assist double-double with 18 points, 10 assists and no turnovers. It was his fourth game this season with 10 or more assists, marking the first Tiger to do that in a season since Scott Sims in 1976-77. In games in which Pressey has more than 10 assists, he also has committed a miniscule five turnovers, boasting an assist-turnover ratio of 8.6 in those four contests. Mizzou is averaging nearly 90 points per game in those contests as well.

    > Sophomore point guard Phil Pressey became just the third Tiger to post more than one career point-assist double-double on Jan. 14 with his 18-point, 10-assist performance against Texas. The only other Tigers to post more than one point-assist double-double are Scott Sims (four from 1976-77) and Stefhon Hannah (two from 2006-08).

    > Senior Kim English ranks sixth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage among players with 2.0 makes per game at 50.5-percent.

    > Additionally, senior Marcus Denmon ranks seventh nationally in free throw percentage at 90.8 percent, while junior Michael Dixon comes in a eighth nationally at 90.7 percent ... The duo make up the best one-two charity stripe punch in the nation, as they are the only pair of teammates ranked in the top 10.

    > Junior Mike Dixon has been arguably the nation's top sixth man this season as he is averaging 12.2 points per game and 2.7 assists per contest off the bench ... His 12.2 ppg average this season is first among Big 12 players with no starts this year ... In fact, he ranks among the nation's top sixth men as his 12.2 ppg rank third among other notable sixth men - BJ Young of Arkansas (14.7 ppg) and Dion Waiters of Syracuse (13.0 ppg). > Mizzou's starting backcourt (Marcus Denmon, Phil Pressey, Matt Pressey) is averaging a combined 12.7 rebounds per game this season. That backcourt does not include senior guard Kim English, who technically plays the No. 4 spot on the floor in the four-guard lineup. He averages 4.5 boards per game as Mizzou continues to have a positive rebounding margin despite running a four-guard rotation.

    > Although the Tigers have won 14 games by 10 or more points this season, the team has been strong in close games. In MU's four games decided by nine or less points, the Tigers scored on 21 of their 22 total final possessions to pull away with wins in all four games. Mizzou closed out the Baylor game on Saturday by connecting on 10-of-12 free throws in the final minute.

    > The Tiger offense has been incredibly balanced in the last eight games, as six different Tigers have led the team in scoring ... Denmon paced the Tigers against Old Dominion (19) and Kansas State (17), English against Oklahoma (23), Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey against Illinois (18), Matt Pressey against Iowa State (14), Ricardo Ratliffe (21) against Texas and 27 at Baylor, and Dixon again against Texas A&M Monday. In those eight games, five players area averaging 11.6 ppg or better while a sixth, Matt Pressey, checks in at 8.0 ppg.

    > Senior Marcus Denmon ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring at a 17.7 clip per contest ... The guard also is second in the conference in free throw percentage (.908) and 3-point field goals made (2.74 per game), is fifth in shooting (.473) and is eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.403) and sixth in steals (1.5).

    > Mizzou dished 20 assists in back-to-back wins at Iowa State and at home against Texas and then dished 18 at Baylor on Saturday. Mizzou has now dished 20 assists in six games this season - the Tigers surpassed 20 assists just six times all of last season and did not do it once in Big 12 play. The Tigers have done it twice in Big 12 play this season. Before the back-to-back 20-assist games over those two games, Mizzou had not posted 20 assists against a Big 12 team since Feb. 6, 2010, against Colorado. That spanned 29 league games.

    > Sixth man Michael Dixon combines with Phil Pressey to give the Tigers arguably the best 1-2 punch at point guard in the nation. The tandem averages a combined 22.3 ppg and 8.7 assists per game with an assist-to-turnover margin of 2.3 with a combined 72 steals.

    > Staying on that topic of steals vs. turnovers, Mizzou is second nationally with a steal-turnover margin of 0.87, trailing only Syracuse in that department. The Tigers have 174 steals and 200 turnovers, the latter of which gives MU just 10.5 turnovers per game, ranking seventh nationally. Mizzou is 13th nationally in steals per game at 9.16.

    > Mizzou has been amazingly efficient this season, averaging 1.16 points per field goal attempt this season, a Big 12-best by a wide margin ... Ricardo Ratliffe leads the team in that category as he is averaging 1.54 points per field goal attempt, while English averages 1.30 and Denmon 1.18. Mizzou's efficiency can also be tracked in its turnover margin as it averages more than five fewer turnovers than its opponents this season.

    > Despite running a four-guard lineup, Mizzou still leads its opponents in rebounding margin this season as the Tigers have adopted a team approach to crashing the glass. Ricardo Ratliffe leads the team with 6.8 per contest while Marcus Denmon is second on the team with 5.4.

    > A key stat for the Tigers this year is that they own a +3 edge on the glass despite running a four-guard lineup. That is in large part due to MU leading the Big 12 in rebounding defense (31.1) with a 29.5 mark in Big 12 play.

    > The Tigers have shot at least 80 percent from the foul line in 10 games this season ... All of last season the team hit that mark just 11 times in 34 games. > Mizzou's win over Old Dominion on Dec. 30 gave the Tigers an unblemished 13-0 non-conference record ... It marks only the second time in program history that the team had an undefeated non-conference mark, joining the 1972-73 squad.

    > Missouri finished the home non-conference schedule with an unblemished record for the sixth straight season ... The Tigers were 8-0 this year, 10-0 in 2010-11, 9-0 in 2009-10, 10-0 in 2008-09, 9-0 in 2007-08 and 11-0 in 2006-07.

    > Seniors Marcus Denmon and Kim English continue to move up Missouri's all-time scoring list ... Denmon now has 1,493 in his career, which puts him 12th all-time at Mizzou ... Denmon needs 91 more points to tie Kareem Rush for 11th all-time ... English stands at 1,336 points, good for 20th place ... He needs two more points to tie Charles Henke for 19th.

    > This year's seniors mark the winningest class in Missouri Basketball program history...Heading into the year, the class' 77 wins over the last three-plus seasons mark the most in a three-year stretch at Mizzou...The Tiger clubs from 1980-83 and 1988-91 won 75 games over a three-year stretch ... The class now has a record of 95-28.

    > Mizzou's senior class is also a remarkable 62-3 at Mizzou Arena in their three plus years as Tigers.

    > The Tigers recorded 23+ wins in each of the last three campaigns for the first time in program history...Mizzou won 31 games in 2008-09 and went 23-11 in 2009-10 and 2010-11.



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