COLUMBIA — Five seniors on this season's Missouri men’s basketball can claim the most victories for the program over a four-year span.
On Wednesday night, when Missouri played Oklahoma State at Mizzou Arena and came away with an 83-65 victory, those seniors set a school record by notching 101 career wins as Tigers.
No. 3 Missouri (24-2, 11-2 Big 12)
at Texas A&M (13-12, 4-9 Big 12)
WHEN: 1 p.m.
WHERE: Reed Arena, College Station, Texas
RADIO: KCMQ/96.7 FM
The 1979-83 team, which included Steve Stipanovich and Jon Sundvold, accumulated 100 career victories and four conference championships, along with two Sweet Sixteen appearances in the NCAA tournament.
“You're going to get some accolades along the way if you're really getting better every single day, and so I guess that's a testament of us and our preparation every week," senior guard Kim English said.
English, along with forwards Steve Moore and Laurence Bowers, and guards Marcus Denmon and Jarrett Sutton have played for the Tigers since the 2008-09 season when they went 31-7 and won the Big 12 tournament. They defeated Cornell, Marquette and Memphis in the NCAA tournament to advance to the Elite Eight before losing to Connecticut.
Those five Missouri seniors might have the most wins recorded in a four-year period for the school, but they will go into College Station, Texas, on Saturday without ever having won a game there.
The Tigers’ 70-51 victory over Texas A&M on Jan. 16 at Mizzou Arena snapped the seniors’ four-game losing streak to the Aggies. During their career, they dropped two games in College Station, Texas, one in Columbia and one in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship last year.
“We played well here (at Mizzou Arena), but I know when we go there, they're going to attack us in the paint, so we're going to have to defend the paint against them," Missouri head coach Frank Haith said.
Haith was an assistant coach at Texas A&M from 1992 to 1995 and an associate head coach from 1996 to 1997. Texas A&M’s head coach Billy Kennedy served as an assistant coach under Haith at Miami from 2005 to 2006. It is Kennedy’s first year as head coach at Texas A&M.
“I know their coach very well, and I know that they will play great defense. They'll play physical,” Haith said.
The last time the two teams met, Texas A&M had 16 points in the paint to Missouri’s 22 and 26 rebounds to Missouri’s 38.
The race for the Big 12 regular season championship between Missouri and Kansas is a close one. Both teams’ conference records are tied at 11-2, but that isn’t on junior guard Michael Dixon’s mind.
"We only worry about what we're going to do,” Dixon said. “We can't control anything that anybody else does, and we got Texas A&M on Saturday, so that's what we're going to get ready for."