Missouri basketball routs Northwestern State 90-56

Friday, December 2, 2011 | 10:43 p.m. CST; updated 3:31 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 3, 2011
Missouri senior guard Marcus Denmon drives the ball against Northwestern State junior guard Shamir Davis on Friday night at Mizzou Arena. Denmon scored a career-high 31 points.

COLUMBIA — Marcus Denmon and Michael Dixon might make ESPN's SportsCenter tonight.

In the second half of Friday's 90-56 win against Northwestern State, Dixon was on a fast break when he saw Denmon ahead of him, moving fast toward the basket. Before he even got to the three-point arc, Dixon lobbed an alley-oop pass to Denmon, who jumped up and slammed the ball into the basket with one hand.


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The play resembled one Missouri fans might recognize: a 2009 alley-oop from Matt Lawrence to Laurence Bowers, which was No. 1 on SportsCenter's list of top-10 plays the next morning.

Denmon wouldn't say exactly how often he and his teammates practice plays like that.

"Maybe once every now and then," he said with a smirk.

Denmon and Dixon both scored career highs on Friday. Denmon scored 31, topping the 27 that he scored in two games last season. He made seven 3-pointers.

"My teammates were finding me in open spots," Denmon said.

Dixon scored 19 points and surpassed the 18 he scored against Old Dominion last season.

Denmon is leading the Tigers in scoring with 20.3 points per game. Dixon is averaging 11.6 points per game off the bench.

"I told Mike to just let the game come to him," Denmon said. "The offense we run and the way we play, everyone's gonna be successful from it."

Missouri coach Frank Haith was pleased so many of his players contributed.

"When you've got production off the bench, it really helps your team," Haith said. "We have a nice little rotation there."

Mizzou Arena was more filled than it had been for any other game this season, with 12,252 in attendance. The reaction to the alley-oop was the loudest the crowd got all night.

The only time the noise level even came close was during a halftime festivity in which two kids ran to half court, put on a Missouri player-size jersey and shorts, and raced to the other end of the court to make a layup in the over-size uniform.

The boy wearing the gold Missouri uniform struggled with the shirt as the boy in the white jersey took an early lead heading down court. After three missed layups from the boy in the white jersey, the boy in gold made it down court and scored his first layup, much to the satisfaction of the crowd. Most of the MU student section jumped and cheered, and some exchanged high-fives.

Fans had plenty to cheer about before and after halftime as Missouri won its seventh game of the season. The Tigers are 7-0 for the first time since 2006. They continue their season on Tuesday against Villanova at the Jimmy V Classic in New York City.

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Karen Mitchell December 3, 2011 | 10:00 a.m.

The play was No. 8 on the Top Ten this morning.

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