No. 15 MU overcomes slow start with a big second half

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- After another slow start, No. 15 Missouri used a big second half to rout another nonconference opponent.

Arthur Johnson scored a career-high 24 points and Rickey Paulding added 17 as the Tigers beat Sacramento State 98-60 on Monday night.

Johnson, who also had 10 rebounds, scored 12 of Missouri's first 20 points of the second half after the Tigers managed only a 10-point lead at the break. Missouri outscored Sacramento State 48-20 in the second half.

"I thought we defended well again tonight and we played a good team," Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. "I think when opposing guys are making good plays, you can get out of character. You can get almost overaggressive in your help."

After Sacramento State made the first shot of the second half, Missouri went on a 12-0 run to make it 62-42 with 16:30 left. The lead jumped to 77-50 on a 3-pointer by freshman Jimmy McKinney with 10:32 left.

The loss was the Hornets' 39th straight on the road and it was Sacramento State's first game against a ranked opponent since facing then-No. 2 Stanford on Dec. 18, 1999.

Center Tony Champion had all but two of his career-high 16 points in the first half for the Hornets and DeShawn Freeman added eight assists.

Point guard Ricky Clemons had 17 points and McKinney added 11 for Missouri, which beat Austin Peay 81-46 on Saturday.

"They really turned it up on us in the second half," Sacramento State coach Jerome Jenkins said. "I think we played a very good first half, but I know we were tired in the second half. They shot the ball very, very well in the second half and that helped them win the basketball game."

Missouri (3-0) shot 57.6 percent in the second half while the Hornets (1-3) made just 27.6.

Missouri shot 57.6 percent in the second half while the Hornets were at 27.6 percent.

Sacramento State, which averaged 58.5 points entering the game, led 7-2 on four inside points from Champion. The Hornets took a 16-11 lead with 14:49 left in the first half then Missouri went on a 13-0 run ignited by a 3-pointer by Paulding and a steal by Clemons who passed to McKinney for an acrobatic move to the basket. During a three-minute span in that run, the Hornets didn't take a shot.

"You can't beat a team in the first four minutes," Paulding said. "That's one of our main goals is to grind it out, not try to kill the team in the first four minutes, because that's not going to happen. I think we tried to put up good defense throughout the game, and I think it shows."

Missouri, which led 50-40 at halftime, had nine steals in the opening 20 minutes as the Hornets committed 13 turnovers.

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