Baylor comes in off of a 54-68 home loss to Kansas.
The Tigers come in off of a 71-68 road win over Oklahoma, and in a tie with Kansas for first place in the Big 12 Conference.
Like Missouri, Baylor features four double-digit scorers, including one of the league's top point guards, in 5'10" junior guard Pierre Jackson, who is averaging 12.9 points/game, 5.8 assists/game, and 1.8 steals/game, and who carries a 1.6 assist/turnover ratio into Saturday's contest. Jackson is quite a threat on both ends of the floor. He's a good defender, and on offense, he's a tremendous triple threat.
Baylor's leading scorer and rebounder is 6'11" sophomore forward Perry Jones III (14.3 points/game, 7.7 rebounds/game). A 6'7" senior forward, Quincy Acy (12.4 points/game, 7.1 rebounds/game, 2.2 blocks/game), gives Baylor a veteran inside presence to compliment the versatile 6'9" freshman Quincy Miller (12 points/game, 5.1 rebounds/game), and the 3-PT sharp-shooter, 6'2" sophomore guard Brady Heslip (9.2 points/game).
Baylor Starters (21-3) - Based on the most recent game
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 01 Perry Jones III 6-11 235 So. 14.3 7.7 0.9 0.8 Duncanville, Texas
F 04 Quincy Acy 6-7 235 Sr. 12.4 7.1 0.8 1.1 Mesquitte, Texas
F 30 Quincy Miller 6-9 210 Fr. 12.0 5.1 1.5 0.7 Chicago, Ill.
G 05 Brady Heslip 6-2 180 So. 9.2 1.4 1.6 0.8 Burlington, Ontario
G 55 Pierre Jackson 5-10 180 Jr. 12.9 2.9 5.8 0.8 Las Vegas, Nev.
Coming off of the bench for the Bears is 6'1" junior guard A.J. Walton, who averages 3 assists/game and 1.5 steals/game. Walton carries a 1.4 assist/turnover ratio into the game against Missouri.
Baylor leads the Big 12 with their 40% 3-PT FG%. The two Bears who take the most 3-PT shots, Heslip and Jackson, are making 44% and 47% of their 3-PT shots respectively. For Heslip, 5 out of every 6 shots that he takes are from behind the 3-PT line. As a team, almost one-third of the Bears field goal attempts come from beyond the arc. Heslip and Jackson account for over half of Baylor's 3-PT field goal attempts. Other Bears who shoot a good percentage from behind the arc are Miller (42% 3-PT FG%), and off of the Baylor bench, 6'2" sophomore guard Gary Franklin (38% 3-PT FG%).
Also off of the bench for Coach Drew, who regularly plays 9 players, are 6'9" sophomore forward Cory Jefferson (1.5 blocks/game), and 6'10" senior forward Anthony Jones.
Baylor ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring at 75.8 points/game. The Bears have the third-highest field goal percentage in the conference, lead the Big 12 in blocked shots at 5.7 blocks/game, are second in the conference in steals, at 8.4 steals/game, and are third in the conference in assists (15.2 assists/game).
Missouri won 89-88 at Baylor earlier this season.
"Baylor is our most important game because it's our next game," explained Coach Haith, talking about Missouri's next opponent. "We've got to be ready to play. We know we're playing a top 10 team, so it's a great opportunity for us. And, it's a team we beat earlier in the year, so we know that we'll get their best game."
For Missouri, it appears that in the last two games that the Tigers' All-American candidate Marcus Denmon has regained his shooting touch. Less than 48 hours after he scored 29 points against Kansas, Denmon showed up big for the Tigers with 25 points at Oklahoma. He leads Missouri, and is second in the Big 12, at 18 points/game. He's also pulling down 5.3 rebounds/game, and is averaging 2.3 assists/game, and 1.5 steals/game.
Denmon needs to score just 8 points on Saturday to move ahead of Jon Sundvold into 10th place on Missouri's all-time career scoring list.
"Marcus Denmon is a warrior," said Coach Haith. "He's tough! He's really mentally tough, competitive. He's just a great player!"
Ricardo Ratliffe is averaging 14.3 points/game and 6.8 rebounds/game. His NCAA-record pace 76% FG% leads the country.
Kim English is scoring 14 points/game, and his 47% 3-PT FG% leads the conference.
Mike Dixon comes off of the bench with 12.3 points/game, to give the Tigers four double-digit scorers.
Phil Pressey is averaging 9.3 points/game, and is leading the Big 12 with 6 assists/game and 2.3 steals/game.
Missouri Starters (22-2) - Based on the most recent game
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 10 Ricardo Ratli?e 6-8 240 Sr. 14.3 6.8 0.7 0.8 Hampton, Va.
G 12 Marcus Denmon 6-3 185 Sr. 18.0 5.3 2.3 1.5 Kansas City, Mo.
G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 Sr. 14.0 4.2 1.6 1.3 Baltimore, Md.
G 03 Matt Pressey 6-2 195 Sr. 7.4 3.5 1.8 1.0 Dallas, Texas
G 01 Phil Pressey 5-10 175 So. 9.3 3.3 6.0 2.3 Dallas, Texas
This is the fourth straight season that Missouri has won 20 games, which is tied for the school record.
This year's seniors have been in on 99 wins during their four-year careers at Missouri. One more win this season will match the school record of 100 wins in a four-year period, established by the 1979-1983 teams led by Jon Sundvold and Steve Stipanovich.
Coach Haith said that the time off following Monday's game at Oklahoma has been good for his players to get rested and recharged. He said that the Tigers have focused this week on getting better on the defensive end.
"We've got to get back to playing better defense, now," said Coach Haith. "That's our focus. And, get back to rebounding, doing the little things. I think we've gotten away from that a little bit…………………………………. We've got to keep guys in front of us. We've allowed too much dribble penetration. We've got to guard the ball better. We're allowing people to put the ball on our big guys and get them in foul trouble. That's what we've got to do first and foremost. And in rebounding, we're not having physical block outs. We're not going and hitting people, and then running down loose rebounds like we were at one point in time."
Mike Dixon said that the players have their legs back under them. He talked about the team's current focus.
"We've won these last two games, but we haven't done a really great job of playing defense," explained Dixon. "That's something that can come back to haunt us. So, that's something that we're trying to hone back in on during practice. Defense is a mindset. It's about heart, really."
Record: 22-2 21-3
FGM: 671 644
FGA: 1339 1338
FG %: .501 .481
3pt FGM: 186 168
3pt FGA: 489 425
3FG %: .380 .395
FTM: 404 364
FTA: 527 496
FT % .767 .734
Points: 1932 1820
Per Game: 80.5 75.8
Reb./Gm 32.6 37.0
Steals 9.1 8.4
Assists: 15.9 15.2
Blocks: 3.0 5.7