Mizzou Basketball Faces Illinois For Braggin' Rights

MUTIGERS.COM DeMarre Carroll and the Tigers face Illinois on Tuesday.
DeMarre Carroll and the Tigers face Illinois on Tuesday.

Dec. 21, 2008

Columbia, Mo. -

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Mizzou Basketball News and Notes 2008-09
University of Missouri Tigers (9-1) vs.
University of Illinois Fighting Illini (10-1)
2008-09 Regular Season Game 11 - December 23, 2008 - St. Louis, Mo.

Tip-off: 6:30 p.m. CST
Arena: Scottrade Center - St. Louis, Mo. (22,153)
TV: ESPN2 (Dave O’Brien play-by-play; Steve Lavin analyst)
Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst)
Rankings: Mizzou: RV/RV, Illinois: RV/NR in Associated Press / USA Today Coaches polls
Series: Illinois leads Mizzou 26-12 all-time; last - Illinois won 59-58 on Dec. 22, 2008
Tickets: Call 1-800-CAT-PAWS

Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa ’82); 131-70 overall (7th season); 42-29 at Mizzou (3rd)
Illinois: Bruce Weber (UW-Milwaukee ’79); 241-102 (11th season); 138-48 (6th)


For Openers
> For the 28th season Busch Braggin’ Rights are on the line as Missouri and Illinois square off at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis before a nationally-televised, ESPN2 audience … The Fighting Illini own a 19-8 series lead in the Braggin’ Rights series (26-12 overall) and Mizzou is looking for its first win since a 78-72 triumph on Dec. 21, 1999.
> Missouri has already equaled its best start under Head Coach Mike Anderson (9-1) ... The Tigers were an identical 9-1 in 2006-07, but had only played one game away from Mizzou Arena that season ... This year’s club is 2-1 away from home, winning two of three games in San Juan, P.R., including a win over then-No. 19 USC and has a much-improved strength of schedule.
> Mizzou is on a season-long seven game winning streak which dates back to the second game of the 2008 O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off ... During that run Missouri is averaging 86.1 points, a 24.9 ppg margin of victory and is shooting 49.5 percent from the floor ... The last time Mizzou won seven consecutive was during that start to that 2006-07 campaign.
> Missouri is closing in on the Top 25 rankings (No. 28 in Associated Press poll as of print time for game notes) and is among the Top 25 in both the Sagarin and Pomeroy “power rankings” ... While the Tigers are receiving Top 25 votes in both major polls, Missouri is No. 13 in the Sagarin and No. 8 in the Ken Pomeroy rankings.
> The last time Missouri was ranked in Associated Press or ESPN Coaches polls was the sixth week of the 2003-04 season (No. 23) ... Missouri started that season off No. 5 in the preseason AP ledger.
> The Tigers rank among the nation’s leaders in several statistical categories heading into Tuesday’s game ... Mizzou is No. 5 nationally in scoring at 86.3 ppg, No. 3 in assists per game at 20.4, No. 3 in steals per game at 11.3 and No. 2 nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 1.7 ... Missouri’s 21.9 ppg scoring margin ranks 4th ... Missouri and North Carolina are the only teams in America to rank in the Top 5 in all five of those categories.
> Senior forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons give Missouri a formidable post tandem, as they combine to average 33.8 points and 14.5 rebounds each night ... What gets lost with Carroll and Lyons however, is that they also combine for 4.2 assists and 3.3 steals, making them one of the more complete duos in America ... Lyons and Carroll are the only teammates in the Big 12 Conference to rank in the Top 10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, while Carroll ranks No. 9 in steals and Lyons ranks No. 16.


Mizzou Quick-Hitters
> Missouri will look to extend its current seven-game winning streak as it faces the University of Illinois Tuesday evening in St. Louis’ Scottrade Center.
> That seven-game winning streak is the longest for the Tigers since MU opened the 2006-07 campaign 9-1 ... One difference between that 9-1 start and this season’s 9-1 spurt is that the Tigers have a pair of neutral-court wins and a win over a Top 25 foe (No. 19 USC), while the 2006-07 club won all nine of those games at home vs. unranked opposition.
> A win vs. Illinois would push Mizzou’s record to 10-1 on the season, the program’s best start since the 2002-03 campaign when the Tigers started an identical 10-1.
> Tuesday’s game is Missouri’s 112th appearance in St. Louis ... The Tigers are 53-58 all-time in the Gateway City and 8-19 vs. Illinois since beginning the Busch Braggin’ Rights series in 1980.
> Missouri has dropped eight consecutive to Illinois since winning three straight from 1997-99, but in fairness, this is just Mike Anderson’s third game vs. the Illini.
> As always, Braggin’ Rights are up for grabs across the board ... Mizzou’s Matt Lawrence is the lone St. Louis native on both rosters and the Tigers also have an Illinois native on this year’s squad, Justin Safford.
> Safford attended Illinois Basketball Camps while growing up.
> The Tigers have been downright overpowering during their recent seven-game winning streak ... The Team is averaging a 24.8 ppg margin of victory and is shooting 49.5 percent from the floor, while holding opponents to just 37.7 percent shooting and just 28.6 percent shooting from three-point range.
> A major reason for those large scoring totals is because Missouri has taken 92 more field goal attempts than its opponent this season and has made 96 more FG’s, an incredible statistic through just 10 games.
> With that scoring surge, Missouri has topped the 80-point plateau seven times in 10 games this season and is 7-0 on the year when scoring at least 80 points ... Missouri has topped 80 points 31 times in the Mike Anderson era (72 games) ... To put that scoring in perspective, the Tigers topped 80 points just 22 times (in total 124 games) the four seasons before Anderson’s arrival.
> One thing Tiger fans are enjoying this season is points off turnovers ... Missouri averaged 20.3 points per game off turnovers last season and forced one turnover every four possessions ... So far this season Missouri is forcing 19.6 turnovers per game and is averaging 25.2 points off those opponent miscues each night.
> Missouri is scoring an incredible 30 percent of its points this season off turnovers (25.2-of-86.3).
> Because of Missouri’s limited 12.1 turnovers a game, its opposition is scoring just 14.2 points a night off turnovers.
> It’s only December, but ESPN Bracketology guru Joe Lunardi has Missouri “in” the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed ... The kicker, Lunardi has the Tigers facing No. 6-seeded Kansas ... Of course two teams from the same conference can’t play until the second round.
> Although the 2008-09 campaign is just getting started, Mizzou actually got an early jump on exhibition play over Labor Day weekend with a three-game exhibition tour in Niagara Falls, Ontario ... Missouri went 3-0 throughout the tour and averaged a 35.3 ppg. margin of victory.
> Tiger fans can expect to see improved depth in 2008-09 with the addition of seven newcomers ... That depth could spell trouble for opponents since Anderson’s reserves set a school record for scoring (26.4) in 2006-07 and produced 25.4 points per game in 2007-08.
> Through 10 games this season Missouri is averaging 32.4 points from its reserves, including a season high 50 points vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 45 vs. Stetson and 43 vs. California.
> In fact, Missouri’s bench outscored Stetson’s entire team 45-44 on Saturday.
> The catalyst for Missouri’s improved scoring punch off the bench is its five player freshman class ... So far this season that group is averaging 23.8 points off the pine.

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.
> Lyons and Carroll are ranked among the nation’s Top 15 power forwards by Rivals.com in their current position rankings ... Lyons checks in at No. 12, while Carroll is right behind at No. 13.
> Carroll, Lyons and Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin are the only players in the Big 12 to rank among the Top 10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage and in the Top 16 in steals.
> Carroll topped the 1,000-point plateau vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and now has 1,053 career tallies at the Division I level, 460 of which came during his first two seasons at Vanderbilt ... Lyons has 854 career points and needs just 146 points to become the 38th member of Missouri’s 1,000-point club ... Fellow senior Matt Lawrence is also closing in on 1,000 points and would need 250 more tallies as a senior to reach the mark.
> Over his last 13 regular-season games Lyons has five 20-point outings and has reached double figures in 12-of-13 contests.
> The Kansas City, Kan., native enjoyed a season high 26 points and eight rebounds in the win over Oral Roberts ... Lyons scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half, which is the most by a Tiger in a half (first or second) this season.
> With his 16.2 ppg. scoring average, Lyons ranks No. 10 in the Big 12, just behind teammate DeMarre Carroll, who is sixth at 17.6 ppg.
> Carroll has reached double figures in all 10 games this season and the tandem of Carroll and Lyons have led Mizzou in scoring in 9-of-10 contests this year.
> The Birmingham, Ala., native led Missouri to a 2-1 mark in Puerto Rico and was named to the All-Tournament Team following his career high 29-point, 11-rebound effort against No. 19 USC.
> Carroll has topped the 20-point plateau twice this season and ranks No. 6 in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.6 points per game.
> Carroll has done outstanding work in the second half and is averaging 10.5 ppg in the second half alone.
> The Junk Yard Dog also ranks second on the team with 18 steals and ranks among the Big 12’s leaders in scoring (6th), steals (9th), field goal percentage (3rd) and rebounding (7th).
> Matt Lawrence is starting to heat up from the perimeter and has hit multiple three-pointers in four of his last five outings.
> The St. Louis native needs just nine more treys to move into fourth place on Missouri’s career three-point list.
> Despite being a prolific shooter, Lawrence has eight assists and just one turnover on the season.
> Zaire 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.
> Taylor played his first Division I basketball game in 669 days on Nov. 15 in the season-opener ... The Delaware transfer sat out all of last season and last played at the D-I level on Jan. 6, 2007, at Hofstra.
> So far this season the Staten Island, N.Y., native has a team-leading 35 assists and just 10 turnovers ... His 3.5-to-1 assist/turnover ratio leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 8 nationally.
> Taylor has tied a season high with six assists three times this season and has had multiple turnovers in a game just three times ... He also had five dimes vs. Stetson on Saturday.
> Junior guard J.T. Tiller made his ESPN SportCenter Top 10 debut and it’s no shock the highlight came courtesy of his defense ... Tiller’s swat of Lincoln’s Joe Hutchingson with just over six minutes left in the second half checked in at No. 8 on the countdown ... Coach Norm Stewart’s response on the telecast after the block “I like J.T. Tiller. If you take the ball to the basket (against him), you can’t bring that weak stuff. You’ll need a helmet.”
> Tiller is one of Mizzou’s most well-rounded players and recorded a career high six steals vs. Xavier ... The six thefts tied a tournament record and is No. 6 in Missouri single-game school history.
> Tiller has had multiple steals in 6-of-10 games and is second in the Big 12 with 2.2 steals a night.
> Tiller had an explosive trip to Puerto Rico where he averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.7 steals vs. quality opposition.
> Of Tiller’s 14 career double-figure scoring games, seven have come either on the road or on a neutral-court site.
> 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 is coming off his first double-figure game of the year, as he dropped in 10 points and five boards in 13 minutes ... Safford also contributed a highlight blocked shot and a one-handed dunk in the win.
> Freshman guard Marcus Denmon reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time in his career vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Cal ... Denmon scored 11 points vs. Pine Bluff before chipping in 14 vs. California.
> Over his last four games Denmon is averaging 10.0 points, which is third on the club.
> Denmon officially 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.
> 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.
> That workout time has paid off for English, who scored 13 points vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor, before scoring a career high 16 points vs. California in the Tiger’s big win ... English scored 14 of his 16 in the second half, including 14 straight points for the Tigers in a span of just 4:16.
> Over his last four outings English is logging 9.8 points per game on 62 percent shooting from the floor and 50 percent shooting from three-point range (7-of-14).
> Fellow freshman Miguel Paul is averaging 18.0 minutes over his last seven games ... Paul has also hit a three-pointer in five of those seven contests as well and boasts a 2.0-to-1 assist/turnover ratio.
> Junior Keith Ramsey has played improved basketball over the past seven games, especially on the defensive end ... Ramsey blocked a career high three shots vs. Cal and poured in eight points and five boards in the win over Stetson.
> Ramsey initially scored a career high eight points in just nine minutes vs. No. 19 USC and corralled seven boards (career high) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 14 minutes.
> Laurence Bowers, another of Missouri’s exciting freshmen, is making steady progress ... Bowers tied a career high with six points, while adding four boards, a block and an assist vs. Stetson. 

About The Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois enters Tuesday’s game 10-1 on the season and winners of four straight ... The Illini have a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging 10.4 points per game or more and just added Kentucky transfer Alex Legion on Saturday, a player national sites are calling the No. 1 mid-season transfer in America ... Mike Davis leads Illinois in both scoring and rebounding at 13.0 points and 8.2 rebounds ... Combo guard Demetri McCamey is second at 12.4 points and 4.8 assists, while Trent Meacham is third at 10.9 points on 47 percent shooting from three-point range.

The Busch Braggin’ Rights Series
Tonight’s game marks the 28th Anniversary of the Missouri-Illinois Braggin’ Rights series in St. Louis … Initially played Dec. 10, 1980, this regional rivalry has moved into the national spotlight thanks to four overtime contests and a total of 15 games being decided by 10 points or less since the annual tilt was moved to St. Louis following the 1979-80 campaign … Illinois owns an 19-8 series lead in the Busch Braggin’ Rights series and a 26-12 lead overall … Prior to 1980, Illinois enjoyed a 7-4 series advantage, with five games played in Champaign, five in Columbia and one game (Dec. 16, 1946) played in Kansas City … The initial Missouri-Illinois contest was played Dec. 21, 1932, in Columbia with the Fighting Illini securing a 36-24 win … Currently, Illinois has won eight consecutive in the series, but six of those eight games have been decided by 11 points or fewer, including each of the last two contests (combined four points) … Prior to this current stretch, Mizzou enjoyed a run of seven victories in nine opportunities … Mizzou’s last win vs. Illinois came Dec. 21, 1999, a 78-72 decision.



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