Missouri improves to 11-0 with rout of William & Mary

Monday, December 19, 2011
William & Mary's Marcus Thornton, foreground, loses the ball while driving toward the basket past Missouri's Steve Moore, right, and Phil Pressey, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri sixth-man Michael Dixon only can stand by and hear the roar when his starting teammates are introduced at Mizzou Arena.

He sure knows how to grab some attention once he enters the game.

The Tigers' super-sub scored a career-high 30 points as No. 10 Missouri beat William & Mary 94-56 on Sunday for its best start in two decades. That obliterated his previous high of 19 points, set just four games earlier against Northwestern State.

Missouri coach Frank Haith considers Dixon his sixth starter, and the junior guard's average of 26.2 minutes exceeds or is nearly equal to the time spent on the court by senior starters Ricardo Ratliffe and Matt Pressey.

"When he subs in, other teams are subbing in," Haith said. "Mike Dixon's like a starter. So he's playing against other team's subs. I like that matchup."

Missouri coach Frank Haith celebrates with players Kim English, right, and Ricardo Ratliffe late in the second half of Sunday's 94-56 win against William & Mary in Columbia, Mo. (L.G. Patterson ~ Associated Press)

Missouri (11-0) jumped to a 19-0 lead over William & Mary, which missed its first eight shots while committing five fouls and 10 turnovers. The Tribe didn't score until nearly 12 minutes into the game. William & Mary (2-9) made just five first-half baskets as Missouri took a 44-18 lead.

Kim English added 17 points for Missouri, which last started a season with 11 straight wins under former coach Norm Stewart 20 years ago.

Ratliffe and Pressey contributed 11 points each as Missouri outscored William & Mary 48-24 in the paint and shot 60 percent for the game. The game-opening run featured a crowd-pleasing dunk by Pressey on an alley-oop pass from his younger brother Phil.

Tim Rusthoven, who missed his team's first six games, led the Tribe with 14 points. He attributed William & Mary's horrendous start to a collective case of the jitters.

"We were just kind of nervous getting out there," Rusthoven said.

Missouri's Matt Pressey dunks in front of teammate Steve Moore during the first half Sunday.

Missouri entered the game outscoring its opponents by an average of 26.7 points. The Tigers' scoring average of 87.3 was second in the NCAA.

Missouri is one of just seven unbeaten teams in Division I, joining Syracuse, Louisville, Baylor, Marquette, Indiana and Murray State.

The Tigers face border rival Illinois on Thursday in St. Louis. The Illini suffered their first loss of the season Saturday against UNLV.

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