MUTIGERS.com
No. 10 Mizzou Travels To Colorado

MUTIGERS.COM J.T. Tiller and Missouri travel to Colorado this weekend.
MUTIGERS.COM
J.T. Tiller and Missouri travel to Colorado this weekend.
MUTIGERS.COM

Feb. 19, 2009

Columbia, Mo. -

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Mizzou Basketball News and Notes 2008-09

University of Missouri Tigers (22-4, 9-2) at

University of Colorado Buffaloes (9-16, 1-10)

2008-09 Regular Season Game 27 - February 21, 2009 - Boulder, Colo.

 

Tip-off: 12:47 p.m. CST

Arena: Coors Event Center - Boulder, Colo. (11,064)

TV: Big 12 Network - (Dave Armstrong play-by-play; Bryndon Manzer analyst)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst)

Rankings: Mizzou: 11/10, Colorado: NR/NR in Associated Press / USA Today Coaches polls

Series: Missouri leads 95-52 overall; in Boulder the Buffaloes lead 33-28

Coaches:

Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa ’82); 145-73 overall (7th season); 56-32 at Mizzou (3rd)

Colorado: Jeff Bzdelik (Illinois-Chicago ‘76) 96-83 overall (6th season); 21-36 at Colorado (2nd)

 

For Openers

> Missouri Basketball goes searching for its 10th league win on Saturday as it travels to Boulder, Colo., to face an improving CU bunch that has been tough at home all season long ... The Tigers are looking for their sixth consecutive Big 12 win and 10th league win over the last 11 games ... A 10th league win would be a big one for Missouri since the Tigers haven’t won 10 games in Big 12 play since 1999-2000 ... A sixth consecutive league win would be the second longest Big 12 winning streak in school history which dates back to that 1999-2000 campaign.

> It certainly has been quite the turnaround for Missouri Basketball this year, as the Tigers have already improved six games from last season’s 16-16 record ... The six-win improvement equals Missouri’s best under third-year head coach Mike Anderson and is the best in the Big 12 this season, despite the Tigers being projected seventh in the preseason standings ... The Tigers went from 12 wins in 2005-06 to 18 wins in his first season of 2006-07 ... The six-win improvement is the most at MU since 1993-94, when the Tigers went from 19 wins in 1992-93, to 28 wins the next year.

> Missouri has made quite a jump in the Top 25 rankings this past week ... MU went from being unranked before the polls were released on Feb. 9 to No. 11 in the Associated Press Poll / No. 10 in the Coaches on Feb. 16 ... Mizzou hasn’t been ranked this high in the 14th week of the season since the 1993-94 campaign.

> Missouri will try to pick up another quality road win to enhance its postseason resume ... The Tigers are 5-2 vs. the RPI Top 50 this year, including RPI Top 50 road wins at Oklahoma State and No. 16 Texas ... The club is also 3-0 vs. ranked teams this year, defeating No. 19 USC in Puerto Rico and No. 16 Kansas and No. 16 Texas.

> Missouri is off to a 9-2 start in Big 12 play, which is its best start EVER in Big 12 action ... In addition, Missouri now owns its 21st 20-win season in school history ... It’s Missouri’s first 20-win campaign since 2002-03 ... 20-win seasons are nothing new for Head Coach Mike Anderson however ... Anderson led UAB to four consecutive 20-win years.

> 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 82.8 ppg, No. 2 in assists per game at 19.2, No. 2 in steals per game at 10.8, No. 3 nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 1.5 and No. 2 in scoring margin at 17.3 ... Another fun stat: Missouri is No. 6 nationally with 63.3 FG attempts per game and the Tigers have already made 188 more FGs than their opponents through 26 games thanks to the nation’s No. 2-ranked turnover margin (+6.9).

 

Mizzou Quick-Hitters

> Missouri Basketball enjoyed its lone “bye” week in Big 12 action and returns to face Colorado this Saturday in Boulder.

> Mizzou’s 9-2 start in Big 12 play is its best in school history ...  The Tigers had previously started 7-2 in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 ... The last time Missouri started 9-2 or better in league play was the undefeated Big Eight Championship year of 1993-94.

> The Tigers are off to their best start overall (22-4) since that 1993-94 season as well ... A win on Saturday would push Missouri’s record to 23-4 and MU’s current total of 22 wins is its winningest season under Mike Anderson.

> In fact, Mike Anderson’s .636 winning percentage through three seasons (thus far) makes him the winningest coach in Missouri history during that “first three year stretch” ... Quin Snyder is second with a .620 winning clip through his first-three years.

> While Missouri sports a 17-game home court winning streak, the Tigers have been solid on the road this year as well ... Mizzou has won three of its last four road games, including back-to-back road wins at Texas and Iowa State.

> A huge factor in those wins was defense and this season Missouri has 280 steals through 26 games ... Last season the Tigers had 259 steals in 32 games ... Missouri needs just 23 more steals to break the school record.

> In fact, Missouri is averaging 10.8 steals per game which is the second most in Big 12 history behind the 10.9 Nebraska averaged in 1998-99.

> Once Missouri reaches the 300 steal mark this season, it will be the first Tiger team in school history to have 500 assists, 300 steals and 100 blocked shots.

> As you can tell, the Tigers have been a much-improved offensive team at home this year ... In running their record to 16-0 (this season), the Tigers are averaging 87.4 points and shooting 49.0 percent from the floor and 38.0 percent from three-point range.

> A huge key for the Tigers continues to be the play of their bench ... On the season, Missouri’s reserves are averaging 30.1 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 22.5 points.

> With those great bench-scoring totals, the Tigers have had a school-record 11 different players reach double figures this season, surpassing the 10 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 has 10 different players averaging nearly 10 minutes a game on the year, including five newcomers.

> Sticking with the balance theme, Missouri has had a school-record tying 10 different players dish out at least 20 assists this season ... 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 11 times already this season and have had six players do it three in the same game, including twice in Big 12 play vs. Colorado and Oklahoma State.

> A major reason for Mizzou’s large scoring totals is because the club has taken 185 more field goal attempts than its opponents this season and has made 188 more FG’s ... Mizzou made 119 more FG’s than its opponents throughout the entire 2007-08 season, so 188 more FGs through just 26 games is a HUGE differential.

> With that scoring surge, Missouri has topped the 80-point plateau 16 times in 26 games this season and is 16-0 on the year when scoring at least 80 points ... Missouri has topped 80 points 40 times in the Mike Anderson era (87 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 is forcing 19.5 turnovers per game and is averaging 22.9 points off those opponent miscues each night.

> Missouri is scoring an impressive 30 percent of its points this season off turnovers (22.9-of-82.8).

> Another impressive stat regarding Missouri’s defense is that the Tigers force a turnover on 27 percent of their defensive possessions ... That means opponents are turning it over a little more than  once every four possessions vs. the Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball.

> It’s only February, but ESPN Bracketology guru Joe Lunardi has Missouri “in” the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed ... Lunardi has the Tigers facing No. 14-seeded American in Boise.

 

Tiger Tidbits (Individual Notes)

> Senior forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons were named Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention picks prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.

> Carroll is the only player in the Big 12 to rank among the Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and steals and he was named a Mid-Season First Team All-Big 12 pick by ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla.

> In league play Carroll is all the way up to third in scoring average at 18.0 points per game, thanks to a career high 31 tallies at Iowa State on Feb. 7 and a 21.1 ppg scoring average over his last eight outings.

> The 31 points were the most on the road in a Big 12 game for a Tiger since Clarence Gilbert poured in 40 at Colorado in 2002.

> Carroll also joined Leo Lyons as 30-point scorers this season ... The last Tiger teammates to drop 30 in the same season were Arthur Johnson and Rickey Paulding in 2003-04.

> The last time Missouri had two forwards score 30+ points in the same season was 1984-85 when Derrick Chievous scored 32 vs. Arizona in Hawaii and Malcolm Thomas dropped in 33 vs. Oklahoma at home.

> Carroll narrowly missed yet another double-double in Ames with nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks in 31 minutes for an outstanding all-around contest.

> The forward has topped 20 points in four of his last seven outings, including 21.8 ppg in his last four home games.

> Carroll topped the 1,000-point plateau vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and now has 1,326 career tallies at the Division I level, 460 of which came during his first two seasons at Vanderbilt ... Lyons has 1,050 career points and became the 38th member of Missouri’s 1,000-point club following his career high 30-point night vs. Baylor.

> Carroll has reached double figures in 23-of-26 games this season and either Carroll or Lyons have led Mizzou in scoring 20 times this year.

> Carroll has three double-doubles on the year following his 13-point, 11-rebound effort vs. Colorado.

> Carroll has nine other games this season with either eight or nine rebounds, so he’s narrowly missed on a number of other double-doubles opportunities.

> Carroll has been especially active on the boards in Big 12 play, where he is averaging 7.3 rebounds a contest.

> The Junk Yard Dog also leads all Big 12 forwards with 43 steals thanks to a career high five thefts vs. Coppin State ... Carroll also ranks among the Big 12’s leaders in scoring (6th), steals (6th), field goal percentage (3rd) and rebounding (8th).

> Over his last 28 regular-season games Leo Lyons has seven 20-point outings and has reached double figures in 25-of-28 contests.

> Lyons has actually reached double figures in 13 of his last 14 Big 12 regular-season games.

> The Kansas City, Kan., native enjoyed a memorable night vs. Baylor, as he hit 8-of-11 field goals and 14-of-15 free throws en route to a career high 30 points.

> Lyons became the first Tiger to top 30 points since former teammate Thomas Gardner dropped in 40 against Kansas in 2005-06 on ESPN Big Monday.

> Matt Lawrence is starting to heat up from the perimeter and has hit multiple three-pointers in 13 of his last 21 outings.

> In fact, over his last 13 games Lawrence is shooting 47.2 percent from bonus distance, hitting 34-of-72 treys.

> The news gets even better for Lawrence at home, where he is shooting nearly 47 percent (22-of-48) over his last nine home contests.

> Lawrence has also been shooting it well away from home recently, as the 6-foot-7 sniper is 14-of-24 (.583) from bonus distance in his last three road games at Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas.

> The St. Louis native is already No. 3 in career three-point makes at MU with 218.

> Despite being a prolific shooter, Lawrence has 25 steals, 24 assists and just eight turnovers on the season.

> Zaire Taylor is Mr. Clutch for the Tigers, with game-winners at No. 16 Texas on Feb. 4 and the game-winner vs. No. 16 Kansas on Feb. 9.

> Taylor hit a driving lay-up at UT and was fouled with 5.5 seconds left and his 10-foot jumper with 1.3 seconds left lifted MU to a 62-60 win over Kansas and was the No. 1 play on ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Day.

> 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.

> So far this season the Staten Island, N.Y., native has 90 assists and just 33 turnovers ... His 2.7-to-1 assist/turnover ratio ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 14 nationally.

> Since Big 12 play began, Taylor has dished 43 dimes and has just 16 turnovers (2.7-to-1).

> Despite being an active point guard, Taylor has a positive assist/turnover ratio in 23-of-26 games this year and has 5+ assists 10 times on the season, including a season high seven assists at Kansas State.

> Taylor enjoyed a season-high tying 17 points in that win at No. 16 Texas ... The Staten Island, N.Y. product also scored 17 points in the win at Georgia and helped lead Mizzou to the home win over Iowa State by scoring 15 points and grabbing five boards.

> He continued his offensive exploits with 10 points at Oklahoma State in a win.

> Junior guard J.T. Tiller is a strong candidate for the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year and was named to Fran Fraschilla’s Big 12 All-Defensive Team.

> Tiller was also named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the Austin American-Statesman.

> Tiller is relentless on defense and turned in one of the great defensive efforts this season vs. Baylor, when he helped hold Curtis Jerrells to a then-season low five points and nine turnovers ... Jerrells entered the game leading the Bears in scoring at 17.4 ppg ... He also helped hold Texas All-American candidate A.J. Abrams to just 11 points and held Kansas’ Sherron Collins to just nine points and six turnovers, nine points below his season average (18.0 ppg).

> Over his last five games Tiller has 27 assists and just five turnovers.

> Tiller is one of Mizzou’s most well-rounded players and recorded a then-career high six steals vs. Xavier ... The six thefts tied a tournament record and is No. 7 in Missouri single-game school history.

> Tiller later moved to No. 2 on that list with seven steals vs. Texas Tech, which equals Rickey Paulding for the most ever by a Tiger in a Big 12 game.

> Tiller has had multiple steals in 14-of-26 games and is second in the Big 12 with 2.0 steals a night.

> Of Tiller’s 20 career double-figure scoring games, 11 have come either on the road or on a neutral-court site, including 4-of-6 road games this season, counting a season high 15 points and seven rebounds at Oklahoma State and 10 points and five assists at Texas.

> 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 scored a career high 13 points in the win over Colorado and has reached double figures twice this season.

> Freshman guard Marcus Denmon 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.

> His 16 points vs. Iowa State was a career high for the KC native and he followed that up with 14 tallies in the win over Texas Tech, 11 of which came in the final 20 minutes.

> 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.

> The dedication is paying off for English, who has started seven consecutive games and scored a career high 16 points vs. California in the Tiger’s big win, before chipping in 16 more on Saturday in the win at Iowa State.

> English has now reached double figures three times in Big 12 play, including those 16 tallies at Iowa State where he tossed in 4-of-5 treys, while adding four assists.

> In fact, English’s hot streak started weeks ago ... Over his last 20 games the Baltimore native is 28-of-66 (.425) from bonus distance.

> Junior Keith Ramsey has played improved basketball over the past few weeks, especially on the defensive end en route to earning five starts in league play.

> The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native has blocked at least one shot in 14 of his last 18 games and has 17 blocks in his last 13 contests overall.

> Ramsey provided Missouri with a huge lift off the bench vs. Nebraska, blocking three shots vs. the Cornhuskers, while grabbing four boards and coming up with a steal.

> Ramsey scored 10 points vs. Iowa State, which included 2-of-2 shooting from three-point range, before registering a career high 12 tallies at Oklahoma State.

> For his efforts against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, Ramsey was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Week on Jan. 26.

> Ramsey ignited Missouri’s road win at Georgia, with a pair of blocked shots, two assists, two steals and four points.

> Laurence Bowers, another of Missouri’s exciting freshmen, is making steady progress and scored a career high 16 points in the win over Colorado.

> Bowers hit a Missouri season-best 7-of-8 field goals, while dishing two assists, ripping two steals and blocking a shot.

> Bowers leads Missouri in dunks this season (7), including a pair of alley-oop slams vs. Coppin State ... 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 Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado (9-16, 1-10 Big 12) has been the hard-luck team of the Big 12 Conference this season, as the improving Buffaloes have lost a pair of overtime games and six other contests decided by eight points or less in league action alone ... CU recently played Nebraska to the wire on Wednesday, before falling 46-41 in Lincoln ... Cory Higgins led the Buffaloes in that contest with 12 points and continues to pace Colorado in scoring this year at 17.6 points a game ... Higgins is shooting 49 percent from the floor and is one of the Big 12’s best free throw shooters at 86 percent this season ... Dwight Thorne II is second on the team at 13.0 points a game, while talented freshmen Austin Dufault (8.9) and Nate Tomlinson (7.7) round out CU’s top scoring threats.

Anderson’s Tigers Have Broken Streaks

> The 2008-09 Tigers are the first to be ranked in the Top 25 since the 2003-04 team.

> Are the first to be ranked in the Top 10 the 14th week of the season or later since 1993-94.

> Are the first to win at Texas since the 1998-99 team.

> Are the first to win back-to-back games in Stillwater since the 1988 team.

> Are the first to defeat ranked teams at home, on the road and on a neutral court since the 2001-02 team.

> Are the first to win 20 games since the 2002-03 team.

> Are the first to finish at least .500 in the Big 12 since 2003-04 team.

> Are the first to win on the road at an SEC school since the 1989-90 team.

> Are the first Missouri team ever to start 9-2 in Big 12 play.

> Are the first to start 4-0 vs. the Big 12 “South”.

> Are the first to sweep Iowa State since the 1998-99 season.

> Are the first ever to play as and defeat a ranked team inside Mizzou Arena.

 

Tigers Among Biggest Turnarounds Among Big Six Conferences

Head Coach Mike Anderson has directed one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball this season ... Although five games still remain in the 2008-09 regular season, the Tigers have improved six games (from 16 to 22) on their 2007-08 win total, which makes this year’s club the fourth biggest turnaround in college hoops this season.

 

                                               07-08 08-09

     Team               Conf.       Wins   Wins   Inc.

1.  LSU                   SEC          13        22        9

2.  Illinois                Big Ten     13        21        8

3. Michigan           Big Ten     9          16        7

4. Missouri         Big 12      16        22        6

     Bost. College    ACC         13        19        6

     Northwestern   Big Ten     8          14        6

7.  Oregon St.        Pac-10     6          11        5

     S. Carolina        SEC          13        18        5

9. Oklahoma          Big 12       21        25        4

     Cincinnati          Big East    13        17        4

     California          Pac-10     15        19        4

 

Second Half Surges Leading Ole Mizzou

Missouri is earning recognition as being one of the country’s best second-half clubs due to their style of play and over the last five contests, Missouri is outscoring teams 45.0-to-31.8 over the final 20 minutes of games.

> In the second period Missouri is holding opponents to just 40.6 percent shooting from the floor and a paltry 22.4 percent from three-point range.

> The Tigers are also enjoying an incredible 2.5-to-1 assist/turnover ratio in the second half during that stretch, while creating 10.4 turnovers in the second period alone.

 

 

 

Defend The Rim

Missouri’s incredible steal and turnover totals make most of the defensive headlines, but did you know that the 2008-09 Tigers have the most blocked shots since the 2003-04 club, which was led by Arthur Johnson and Travon Bryant?

> Missouri has 106 “swats” this season, which is the ninth most in school history and the Tigers need just 22 more blocked shots this season to move into the single-season Top 5 ... Keith Ramsey (25), DeMarre Carroll (20) and Leo Lyons (18) lead the way, but 10 different Tigers have multiple blocks this year.

 

Tiller, Carroll Earn Early Fraschilla Awards

J.T. Tiller and DeMarre Carroll received some nice mid-season props from ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla, as Tiller was named to his Big 12 All-Defensive Team and Carroll was named an All-Big 12 First Team pick.

> Carroll has been dominating in Big 12 action, leading the Tigers with 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds through 11 league games ... The forward scored a career high 31 points at Iowa State and has scored 22 point or more in four of his last seven outings.

> Tiller has been a devastating defender all year and has held Kansas’ Sherron Collins, Texas’ A.J. Abrams and Baylor’s Curtis Jerrells a combined 27.3 points below their scoring average in three games.

 

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 was named to Fran Fraschilla’s Mid-Season All-Big 12 First Team after averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds this season.

> The Birmingham, Ala., native has reached double figures in 23-of-26 games this season, including a career high 31 points in a key Big 12 road win at Iowa State, 29 points and 11 rebounds vs. No. 19 USC, 27 points in a win over Texas Tech and 25 in the win against Baylor.

> J.Y.D. also ranks ninth in the Big 12 with three double-doubles, including a 13-point, 11-rebound effort vs. Colorado.

> Carroll is one of the Big 12’s most well-rounded players, ranking No. 6 in scoring, No. 8 in rebounding, No. 3 in field goal percentage (.576), No. 7 in steals (1.7) and No. 6 in offensive rebounding (2.5) ... 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 Earning Mentions As Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year

There are a number of great defensive players in the Big 12 this season, but junior guard J.T. Tiller has earned national mention as the Big 12’s top defender following some outstanding defensive efforts against some of the league’s top perimeter players.

> Statistically, Tiller ranks second in the Big 12 with 2.0 steals per game, but also averages close to five deflections a night thanks to his relentless ball pressure ... He has also shut down some outstanding offensive talents:

 

Curtis Jerrells, Baylor       17.4 PPG

5 pts, 9 turnovers, 2-10 FGs

A.J. Abrams, Texas           16.9 PPG

11 pts, 4-9 FGs

Sherron Collins, Kansas   18.0 PPG

9 pts, 6 turnovers, 4-13 FGs

Steve Harley, Nebraska    11.5 PPG

0 pts, 2 turnovers, 0-4 FGs

 

20-Something Tigers

Missouri returned to the 20-win category thanks to its 82-68 win at Iowa State ... Missouri now has 21, 20-win seasons in school history and this 22-4 start makes it MU’s first 20-win campaign since the 2002-03 season.

> The 20 wins mark the fifth 20-win campaign for Head Coach Mike Anderson ... Anderson led UAB to four consecutive 20-win seasons at the start of his head coaching career before coming to Mizzou.

 

Stealing Away The Wins

Missouri is forcing an incredible 19.8 turnovers per game over its last 10 outings (9-1) and is logging 10.5 steals a night ... The Tigers forced a season high 29 turnovers in the win against Texas Tech and produced a season-best 20 steals en route to the 97-86 win ... The 20 steals were the second most in school history and J.T. Tiller’s seven steals vs. the Red Raiders were the second highest single-game total in school annals.

> Missouri also forced 27 turnovers against No. 16 Kansas and needed each one of those to grind out a hard-fought 62-60 win vs. the Jayhawks.

> The Tigers recorded 13 steals in the Kansas win, after enjoyed 20 thefts against Texas Tech and 12 vs. both Colorado and Oklahoma State.

 

Lyons Enters February Like a Lion

Leo Lyons returned to the starting lineup in Missouri’s 89-72 win against Baylor and scored a career high 30 points thanks to a 14-of-15 shooting night at the foul line and 8-of-11 shooting from the floor.

> Although he has reached double figures in nine of his 10 Big 12 games this season, Lyons had yet to score more than 13 points in a game in league play, so his 30-point outburst was a welcomed sign as Mizzou earned the huge win in front of a sold out arena.

 

Trey-Mendous Defense

Missouri is the Big 12’s top club with regards to defending the arc this season and the Tigers have put forth some stellar defensive efforts against some of the nation’s best three-point shooting clubs in 2008-09.

> So far this season teams are shooting just 30.3 percent from bonus distance against Mizzou and that includes games against California (No. 1 - 47.6%), Oklahoma State (No. 2 - 41.7%) and Baylor (No. 15 - 38.9%).

> The nation’s top three-point shooting club, Cal, hit just six treys vs. the Tigers in Mizzou’s 27-point win, while Oklahoma State hit just 8-of-24 treys (.333) in the MU road win in Stillwater ... The Tigers held Baylor’s potent three-point attack to just 6-of-23 shooting (.261), including just 2-of-15 shooting in the final 20 minutes to earn the 17-point triumph ... Most recently Missouri held Kansas to just 2-of-15 shooting from bonus distance (13.3%).

 

No Fear Zaire

He’s the Elmer’s Glue of Mizzou Basketball with his steady assist, rebound and steal numbers, not to mention his defensive prowess, but in key wins at Georgia, Oklahoma State and No. 16 Texas, Zaire Taylor has flexed some offensive muscle, reaching double figures in three of four Tiger road wins, including season-high tying 17 tallies vs. the Bulldogs and Longhorns.

> Taylor also scored 10 points at Okie State, but his 17 points and game-winning “and-1” layup vs. the Longhorns propelled MU to the upset win and prompted Taylor to be named national Player of the Day by Fox Sports’ Jeff Goodman.

> Taylor is quickly becoming Missouri’s “Giant Killer”, as he followed his game-winning bucket at No. 16 Texas, with a game-winner against No. 16 Kansas on ESPN Big Monday ... Taylor rimmed home a jumper with 1.3 seconds left to lift MU to a thrilling 62-60 win over the Jayhawks.