Limiting Ratliffe doesn't slow Missouri men's basketball team

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | 8:38 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — When it comes to finding a way to defeat the Missouri men’s basketball team, trying to limit senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe hasn’t been the answer.

In Missouri’s past two games, Texas Tech held Ratliffe to eight points, and Texas limited him to 13, but the Tigers still came away with two wins. Ratliffe averages 14.7 points per game but has a season high of 27 points.

Texas coach Rick Barnes said he thought his team did a good job defending Ratliffe inside and wanted to get him in foul trouble. By the end of Monday’s game in Austin, Texas, Ratliffe had committed four fouls against the Longhorns. However, Barnes noted that Ratliffe was doing everything he could not to foul. 

“He still had 13 points. He gets everything if he has an angle. He's one of the reasons they shoot such a high percentage,” Barnes said.

Though his points have been limited the past couple games, Ratliffe is still No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage, averaging 75.1 percent from the field. The next closest player is Mike Glover from Iona College in New York, who is shooting 67.1 percent.

Senior guard Kim English has noticed different tactics coaches have used to try and limit the Tigers, including shutting down Ratliffe, but Missouri’s lineup is stocked with shooters.

“Different coaches have different game plans,” English said. “Bruce Weber’s game plan was to take away me and Marcus. Fred Hoiberg’s was to take away Marcus. Billy Gillispie’s was to take away Ricardo. We have an offense with weapons.” 

In Missouri’s game against Texas, junior guard Michael Dixon led the Tigers with 21 points and scored a layup that ended up giving the Tigers the win at Texas.

The Tigers had a 10-point lead with four minutes left in the game, but Texas chipped away and gained the lead with less than a minute left. During the timeouts near the end of the game, Missouri coach Frank Haith said he encouraged his players to focus on plays that would win the game.

“In the heat of the battle, there is no time to stress,” Haith said. “I want our guys to trust each other and believe we were going to win the game. That is what we were stressing.”

No. 4 Missouri (20-2, 7-2) will spend the rest of the week preparing to play No. 8 Kansas (17-4, 7-1) on Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The Jayhawks, coming off a loss at Iowa State, will host Oklahoma on Wednesday before traveling to Columbia to take on the Tigers.

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