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Columbia Missourian

Tigers get all-around strong effort from Lyons

By Luke Thompson
February 21, 2009 | 4:03 p.m. CST
Missouri guard Marcus Denmon (12) and forward Leo Lyons (5) go up for a rebound as Colorado forward Austin Dufault (33) looks on during the second half of the Missouri-Colorado basketball game in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday. Missouri beat Colorado 66-53.

Leo Lyons is back to making an impact on more than just the scoreboard.

The senior forward had nine points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in the first half  to lead Missouri to a 66-53 victory Saturday at Colorado. Even though foul trouble kept him on the bench for the majority of the second half, Lyons still finished with team-highs of 13 points and 15 rebounds for his first double-double since December.


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Lyons was serving a one-game suspension and didn't play in Missouri's 107-62 victory over Colorado on Jan. 14.

"Leo was a guy that played athletic for us tonight," Anderson said in a radio interview on the Mizzou Radio Network. "He didn't play in the game there in Columbia, so I guess he was trying to make up for it and any time he gets 15 rebounds and 13 points, that's pretty good."

Following a 30-point, six-rebound performance against Baylor, Lyons got only eight rebounds in the next three games. Before grabbing 10 rebounds last week at Nebraska, he was averaging slightly more than four rebounds per game in Big 12 play.

In Missouri's win over  Kansas, when he was matched up against 6-foot-11 Cole Aldrich, Lyons spent most of his time on the perimeter and made just four of 15 shots. Since then, the 6-foot-9, 244-pound forward has done a lot more inside the paint.

"I had an advantage because I didn’t play (Colorado) the first time," Lyons said in a phone interview. "So you could see they were doubling DeMarre (Carroll) in the beginning and they weren’t doubling me."

Carroll, Missouri's leading scorer and rebounder, was held to 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting against the Buffaloes. The senior forward still had a big impact on the game, grabbing seven rebounds and making four assists.

Lyons has pulled down 25 rebounds in two games against Nebraska and Colorado, the two worst rebounding teams in the conference. The Tigers will face a tougher challenge Wednesday at Mizzou Arena against Kansas State The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in rebounds.

Lyons' willingness to attack the basket has been rewarded at the free-throw line, where he has made 12 of 13 free throws in the past two games. The Tigers' leader in free throws attempted has made opponents pay this season, shooting nearly 83 percent in conference play. In his first three years at Missouri, Lyons made barely more than 60 percent of his free throws.

"Me and Kimmie (English), we just go in (to the gym) late at night and work on free throws," Lyons said. "It's been paying off on the court."

Inconsistency has been Lyons' biggest problem throughout his career, and it has shown up again this season. Saturday's game was the tenth time he has led the team in rebounds, but he has also had ten games with four rebounds or less.

"Leo, I saw him going and getting rebounds," Anderson said. "He played with a sense of urgency and that's what our basketball team's got to do."