Missouri men's basketball players Bowers, Pressey aware of expectations

Thursday, November 15, 2012 | 8:52 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The No. 14-ranked Missouri men's basketball team has started the season with two wins against two lower-level Division I basketball teams, Alcorn State and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. 

Missouri has won by an average of 25.5 points in the two games, and that, in itself, poses a challenge.

“You’re expected to win,” said senior forward Laurence Bowers, who is averaging 17.0 points in the two wins. “But we’ve all seen that anybody can beat anybody. You just can’t take games for granted; you can’t be complacent. You can’t come into the game thinking, ‘Oh, we’re going to win,’ because they put on their shoes just like we do.

“Teams of that stature are going to try to get under your skin. They feel like we get so many privileges, being at a high D-I. I guess they feel like it’s given to us, and we don’t have to work as hard.”

Junior guard Phil Pressey agrees. The Southeastern Conference Preseason Player of the Year has lived up to his title so far, leading the Tigers in scoring, with 20.0 points per game, and assists with, 5.5 per game.

“It’s just trying to stay focused through the whole game. I mean, you could go up 20, and start getting bored and start being sloppy with the basketball,” Pressey said. “But with the high Division I teams, those guys, you slip up early, you can get down by 20 yourself. So, you just got to stay focused throughout the whole game no matter who you’re playing.”

The Tigers face yet another lower-level Division I team Friday night in Nicholls State (1-1), but after that, the schedule gets tougher.

Missouri will head to Nassau, Bahamas, for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament set for Nov. 22 to 24, where the Tigers are set to face Stanford, the 2012 National Invitation Tournament champion, in the first round.

Other teams in the tournament are No. 2-ranked Louisville, No. 9-ranked Duke and No. 17-ranked Memphis.

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