COLUMBIA — After Marcus Denmon hit his third of four first-half three-pointers, Mizzou Arena public address announcer Randy Wright summed up Missouri’s first half.
“That’s another three-pointer for Dennnnmon,” Wright announced, drawing out Denmon’s last name with a tone of surprise as if to say: “What’s gotten into this guy?”
The Tigers launched 17 3-point attempts in the first half of their 106-69 win against Oregon on Saturday in front of 9,940 at Mizzou Arena. More importantly, they made nine.
Considering Missouri (5-2) has made as few as two 3-pointer’s in a game this season, it seemed surprising that the Tigers drilled 14 of them against Oregon (4-3). Missouri is not seen as a three-point shooting team, but it can be in a certain type of game.
“When you’re an up-tempo basketball team, and you give the team confidence to run and make plays, you can get into a rhythm where you can make shots,” said Oregon coach Ernie Kent, who has seen the same thing happen to his team.
“Kids aren’t looking over their shoulders as to whether they should shoot the ball,” Kent added.
Watching his team fire away from beyond the arc is nothing new for Missouri coach Mike Anderson.
“They always shoot it (from outside),” Anderson said.
Anderson called Missouri a “run-and-execute” team: get the ball moving down the floor and see what’s open.
“Coach always says take the good shots, and those were the shots that were available,” Denmon said.
“We know when he gets in one of those zones, watch out,” Anderson said.
Denmon tied a season-high with 17 points. He hit three 3-pointers in a two-minute span to help Missouri to a 53-24 lead at half, receiving his own chant from the Missouri student section.
The sophomore took 10 of Missouri’s 29 three-point attempts, taking advantage of skip passes from his teammates.
The Tigers tied a season-high with 28 assists, many of which led to 3-point conversions. They shot 58 percent from the field, compared to the Ducks’ 31 percent on only five assists.
Missouri seemed like it could do no wrong in the first half, but the Tigers came out flat in the second half. They tried (and missed) just two 3’s over the opening eight-plus minutes.
But with 11:31 left Zaire Taylor connected from long-distance to get Missouri back in its three-point groove. The shot started a 15-2 Missouri run over the next two minutes. The Tigers again started to pass the ball quickly and efficiently.
“We’re playing the brand of basketball that I like,” Anderson said. “There were some outstanding passes today…The guys were making the extra pass, as opposed to catching it and trying to figure out what they’re gonna do. And when you do that, it makes the game so much simpler.”
Pac-10 Punch: Missouri walked all over a Pac-10 team for the second-straight year in the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series. A year ago, Missouri routed California 93-66 at Mizzou Arena.
Oregon was 8-23 last year and missed its leading scorer, Tajuan Porter, who played just six minutes with an ankle injury. But Anderson was still surprised that his team made such easy work of the Ducks.
“I’m kind of bewildered, kind of shocked at the score,” Anderson said. “Oregon’s a good basketball team, one that kind of mirrors some of the stuff that we did. And for us to come out and play the way we played this afternoon, a lot of credit goes to our guys.”