Tigers' sharp shooting sets up win over Buffs

Sunday, January 20, 2002

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Keen shooting in the first half paved the way for an easy victory for No. 21 Missouri.

But to coach Quin Snyder, the Tigers' 62.5-percent accuracy was a byproduct of the way they moved the ball around in a 92-77 victory over Colorado on Saturday.

"The kids really shared," Snyder said. "Because we played well, we shot well. That's how we like to play."

Kareem Rush matched his season best with 29 points, making 9-of-17 shots, as he continued a recent surge after slumping in December. He added three assists, passing up some good looks to set up teammates, and three steals.

"Early in the season I was tending to force things to try to go out there and score all my points," Rush said. "When I let the game come to me, my shots seem to come easier and I'm more open."

Snyder said with Rush, who's averaging 19 points, it's more about knowing when to shoot.

"He will shoot well if he makes reads," Snyder said. "The basketball gods make sure that's the way it goes."

Arthur Johnson added 20 points on 10-for-13 shooting and Rickey Paulding had 15 for Missouri (14-4, 4-1 Big 12).

The Tigers won for the fifth time in six games. They led by as many as 27 points before taking a 49-26 lead at the break.

"Being up 23 against Colorado, that's not normal," Snyder said. "We were on."

Missouri was hitting at a 72 percent clip before missing its last four shots and going scoreless in the final 2:54 of the half, its only dry spell. In a sloppy, foul-filled second half, Colorado never got closer than the final margin.

"The officials wouldn't let us play," Colorado coach Ricardo Patton said. "There were a lot of small fouls, a lot of ticky-tac fouls."

The Tigers have won six in a row against Colorado (10-5, 1-3) and are 30-2 against the Buffaloes in the Hearnes Center. Stephane Pelle had 17 points and 18 rebounds for Buffaloes.

Missouri hit the open man for wide open looks in the early going, opening on a 15-2 run after Colorado hit the game's first basket. The Tigers began the game 11-for-13 and Johnson had eight points as Missouri took a 24-9 lead.

Paulding had two baskets off steals in the run, swooping in for a two-handed dunk on the first and beating the Colorado defense down the floor for a coast-to-coast layup on the second.

The opening was so flawless that the Tigers didn't commit a turnover until Rush lost his grip and threw the ball away trying to make a move in the lane with 13:44 to go.

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