No. 2 Tigers Return Home to Face Texas Tech

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Frank Haith and the Tigers are 18-2 on the season.</i>
Frank Haith and the Tigers are 18-2 on the season.

Jan. 26, 2012

#2/2 Mizzou (18-2, 5-2 Big 12) vs. Texas Tech (7-12, 0-7 Big 12)

Game Notes - vs. Texas Tech Get Acrobat Reader

TIP-OFF: 12:47 p.m. CT.
Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
Radio: Tiger Network (Mike Kelly, play-by-play; Gary Link, analysis)
TV: Big 12 (Dave Armstrong - Play by Play / Jon Sundvold - Analyst)
MU: 2/2
Texas Tech: NR/NR
Series: Mizzou leads 13-8 (Last meeting: MU 88, TTU 84 in Kansas City, Mo. - March 9, 2011)
Mizzou: Frank Haith (Elon '88), 147-103 overall (8th year) and 18-1 at Mizzou (1st year)
Texas Tech: Billy Gillispie (Texas State `83); 147-96 overall (8th) and 7-12 at TTU (1st season)

For Openers...

    > Mizzou will look to rebound from just its second loss of the 2011-12 campaign as it hosts Texas Tech (7-12, 0-7 Big 12) at Mizzou Arena on Saturday (Jan. 28) for a 12:30 p.m. tip.

    > Last time out, Mizzou dropped a tough road game at Oklahoma State as the Tigers could not overcome 27 points from OSU freshman Le'Bryan Nash. It marked just the Tigers' second loss of the season, with both losses coming on the road in Big 12 play. Despite the loss, the Tigers are still off to their best start since they opened the 1989-90 season 21-1.

    > Against Oklahoma State, senior big man Ricardo Ratliffe had 25 points to lead the Tigers, marking his second-consecutive game scoring at least 25 points. In fact, the reigning Big 12 and Lute Olson National Player of the Week has been on a tear since a sub-par outing at Kansas State, as he is averaging 20.4 points and 7.6 boards, while shooting 72-percent from the floor. He also posted his third double-double of the season (eighth career) with 12 boards to his total at Oklahoma State.

    > It is worth noting that Ratliffe continues to lead the nation in field goal percentage with a .754 clip, a mark that is ahead of the all-time NCAA single season record for field goal percentage. The current record is held by Oregon State's Steve Johnson (74.6) back in 1981. Ratliffe had one of his worst shooting performances of the season (10-of-17, 59 percent) on Wednesday at OSU and still put up 25 points and is still on pace to break Johnson's NCAA record.

    > Ratliffe has also posted 10 or more field goals in four games this season, three of them coming in the last four total games, including two straight games. Ratliffe has also seen an improvement from the line lately as he is shooting 19-of-23 (83 percent) from the stripe in conference play, despite shooting just 19-of-33 (58 percent) in non-conference games.

    > Mizzou is still ranked No. 2 nationally despite its loss at Oklahoma State on Wednesday. The No. 2 national ranking in the ESPN/USA Today poll is the best for the Tigers since the poll began ranking teams in 1992 while its No. 2 rank in the AP poll marks the best for the Tigers since the 2001-02 season. Mizzou has not been ranked this high at this point of the season (week 12) since 1989-90. That year, Mizzou won the Big Eight title.

    > Heading into Saturday's meeting with Texas Tech, the Tigers lead the all-time series with the Red Raiders, 13-8 and have won the previous five meetings dating back to 2007 (with two of those meetings coming in the Big 12 Tournament). In Columbia, the Tigers hold a 7-2 lead in the all-time series as Tech's last win at Mizzou came on Jan. 19, 2005, in a 78-62 decision.

    > Saturday's game with the Red Raiders marks the third in a span in which the Tigers will play four games in nine days. Beginning with the Tigers' road win at No. 5 Baylor Saturday on Jan. 21, Mizzou also played on Jan. 25 (at Oklahoma State), is home on Jan. 28 (Texas Tech) and travels to Austin, Texas, on Jan. 30 (at Texas). Mizzou's game with Tech on Saturday is the only home game the Tigers have in that span.

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

    > Mizzou shot 16-of-18 from the foul line in its loss to Oklahoma State on Wednesday as the Tigers continue to shoot well from the charity stripe this season. In fact, Mizzou has shot better than 80-percent from the line 11 times this season and better than 70-percent in 16 of 20 games. As a team, Mizzou is shooting .776 on the season, ranking first in the Big 12 and fifth nationally.

    > Individually, a pair of Tigers are shooting better than 90 percent on the season as Michael Dixon leads the team (.907), with Marcus Denmon (.905) right on his heels.

    > Speaking of shooting, the Tigers - despite shooting just 40 percent from the floor at Oklahoma State - still rank third nationally with their .503 clip on the season. Additionally, the Tigers rank second in assist-turnover margin (1.54), fourth in scoring (82.9), seventh in turnovers per game (10.50) and fifth in free throw shooting (.776).

    > It is of course worth noting that Mizzou's win at No. 3 Baylor was its first win over at top-five team on the road since 1994 when the 12th-ranked Tigers knocked off fifth-ranked KU in Lawrence that year.

    > Mizzou picked up its fourth win over teams that were either ranked or receiving votes when it defeated No. 3 Baylor last 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).

    > A key reason for the Tigers' win at Baylor was the play of sophomore point guard Phil Pressey, who filled up the stat sheet ... 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 ranks second in the Big 12 with 5.8 apg this season, just behind Baylor's Pierre Jackson .... 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 233 assists in 50 games, which is the second-most for any Tiger in his first two seasons, with at least 12 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 nearly six assists per game, he would need just 10 more games to break reset the record. The Tigers currently have 12 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 5.3 while boasting an assist-turnover ratio of 2.2 with 51 assists and just 23 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 (18th at 5.3 rpg).

    > 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 10th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage among players with 2.0 makes per game at 48.9-percent.

    > Junior Mike Dixon has been arguably the nation's top sixth man this season as he is averaging 11.8 points per game and 2.7 assists per contest off the bench ... His 11.2 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 11.8 ppg rank third among other notable sixth men - BJ Young of Arkansas (14.6 ppg) and Dion Waiters of Syracuse (12.5 ppg). > Mizzou's starting backcourt (Marcus Denmon, Phil Pressey, Matt Pressey) is averaging a combined 12.6 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 wins 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 last Saturday by connecting on 10-of-12 free throws in the final minute.

    > Senior Marcus Denmon ranks third in the Big 12 Conference in scoring at a 17.7 clip per contest ... The guard also is third in the conference in free throw percentage (.907) and second in 3-point field goals made (2.70 per game), is fifth in steals (1.5), and is ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (.394) and shooting (.461).

    > Mizzou dished 20 assists in back-to-back wins at Iowa State and at home against Texas and then dished 18 at Baylor. 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 21.9 ppg and 8.5 assists per game with an assist-to-turnover margin of 2.23 with a combined 76 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 12th nationally in steals per game at 9.16.

    > Mizzou has been amazingly efficient this season, averaging 1.15 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 1.51 points per field goal attempt, while English averages 1.30 and Denmon 1.15. 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 7.1 per contest while Marcus Denmon is second on the team with 5.3. 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 29.9 mark in Big 12 play.

    > 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 1,510 in his career, which puts him 12th all-time at Mizzou ... Denmon needs 74 more points to tie Kareem Rush for 11th all-time ... English stands at 1,344 points, good for 19th place ... He needs three more points to tie Charles Henke for 18th.

    > 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.

    > 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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