COLUMBIA — The days leading up to Wednesday night's game against Colorado challenged the Missouri men's basketball team.
First, Missouri lost at Nebraska in the Big 12 Conference opener. Then star forward Leo Lyons was suspended indefinitely after he was arrested during a traffic stop. A controversy about Tigers freshman Miguel Paul's claim that he is cousins with New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul only added to the adversity.
Missouri players were sick of talking about all of the distractions. The Tigers took out their frustration on the Buffaloes in a 107-62 win at Mizzou Arena.
"When adversity hit, we got to try to overcome it," senior forward DeMarre Carroll said. "Those were some big obstacles that hit us, and me, myself, I was determined not to let that dictate our season like it did last year."
The 45-point margin represented the largest win in conference play for the Missouri program, demolishing in the old record of 31. It was the eighth largest victory by any team in Big 12 play.
"We were going to go out tonight and play with all our energy, and you could see we were all over the court," Carroll said. "It's just good that we played with a lot of energy."
It was the fourth loss in Colorado's past five games. The Buffaloes were picked to finish last in the preseason Big 12 Conference poll, and they showed why Wednesday, shooting 24 percent in the first half and committing 26 turnovers in the game.
But the Tigers needed a big win to boost their confidence. They were happy to get it, regardless of the opponent.
Missouri used a balanced team effort and stifling defense to make up for Lyons' absence. Six Tigers scored in double figures, and Missouri held Colorado to 22 points in the first half.
"No one is bigger than the team," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "Of course Leo is absent tonight and it just gave some other guys an opportunity to play."
Freshman forward Laurence Bowers led Missouri with 16 points. Bowers averages under 10 minutes per game and hasn't even entered five of Missouri's games, but Lyons' suspension provided him with a greater opportunity and he took advantage of it.
"Some games I play, some games I don't, and I keep a level head about it," Bowers said. "When adversity hit, I knew what was going to happen, then I just tried to step up to the occasion."
Anderson said that Bowers strong game will earn him minutes even after Lyons returns.
Junior forward Keith Ramsey started in place of Lyons and scored the opening basket of the game. Anderson also inserted Kim English into the starting lineup for Matt Lawrence to spark his team after the Nebraska loss.
"I guess sometimes you want to shake things up just to see what takes place," Anderson said.
English was nervous at first, committing two early turnovers. As the game went along, he settled in. English finished with 12 points in 14 minutes.
"I thought he did well. I thought he came out and did well, and I thought Matt came off the bench and did well," Anderson said. "I have about nine, 10 starters. I really do."
After the game, Anderson said he hadn't decided if Lyons would return for Saturday's game against Iowa State.
"There's some things he's got to do to please the coach right now," Anderson said.