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Columbia Missourian

Phil Pressey's defense inspires Tigers' defensive thinking

By Laura Oberle
February 13, 2012 | 8:48 p.m. CST
Baylor's Pierre Jackson, left, forces his way around Missouri's Phil Pressey, right, during the first half of the men's basketball game Saturday.

COLUMBIA — The key to Missouri's 72-57 victory over Baylor on Saturday wasn't the Tigers' 14  3-pointers. 

It wasn't Steve Moore's house-rocking dunk over Baylor's Anthony Jones. 

Wednesday's game

Oklahoma State (12-13, 5-7) at
No. 3 Missouri (23-2,10-2 Big 12)

WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Mizzou Arena
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM; KCMQ/96.7 FM

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It wasn't even Phil Pressey's offensive performance, leading the Tigers with 19 points.

It was what Pressey did on defense, holding his counterpart Pierre Jackson, who is averaging 12.6 points per game, to five points. 

"Watching him on tape, he was terrific," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "He did a great job on Pierre Jackson. That was the key to the game."

Baylor coach Scott Drew acknowledged Pressey's impact in both matchups against Missouri. 

"Phil Pressey has played two very good games against us," Drew said. "Coming in, we needed him not to have one of those games."

Haith said that his staff is giving defense a lot of attention.

This increased focus is mainly because Missouri has proven it has one of the best offenses in the country. At 80 points per game, Missouri leads the Big 12 and is No. 7 in the nation.

Drew said after Saturday's game, "When Missouri is on, there is nobody in the country that is as good as them offensively. Nobody."

"We're a really good team offensively," Haith said. "I want to be a really good team defensively, and then you can be a complete ball club."

Haith said his team sometimes falls into the trap of only playing good defense after scoring. He wants his team to understand they have to be defensive regardless of whether a shot was good.

"Guys get energized and play good defense when they score," Haith said. "You see guys when they have a nice bucket, and all of a sudden, they're ready to play D."

Sitting at a press table, he hunched down, looking up as if watching a shot go in, and laughs. 

"Really good teams don't do that," Haith said. "You've got to play defense all the time."