TIPOFF: 3 p.m. CST. ARENA: Ferrell Center - Waco, Texas (10,284). TV: ESPN Plus (Fred White play-by-play; Bob Sundvold analyst). RADIO: Over-the-air on the Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst); on satellite via Sirius Ch. 161 (Baylor feed). RANKINGS: Mizzou: NR/NR Baylor: NR/NR SERIES: Missouri leads 10-8 overall; in Waco the Bears lead 4-3. COACHES: Mizzou:Mike Anderson (Tulsa ’82); 122-66 overall (6th season); 33-25 at Mizzou (2nd). Baylor: Scott Drew (Butler ’93); 75-88 overall (6th season); 55-77 at Baylor (5th).
Missouri looks to rebound from a 75-73 defeat to Oklahoma State on Tuesday, as it travels to Waco, Texas, to face the Baylor Bears at 3 p.m. on Saturday ... The Tigers were the victims of the red-hot shooting Cowboys on Tuesday, as OSU hit an incredible 14-of-24 three-pointers to earn the two-point victory.
Not to be lost in the narrow defeat was the career effort from junior forward Leo Lyons ... Lyons recorded career highs of 27 points and 18 rebounds vs. the Cowboys, while hitting a near-flawless 12-of-13 shots from the floor ... The 18 boards were the most for a Tiger since Arthur Johnson in 2003 (vs. Marquette in the NCAA Tourney) and he finished just two boards shy of the first 20-20 game at Mizzou since 1979 (Curtis Berry had 20 points and 20 rebounds vs. Kansas).
The 18 rebounds were the most in a regulation game in Big 12 play this season and tied Baylor’s Kevin Rogers for the most boards corralled in a Big 12 game regardless of length ... If you remember, Rogers grabbed 18 boards in that epic 5-OT contest at Texas A&M on Jan. 23 ... The 18 boards are also a Mizzou Arena record.
In addition to Lyons, be sure to keep an eye on Keon Lawrence ... The sophomore guard has reached double figures in nine consecutive games vs. members of the Big 12 “South” ... During that stretch of nine games, Lawrence is averaging 16.2 points per outing and is shooting a robust 49-of-90 (.544) from the floor and 20-of-37 (.541) from beyond the three-point stripe.
Lawrence actually recorded his first career 20-point game against Baylor last season, when he dropped in 24 on Feb. 14, 2006, in Columbia ... This season Lawrence scored 24 at Texas Tech and dumped in 18 in a win over league-leading Texas just to highlight a few of his great games vs. “The South”.
Despite losing primary ball-handler Stefhon Hannah, Missouri has been an improved team at protecting the basketball of late ... The Tigers committed just four turnovers vs. Colorado, a season low, while dishing out 12 assists ... Against Okie State on Tuesday the Tigers had just nine miscues vs. a team that ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 in turnovers forced ... Over the last eight games Missouri is averaging just 12.0 turnovers, down from their average of 13.8 turnovers through the first 20 games of the year.
Missouri looks for its third road win of the season on Saturday as it travels to Waco, Texas, to face the Baylor Bears ... The Tigers have split their last four games on the road, including an overtime win at Nebraska on Feb. 13.
In an odd twist, the Tigers are actually 2-0 in their last two plane trips ... The Tigers flew to Boulder and Lincoln (both wins) and bussed to Lawrence and Manhattan (two losses) in between those contests.
Texas natives Marshall Brown and Jason Horton are making their final trips to the Lone Star State this weekend ... Brown hails from nearby Austin, while Horton is a Dallas native.
Horton needs just five assists on Saturday to top the 400 mark for his career ... He’ll be just the fifth Tiger in school history to accomplish that feat.
Brown needs just 29 points to reach the 900 career point mark for his tenure at MU.
Matt Lawrence is looking to make his 59th consecutive start for the Tigers on Saturday ... That’s the most consecutive starts for an MU player since Rickey Paulding made 86 consecutive from 2002-04.
Lawrence needs just two three-point makes on Saturday to move into eighth on Missouri’s career three-point field goals list ... Lawrence has 151 career treys, just one behind Mark Atkins (1993-94), who had 152 in his two seasons with the Tigers.
Not to harp on tough games, but of the Top 35 teams in this week’s USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, Missouri has already played 10 games vs. those programs ... So far the Tigers are 4-6 in those games this year, including wins over Texas, Kansas State and Purdue, who are currently in the Top 25, as well as a win over a surging Maryland club.
Of the six losses, Missouri has had second-half leads in three of those games.
The Tigers have been close in nearly every game this season and have dropped nine games by eight points or less, including two games to opponents currently ranked in the Top 20, Kansas and Michigan State.
Although Mizzou is doing a much better job protecting the ball of late, the Tigers continue to force turnovers at a high rate ... The Tigers have forced 487 turnovers (236 steals) in 28 games this season ... Last year, Mizzou led the Big 12 with 10.1 steals and 18.9 turnovers per game and are averaging 8.4 steals and 17.4 turnovers forced per game this year, including the 23 turnovers forced vs. 2007 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Maryland and Arkansas.
Mizzou has done an excellent job converting off those miscues and are averaging 21.0 points per game off turnovers ... When you break down the numbers, Missouri is scoring nearly 30 percent of its points off of turnovers (21.0-of-77.7 ppg).
Conversely, the Tigers are turning the ball over just 13.3 times per game, which ranks among the nation’s leaders, including an average of 6.5 turnovers in their last two games combined vs. Colorado and Oklahoma State.
Overall, the Tigers are forcing a turnover once every six possessions, which allows them to average 6.3 more shots per game than their opponents.
In addition to steals, a trademark of Mike Anderson-coached teams has been assist totals and the Tigers are recording assists on 60.0 percent of their buckets this season (476 assists on 805 FG’s).
Speaking of assists, the 2007-08 Tigers are closing in on the Top Five for single-season dimes ... Missouri has 476 assists already and needs just 72 assists to move into the Top Five, passing the 1982-83 squad.
Overall, Missouri’s 17.0 assists per game rank No. 20 nationally.
Missouri has flashed a balanced playing rotation, as eight Tigers are averaging at least 13.6 minutes per game and no player is averaging more than 28.7 minutes.
Missouri has topped double figures in three-point makes six times this year, including a season high 12 vs. Texas ... The Tigers also hit 11 three-pointer at Nebraska and vs. McNeese State and 10 three-pointer vs. Michigan State, Kansas State and Southern.
ESPN’s Pat Forde named Mizzou Arena the No. 1 “New School” college basketball arena in America ... Who can argue?, the place is loaded!
TIGER TIDBITS (Individual Notes)
The Junk Yard Dog has had a major impact in just his first season ... DeMarre Carroll, also known as J.Y.De, has reached double figures in 18-of-28 games this season to rank first on the team in double-figure scoring contests this year.
Carroll has also been the team’s most consistent rebounder, and is averaging 6.4 rebounds per game in Big 12 play, including 13 boards at Iowa State and 12 vs. Kansas and Nebraska.
Carroll has actually been close to producing double-double efforts in 15 games this year.
The Big 12 Newcomer of the Year front-runner also ranks among the Big 12 Conference leaders in field goal percentage, scoring (21st) and rebounding (9th).
Even more incredible is that he is producing those numbers in just 24.7 minutes per game.
Despite his size and position, Carroll ranks among the Big 12’s leaders with 1.2 steals per game.
Carroll always seems to find a way to impact the game for Missouri and while he was saddled with foul trouble vs. Purdue, the junior forward blocked a career high three shots in the final 4:11 to help lead Missouri to the come-from-behind win ... Carroll actually scored three points, had three blocks, two assists and a steal in the final 7:35 of the MU win vs. Purdue ... The Birmingham native also added a career-high tying four steals vs. McNeese State and UMKC, showing another way he has impacted a Tiger win.
Carroll was recently named one of Seth Davis’ (Sports Illustrated) Key Faces in New Places for 2007-08.
ESPN’s Andy Katz also said “there may not be a harder working interior player -- outside of Tyler Hansbrough -- than DeMarre Carroll.”
In case you were wondering, Carroll dominates the classroom too and needs seven hours in the spring semester to finish his degree and begin his Masters work in Administration.
Keon Lawrence has reached double figures in 25 of his last 35 games, including a career high 25 points at Kansas on ESPN Big Monday.
Lawrence now has multiple 20-point games this season, both of which came on the road, including a 24-point effort at Texas Tech.
Because of those efforts, it’s not surprising that Lawrence is averaging an improved 12.1 points per game on the road this year.
Lawrence has been Missouri’s go-to-guy offensively over the last seven games and is averaging 14.7 points and 3.0 assists during that stretch.
Lawrence has enjoyed some strong play vs. the Big 12 South ... In 11 career games vs. “The South”, Lawrence has reached double figures nine times, including 24 points vs. Baylor, 18 points at Oklahoma State and the game-winning jumper vs. Oklahoma last season.
Lawrence also dumped in 18 points in the win over No. 12/13 Texas ... At one point, Lawrence scored 10 consecutive points in the first half for the Tigers setting the stage for the upset win.
The dynamic guard is also third on the team with 15 blocks.
As was documented by the Kansas City Star, there are no “off days” for Lawrence, as he makes 1,000 shots each day the team is given off by head coach Mike Anderson.
Fellow sophomore J.T. Tiller has added a consistent offensive punch over the last eight games in addition to being the team’s top perimeter defender ... Tiller is averaging 10.6 points during the surge.
Tiller has reached double figures in five of his last eight games, including a career high 20 points vs. No. 22 Kansas State to lead the Tigers to the upset win.
In his first 50 career games, Tiller had reached double figures in scoring just seven times.
For his efforts vs. Kansas State, the Marietta, Ga., native was named Big 12 Player of the Week on Feb. 4.
Although scoring production gets more publicity, Tiller is one of the Big 12’s top defenders and leads Mizzou with 98 deflections.
The Georgia native earned his first career start vs. Coppin State and responded with 10 points, three assists and two steals in 25 minutes.
Tiller also reached double-figures vs. Illinois on Dec. 22, scoring 10 points in a career high 28 minutes.
While his scoring totals are up, Tiller played some key defensive minutes late vs. Purdue, helping to hold the Boilermakers to just one field goal in the final 7:47 of the game en route to Mizzou’s game-winning 24-4 run.
Forming Mizzou’s kamikaze line along with Tiller is senior forward Darryl Butterfield ... Butterfield leads the team with 17 charges drawn this year, while adding 18 steals in just 14.3 minutes per game.
The Miami native has drawn multiple charges four times this season, including four vs. Maryland.
Matt Lawrence poured in a career high 28 points on Dec. 30 at Mississippi State ... The 6-foot-7 guard hit 6-of-11 treys and tied a season high with six rebounds.
Lawrence tied his season high with 6-of-11 shooting from three-point range at Kansas State on Feb. 16 ... It was his second 20-point game of the season and both outings have come on the road this year.
Over his last 22 games, Lawrence has hit multiple treys in 16 of those contests.
A vocal leader for the Tigers, Lawrence tied up Kansas State’s Bill Walker under the Wildcat basket in the final seconds to help lift Mizzou to the win, a Walker put-back would have put K-State in front with just seconds remaining.
In fact, the St. Louis native has been at his best on the road throughout his career and his shooting 42.1 percent from beyond the arc (56-of-133) from three-point range away from Mizzou Arena.
Leo Lyons has played much-improved basketball this season and has reached double-figures in 15 of his last 20 contests.
Lyons’ has already reached double figures 17 times this season, surpassing the nine double figure games he enjoyed his first-two seasons combined.
Lyons has certainly stepped up his game over his last eight outings, as he is averaging 15.9 points and 7.1 rebounds a contest, both tops on the club.
Included in that surge were career high totals of 27 points and 18 rebounds vs. Oklahoma State on Feb. 26.
The 18 boards were the most for a Tiger since Arthur Johnson had 18 vs. Marquette in the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
Lyons was two boards shy of the first 20-20 game at Mizzou since 1979 ... Curtis Berry had 20 points and 20 boards vs. Kansas on Jan. 17, 1979.
Lyons led Mizzou to its 66-62 win at Colorado on Jan. 26, scoring 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting ... Lyons scored 16 of his points and dished all-three of his assists in the second half.
He then scored a 24 points against Texas A&M on Feb. 9 for his fourth 20-point output of the year.
Lyons recorded his first 20-point game in his hometown return to Kansas City and scored a career high 23 points and grabbed 11 boards vs. Maryland.
Lyons earned Player of the Game honors from Dick Vitale and Co. as he hit 8-of-11 shots and 7-of-11 free throws en route to his first career double-double.
Lyons also torched UMKC for 22 points on a career-best 10-of-12 shooing from the floor.
Lyons recorded his second double-double of the year in the win over Top 25 Purdue, chipping in 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Lyons flashed his versatility vs. Western Illinois when the 6-foot-9, 240-pounder dished a career high six assists and recorded two steals ... Lyons has 41 assists, which is tops among Tiger post players.
He just goes about his business quietly, but senior guard Jason Horton has dished out 76 assists compared to just 30 turnovers this season, to rank No. 2 in the Big 12 in assist-turnover ratio at 2.5-to-1.
Horton now has 395 career dimes, which is No. 5 all-time in school history ... Horton passed Tiger great Jon Sundvold (382) for No. 5 on the list on Feb. 9 vs. Texas A&M.
Horton is 38 assists shy of Lee Coward for No. 4 all-tme.
Horton is also closing in on the career top 10 in steals and needs two more thefts to pass Melvin Booker for No. 10 with 147.
Senior forward Marshall Brown is closing in on 1,000 career points ... The Austin, Texas native currently has 871 tallies and needs 129 points to become the 38th member of the Mizzou 1,000-point club.
The selfless senior was named team captain in December by teammates and coaches.
Brown actually leads the team in three-point shooting accuracy at 41.0 percent.
Brown has made at least one trey in four of his last five games.
Brown logged some key minutes in the road win at Nebraska, and scored 11 points thanks to a pair of treys and 5-of-6 free throws.
Missouri is 4-1 when Brown reaches double figures this year with that lone loss coming to Michigan State.
The Texas product then earned his first start of the year vs. Coppin State and later scored a season high 14 points vs. his hometown Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 opener.
Freshman Justin Safford graced ESPN’s Top 10 Plays on Nov. 8 with his alley-oop slam vs. Missouri Western ... Safford checked in at No. 6.
The versatile rookie has enjoyed increased playing time over the last seven games, including a career efforts vs. No. 22 Kansas State and No. 18 Texas A&M ... Safford scored nine points, dished two assists and blocked two shots in a career high 21 minutes vs. the Wildcats, before scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards vs. A&M.
He recently scored nine points in 16 minutes in the return game at Kansas State on 4-of-5 shooting.
Over his last seven games Safford is averaging 5.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting from the floor and 45.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc (5-of-11).
Safford enjoyed a great game at Mississippi State on Dec. 30, scoring four points and grabbing four boards in nine second-half minutes vs. the Bulldogs.
Senior forward Vaidotas Volkus earned his first career start vs. Kansas and recorded then-career highs of eight points and two assists ... Volkus also hit 4-of-5 shots from the floor vs. the Jayhawks.
The Lithuania native returned to the starting rotation vs. Nebraska on Jan. 30 and scored a career high 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while grabbing four rebounds in a career-best 26 minutes of action.
Baylor (19-8, 7-6 Big 12) is coming off back-to-back wins over Kansas State and Colorado heading into Saturday’s contest and looks to continue positioning themselves for NCAA Tournament play ... The Bears have rebounded nicely from a 1-6 stretch earlier in league play that saw them lose four consecutive on the road, including a heart-breaking 92-91 loss at Oklahoma ... Curtis Jerrells leads Baylor in scoring and assists with 15.3 points and 3.6 dimes per game ... Talented post player Kevin Rogers is also back and averages 12.9 points and a team-leading 8.5 boards per night ... Overall Baylor has six players averaging 9.0 points per game or better and have five players who have hit 39 treys or more this season.
THE SERIES WITH THE BEARS
Missouri and Baylor will meet for the 19th time in series history on Saturday, with the Tigers holding a 10-8 series advantage ... The two clubs split a pair of meetings last year, but Baylor has won two of the last three contests, including a 90-64 win in Waco on Feb. 7, 2006 ... In Waco, Baylor holds a 4-3 series advantage.
THE KEY ON KEON
Keon Lawrence has become Missouri’s go-to man over the last seven games as the sophomore is averaging 14.7 points and 3.0 assists per game during the recent stretch ... Lawrence has shot a much-improved 53.2 percent from the floor and 44.0 percent from three-point range during the last seven games, marking sharp shooting improvements from his first 21 games this season ... Through the first 21 games Lawrence struggled to shoot just 39.4 percent from the floor and just 29.4 percent from three en route to a 9.8 ppg. scoring norm.
LYONS ROARS AGAINST OKLAHOMA STATE
It was a career game for Leo Lyons and perhaps one of the top all-around games for a Tiger player in quite some time ... Lyons nearly led Missouri to a win over the red-hot Oklahoma State Cowboys on Feb. 26, recording career highs of 27 points and 18 rebounds in 35 minutes vs. the Pokes.
Lyons missed just one shot from the floor en route to his 12-of-13 shooting and finished with a game high 27 tallies, topping his previous career best of 24 points vs. Texas A&M earlier this year.
He also grabbed 18 boards, the most at Mizzou since Arthur Johnson grabbed 18 in an overtime contest vs. Marquette in the 2003 NCAA Tournament ... While Johnson had overtime to get his 18 boards, Lyons’ rebounds were the most in a regulation game since Curtis Berry grabbed 20 vs. Kansas on Jan. 17, 1979 ... Incidentally, that was the last “20-20” game for Mizzou, a statistic Lyons was just two rebounds shy of updating.
The Kansas City native also dished a pair of assists and blocked three shots in one heck of an all-around performance.
Lyons’ night also re-wrote a few Mizzou Arena records as well ... The 18 boards were a facility mark, as was the 12-of-13 shooting (.923).
HORTON FT SHOOTING
HORTON TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CHARITY
Jason Horton has improved his free throw shooting each season as a Tiger, culminating with a career high 79.4 percent shooting this year ... Horton is on pace for a career high in makes and needs just four free throws to eclipse the 30 he made as a freshman in 2004-05.
Just how good has Horton’s free throw shooting been this season? Well through his first three years, the Dallas native was a combined 69-of-135 (.511) from the stripe before his 80.6 percent shooting touch this year.
BENCH STEPPING UP FOR MIZZOU
Although “former” reserves Keon Lawrence and J.T. Tiller have been thrust into the starting lineup, Mizzou’s bench production has remained steady over the last five games ... On the year Missouri is averaging 25.6 points per game from its “second wave”, but is getting a much-improved 28.4 points per outing over the last four contests, including 43 points against Texas A&M ... During this recent surge Mizzou’s bench is outscoring its opposition 142 to 70, including a 32 to 8 margin last Saturday vs. Colorado ... In fact, Missouri’s reserves outscored their starters 32-28 vs. the Buffs.
TIGERS FOR TIGERS CAMPAIGN
Mizzou Athletics is teaming up with Auburn and Clemson Universities to save and protect wild tigers ... You can help support “Tigers for Tigers” by making a donation to the World Wildlife Fund ... For more information visit tigers.missouri.edu. Help Mizzou with the “Tigers for Tigers” challenge and save the tigers species.