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Missouri's hot-handed freshman burns KSU
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Pay no attention to the glove Phil Pressey wears on his shooting hand to protect a broken ring finger. The Missouri freshman guard certainly doesn't.
Pressey was 3 for 5 from 3-point range and had 13 points in No. 13 Missouri's 75-59 whipping of Kansas State on Monday night. He's 7 of 9 on 3-pointers the last two games and had a big all-around game, too, with four steals and three assists in 24 minutes off the bench.
"He was like a little gnat out there, even to the point where one guy pushed over," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "For a guy that's been out for almost three weeks to play the way he's played the last two games, he's got a chance to be a special player."
Pressey, son of former NBA player Paul Pressey, had a strong followup after scoring a career-best 16 points in an overtime loss at Texas A&M on Saturday. He puts up shots with confidence.
"I don't hope it goes in, I expect it to go in," Pressey said. "So if I miss one, I keep shooting, and if make it, it's the same thing."
Marcus Denmon scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, and the Tigers (16-3, 2-2 Big 12) forced Kansas State into a season-worst 24 turnovers.
Missouri led by 15 at the half and surged again after the Wildcats cut the gap to three with just more than nine minutes to go. Kansas State was outscored 17-4 in the last 7:15.
"You can't dig yourself such a big hole," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "We were pathetic defensively in the first half. We weren't much better on offense."
Jacob Pullen had 16 points and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts added 14 for Kansas State (13-6, 1-3), which has dropped three of four. The Wildcats were held scoreless for nearly five minutes in the second half while Missouri put away the game with a 12-0 run that featured a spectacular one-handed alley-oop dunk by Laurence Bowers, and led 70-55 with 3:50 to go.
"The mark of a really good team is being able to finish games in the waning moments," Missouri guard Kim English said. "We're not playing against the team anymore, it's the clock."
Missouri made strides before tip-off, surprisingly jumping two places in the poll despite the Texas A&M loss. Kansas State, the preseason Big 12 favorite, fell out of the top 25. The Tigers have won four straight at home against Kansas State, avoiding falling into the hole that the Wildcats fell into.
"That's tough, 1-3 is tough," English said. "In the Big 12, you've got to take care of your home turf and go steal some on the road."
Kansas State scored the first seven points of the second half to cut the deficit to eight and twice shaved it to three points, the last time at 58-55 with 8:10 to play. The Wildcats didn't score again until Henriquez-Roberts had a dunk and three-point play with 3:21 to go, leaving them 12 down.
Martin blamed it on sloppy play.
"Lackadaisical travels, forced plays trying to go one-on-one, lazy passes, lazy cuts," Martin said. "You're going to turn it over a couple of times against Missouri. It's what they do. But we had bad turnovers."
Missouri shot 50 percent and hit five 3-pointers in a dominant first half for a 43-28 lead, the first double-digit deficit at the midway point for Kansas State. Curtis Kelly was whistled for his second and third fouls in a hectic final minute, and the Wildcats also were whistled for a 10-second call.
The Tigers held their own inside without Ricardo Ratliffe, limited to six minutes by two fouls, getting 10 points off the bench from Pressey. Justin Safford contributed his first 3-pointer since Dec. 11.
Kansas State had three blocks in the first three minutes, but its biggest lead was only 4-0.