On Monday, the #5 Missouri Tigers (17-1, 4-1) defeated the visiting Texas A&M Aggies (10-7, 1-4) by the final score of 70-51.
Missouri converted 27 of 31 free throw attempts, and scored 20 points off of 15 Texas A&M turnovers, to separate themselves from the Aggies.
"It was a huge win," said Coach Haith, after his team's first win over Texas A&M in years.
Coach Billy Kennedy's club grabbed an early 17-14 lead midway through the first half, before Missouri turned up their defensive intensity, and went on a 28-2 run late in the first half.
Texas A&M made a run early in the second half, and cut Missouri's lead to 10 points in the middle of the second half. But again, Missouri turned up their defensive intensity, and the Tigers did a good job of closing out the victory.
"I thought our guys showed tremendous toughness tonight," said Coach Haith. "It was rough and tough in the first half, but we knew it was going to be like that. They're a good defensive team, and we had to work to get shots............................................. .... They made runs. We withstood (their runs), and we made the plays at the end to stretch it back out. Obviously, we got to the free throw line, and we made free throws."
The Tigers didn't shoot the ball very well against the physical Aggies, as Denmon was 1-7 from 3-PT land, and Kim English, who finished with 8 points, was just 2-9 from the field. The Tigers finished the night shooting 40% from the field, and just 29% from behind the arc. But Missouri out-rebounded the much bigger Aggies 38-26, and outscored Texas A&M in the paint by a 22-16 margin.
"We're not very big, but we're quick," explained Coach Haith. "It's an emphasis for our team to block out, and going to get those rebounds."