COLUMBIA — It didn't take long for Missouri redshirt freshman forward Kadeem Green to make his presence known Thursday.
On his first offensive possession of Thursday's 104-67 win against Kennesaw State, Green ran along the baseline and caught a pass from senior Steve Moore. Without dribbling, he jumped and slammed the ball into the hoop with two hands.
The basket came a little more than five minutes into the second half, and gave the No. 10 Missouri men's basketball team a 19-point lead, its biggest of the game at the time.
It was exactly what senior Kim English has wanted to see out of Green all season.
"Kimmie tells me that when you get on the court, make sure you impact the game," Green said.
Green said English and sophomore Phil Pressey have been the most influential in his development as a player. Green is being thrust into an important role after sitting out last season as redshirt.
"We need Kadeem to continue to grow and develop because he gives us that eighth guy in our rotation," coach Frank Haith said.
Many teams rely on an eight-man rotation to keep players rested but still give their best players a lot of playing time. Green didn't figure to be part of that rotation until senior forward Laurence Bowers suffered a season-ending knee injury in October.
"Right away I knew I needed to step it up," Green said.
Haith only used seven players in last week's win against Villanova but wants to be able to turn to Green later in the season.
Green scored eight points Thursday for the second time this season. The first came against Binghamton on Nov. 27. He said games like those are big confidence boosts for him.
Later in the second half, the 6-foot-8 Green showed the crowd of 8,015 at Mizzou Arena that not only can he score, but he can rebound, too.
After missing a layup with his right hand, he grabbed his own rebound and scored from the left side of the hoop. By the end of the night, he had pulled down six rebounds.
"He had probably one of his better outings tonight, and that was good to see," Haith said.
In addition to Green's eight points, the rest of the Tigers scored 54 points in the paint Thursday, 18 of them from senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe. Ratliffe credited senior Matt Pressey, who had 15 points, with helping the Missouri forwards get points.
"He's one of the best on the team at penetrating, and that really opens up the post," Ratliffe said. "He's one of the guards that really looks to drive first."
Ratliffe led five Missouri players in double figures. Michael Dixon also scored 18, while Marcus Denmon had 17, and English had 13. Phil Pressey had 10 assists and nine points.
Missouri is now 10-0 for the first time since the 1991-92 season, when Green was just a year old. The Tigers face William & Mary (2-8) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mizzou Arena.
Even though conference play is still a few weeks away, the Tigers aren't taking any opponents lightly.
"It doesn't matter if it's Kansas or Christopher Newport (a Division III school) in Virginia," Ratliffe said.