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Missouri dominates Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | 11:00 p.m. CST; updated 10:16 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Missouri's J.T. Tiller, left, and Zaire Taylor lock up Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Lebaron Weathers during the first half of the Tigers' 95-41 victory against the Lions on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — Coach Mike Anderson was drawing something up in the huddle, but Leo Lyons, Matt Lawrence and DeMarre Carroll weren't paying any attention. They had something more important to do.

The three senior starters stood behind their teammates and stared up at the video scoreboard, watching couples from around the arena peck each other when they appeared on the "Kiss Cam."

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With Missouri on the way to a 95-41 win, the starters could afford to sit back and have some fun while the bench players finished out the game.

"I think with all the things we've done with this team, the Canada trip, the Puerto Rico trip, this team is really having fun and coming together," Anderson said. "They root for one another, and they're happy for that next guy that goes out and does a lot of good things."

But on the court, Missouri never let up during its win over the outmatched Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions on Tuesday. The Tigers had the game in hand from the beginning, jumping to a 24-4 lead in the first nine minutes, but Anderson never pulled back his full-court press.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 26.7 percent from the field and turned the ball over 28 times. It didn't take much for Missouri's defense to fluster the opponent. The Golden Lions' guards repeatedly threw passes right to the Tigers, traveled and stepped out of bounds.

"Our defense was probably the biggest difference in this game," Anderson said. "I thought tonight we brought the intensity, we brought the focus."

The coach had challenged his players to bring 40 minutes of defensive intensity after Oral Roberts scored 83 points against the Tigers' defense Sunday.

"I wanted us to push the ball for 40 minutes," Anderson said.  "I wanted the tempo to be up the whole game, and I thought that took place."

At Monday's practice, Anderson focused on defense for most of practice, putting his players through exhausting defensive drills. The Tigers ran more than they shot. His message was well-received.

"It refocused us, and we definitely played really good defense today," freshman guard Kim English said. "I was very happy that we came out very aggressive on defense, that was the key to this game."

Offensively, it was a balanced game for the Tigers. Five players scored in double figures, and all 14 Missouri players scored. Lawrence led Missouri with 15 points. Carroll and Lyons each scored 13.

One of the only hiccups for the Tigers was a play late in the game when Mike Anderson Jr. drove to the basket and flung the ball off the backboard. It was either a pathetic layup or a silly pass, and his father wasn't happy.

"He better be glad my wife is his mother," Coach Anderson said. 

The loss sends Arkansas-Pine Bluff's record to 0-6. The team's first 11 games are on the road, and Missouri is the fourth Big 12 team the Golden Lions have lost to this season, joining Texas A&M, Nebraska and Colorado.

Missouri is now 6-1.  It faces California at 1 p.m. Sunday.


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