Missouri men's basketball looks to return to win column

Monday, January 10, 2011 | 8:48 p.m. CST; updated 10:59 a.m. CST, Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Missouri guard Kim English struggles against the Colorado defense in Saturday's loss.

COLUMBIA — Missouri’s Kim English is waiting for Colorado to come to Mizzou Arena on Feb. 5.

As the final seconds ticked away during Colorado's 89-76 victory over Missouri on Saturday in Boulder, Colo., the Buffaloes' Alec Burks threw his towel up in the air as he ran onto the court to celebrate the upset over the then-No. 9 Tigers. Burks had played a key role in the game, scoring a career-high 36 points.

Afterwards, English said he won't forget comments Burks and his teammate Cory Higgins made after the game.

“Everybody wanted to test them (Missouri) out to see what they really are,” Burks said. Higgins, who had 18 points for the Buffaloes, added that the victory felt great, but that they had “expected to win this game.”

Now, English says he has Feb. 5 marked on his calendar.

“They were running their mouths a little bit, but we’ll see them again,” English said Monday. “It’s good that they have that confidence, but we always try and be gracious in victory and humble in defeat. We take pride in that. But, they said what they said, and we’ll see them again on Feb. 5.”

But English also said he and the Tigers can’t worry too much about the loss, because Missouri will play six Big 12 Conference games before it sees Colorado again.

“None of us are used to losing, and sometimes when you lose, you can be down for so long,” English said. “But in conference play, you got to take the loss in stride. You don’t want one loss to turn into two. With every win and loss, you’ve got to take it in stride.”

Nothing went right for Missouri against Colorado, which had lost its previous nine games against the Tigers. Besides not stopping Burks, the Tigers were outrebounded 47-33.

“Going into that game, we thought, we’re No. 8 (in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll) in the country, we’re going to blow these guys out,” Ratliffe said. “We went in there thinking it’s the same old Colorado that we’ve been playing. We took them lightly, and they showed us that they’re a lot better than what we thought.”

The loss wasn't the first a promising Missouri team suffered in its conference opener. During the 2008-09 season, the Tigers entered their Big 12 opener at Nebraska with 13-2 record, but lost 56-51. After that, though, Missouri won 12 straight, went on to win the Big 12 tournament and advance to the Elite Eight in that season's NCAA Tournament.

Missouri coach Mike Anderson said it's just a matter of getting back to playing the way the Tigers did this season during nonconference play, where the Tigers posted a 14-1 record.

“I hope they woke up,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. “I thought we crossed that bridge before (following the loss to Georgetown on Nov. 30). They’re all ears now. We’ve been taking baby steps in the right direction, and I think we took a big step back on Saturday.”

Missouri plays next against Nebraska on Wednesday night at Mizzou Arena. The Cornhuskers beat Missouri in the first round of last year’s Big 12 Tournament.

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Drew Officer January 11, 2011 | 8:01 p.m.

Let's hope the Tigers have put Complacency on the shelf, there to stay for the rest of the basketball season.

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