Missouri Tigers men's basketball team cruises past Northwestern State 90-56

Sunday, December 4, 2011
Missouri's Ricardo Ratliffe pumps his fist after making a basket against Northwestern State during the first half Friday in Columbia, Mo. (L.G. PATTERSON ~ Associated Press)

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Marcus Denmon insists Missouri isn't satisfied despite his team winning its first seven games by an average of 28 points.

Denmon scored a career-high 31 points and the No. 13 Tigers went on a pair of big runs in a 90-56 rout of Northwestern State on Friday night.

"We've done some things well, but we're still a hungry group," Denmon said. "I feel that starting off 7-0 is good, but it's something that we want to build on as a team. It's not something that we're satisfied with at all."

Michael Dixon also set a career high with 19 points, and Ricardo Ratliffe matched his personal best with 22. The Tigers (7-0) are off to their best start since winning their first nine games during the 2006-07 season.

Missouri used runs of 18-0 and 24-8 to take control. Denmon became the first Tigers player to score 30 points in a game since 2009.

"My teammates were finding me in open spots," Denmon said. "I take those shots every day in practice. I continue to work on them, and tonight they were falling for me."

Asked if he practiced the alley-oop and ensuing free throw that capped his scoring, Denmon smiled and said, "Maybe like once every now and then."

First-year Missouri coach Frank Haith said Wednesday his team planned to attack Northwestern State forward William Mosley, who led the nation with 154 blocks last season and was third this season with 26 through seven games.

The Tigers did just that despite starting four guards, outscoring the Demons 50-22 in the paint and outrebounding Northwestern State 43-33.

"There's a lot of great numbers in the ballgame that excite me, but one that really excited me the most was we had 50 points in the paint," Haith said. "And I think that even though we shoot the ball really well, that balance is extremely important for our success, our ability to play inside-out."

Missouri, which leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage, shot 55 percent, three percentage points better than its season average.

"I think they were pressing and they were trying to speed us up," Ratliffe said. "But we have really good guards and if you try to press them, then more than likely they will beat the press."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: