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Missouri's Denmon heats up against Cyclones

Saturday, January 17, 2009 | 6:04 p.m. CST; updated 10:03 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 20, 2009

COLUMBIA — Marcus Denmon has found his missing shooting touch.

After struggling for most of the season, the Missouri freshman has made seven of 11 three-point shots in the past two games against Colorado and Iowa State, both blowout wins for Missouri.

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On Saturday against Iowa State, Denmon led the Tigers with 16 points. He says he never lost confidence in his shot, even when it wasn't falling.

"I'm always confident when I go out there," Denmon said. "Whether I'm making or whether I'm missing, I always go out with confidence because it's something that our coach tells us: 'If you get a good shot, take it.'"

For the first 16 games of the season, Denmon was mostly missing. He came into the Colorado game shooting 27 percent from three-point range.

The low point of the season for Denmon came in the Tigers' loss at Nebraska on Jan. 10. Denmon shot just 2-for-7 in that game, including a bad miss on a three-point shot that would have tied the game with four seconds left.

Since that missed shot, Denmon has looked like a totally different player.

Denmon has a reputation for enjoying the spotlight. After Denmon scored 36 points in the Black and Gold scrimmage before the season, several of his teammates said he plays better in front of a crowd than in practice.

Saturday's attendance at Mizzou Arena was 12,403, the largest of the season by far.

"I came out with the same mindset, really. It wasn't like any key game for me," Marcus Denmon said. "I came out like I do for every other game."

The Tigers' improved perimeter shooting has been an important part of Missouri's past two victories. In the Nebraska loss, the Cornhuskers packed their defense back into the lane to stop forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons. Nebraska dared Missouri's guards to beat them from the perimeter, and they couldn't.

Colorado and Iowa State have employed the same strategy, but the Tiger shooters stepped up. Against Colorado, Missouri made 12 three-pointers and shot 60 percent from three-point range.

Missouri came out cold against Iowa State, shooting 29 percent in the first half. But Denmon made three three-pointers in the first eight minutes of the second half to help the Tigers break out of their shooting funk. Missouri shot 10-for-14 from three-point range in the second half to pull away from the Cyclones for a 77-46 victory.

Iowa State coach Greg McDermott said his team wasn't prepared for Denmon's scoring.

"Sometimes you look at statistics, and Denmon was shooting 27 percent on the year, and he makes four of six tonight," McDermott said. "When you have two guys as talented as Carroll and Lyons, you have to give somewhere because those two guys are really difficult to guard one-on-one."


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