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Taylor's shot sinks Longhorns

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 | 11:15 p.m. CST; updated 9:13 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 5, 2009
Missouri guard Zaire Taylor made 3-of-4 three-pointers and led Missouri with 17 points in Wednesday's victory at No. 16 Texas. "He made a lot of momentum shots," Tigers coach Mike Anderson said.

Missouri's road struggles were put to rest in dramatic fashion Wednesday night in Austin, Texas.

Zaire Taylor's driving basket and free throw broke a tie with 5.5 seconds left to lead the Tigers to a 69-65 win over No. 16 Texas. Taylor made 3-of-4 three-pointers and led Missouri with 17 points.

"He made a lot of momentum shots," Anderson said in a postgame interview on the Tiger radio network. "He hit a couple threes in the second half where we could get into our defense."

It was the Missouri men's basketball team's second Big 12 Conference road win in four tries and the team's first win with under 75 points. Anderson was impressed with the improvement from last Wednesday's game, when Missouri lost 89-72.

"I thought our guys learned from the last experience we had at Kansas State," Anderson said. "We didn’t get rattled."

Missouri's offense stuck with its usual formula of starting inside and moving out. Senior forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons made an impact early in the Tigers' second win against a Top 25 team this year. The two leading scorers poured in 14 straight points after J.T. Tiller made the first basket of the game.

"I think now our guys are starting to realize that things start on the inside," Anderson said during media day at Mizzou Arena Monday. "If we can get those guys started inside, it makes it a lot easier scoring from the outside."

Establishing an early presence inside has been crucial for every Missouri win outside of Mizzou Arena. Carroll and Lyons scored 15 of the team's first 21 against Southern California in Puerto Rico, and eight of the first 12 at Georgia.

Even the forwards on the bench have contributed to the success early in games. Ramsey and Stafford helped the four Tiger forwards get 15 of the first 21 in the big win against USC in Puerto Rico. When Ramsey got the start at Oklahoma State, he and Carroll combined for 13 of the first 17 in Missouri's first Big 12 road win.

Despite its great start Wednesday night, the Tigers had to fight back from a 12-point deficit in the first half. Carroll and Lyons were benched with just over 11 minutes remaining, and the Longhorns took advantage with a 13-0 run.

Missouri's three-point shooters have taken advantage of the extra space created by all of the inside scoring. Even with the line moved back an extra foot this season, the Tigers are shooting 36.6 percent compared to 33.4 percent last season.


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