Missouri romps past California in final of CBE Classic

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Missouri guard Marcus Denmon dunks against California during the first half of the CBE Classic championship game Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo. (Charlie Riedel ~ Associated Press)

The Tigers defeated California 92-35 to improve to 5-0

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kim English had 19 points to lead six Tigers in double figures and No. 21 Missouri dominated No. 20 California 92-53 on Tuesday night to win the CBE Classic.

Marcus Denmon added 18 points and was the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Matt Pressey had 13 points and Michael Dixon finished with 11 for the Tigers (5-0), who won the event just a couple hours' drive from their campus for the second time in four appearances.

Missouri built a 45-26 lead by halftime and the outcome was never in doubt over the final 20 minutes, with coach Frank Haith pulling his starters with a few minutes left in the game.

Jorge Gutierrez scored 11 points to lead Cal (4-1), but fouled out with 11 minutes, 12 seconds remaining. Richard Solomon also fouled out with more than 7 minutes left and finished with nine points.

The Tigers used relentless man-to-man, half-court pressure to force the guard-oriented Golden Bears into a plethora of early turnovers, and the result was a lot of easy points.

After a free throw by Allen Crabbe got Cal within 19-14 with just under 10 minutes left in the first half, the Tigers went on a 12-2 spurt in which five different players scored. Phil Pressey's bucket with 7:29 left prompted Cal coach Mike Montgomery to call timeout, but Dixon added a 3-pointer moments later off a feed from Denmon to keep the run going.

Denmon's two free throws made it 31-16 with 5:55 remaining in the half.

The Golden Bears committed three straight turnovers at one point during the stretch, and wound up with 14 of them in the first half, which Missouri turned into 15 points.

The Tigers, who took a 45-26 lead on two foul shots by Phil Pressey with under a minute left in the half, wound up shooting 3 of 12 from beyond the arc and got outrebounded 22-11 over the first 20 minutes, yet still managed to build what turned out to be an insurmountable lead.

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