Tigers finish off Coppin State 88-55

The Tigers wrapped up their 2008-09 non-conference schedule with a decisive 88-55 win over the Coppin State Eagles Tuesday night, improving their record to 13-2, Mizzou's best start since the 1994-95 campaign. The Tigers open conference play this Saturday against Nebraska in Lincoln.

The Tigers wrapped up their 2008-09 non-conference schedule with a decisive 88-55 win over the Coppin State Eagles Tuesday night, improving their record to 13-2, Mizzou's best start since the 1994-95 campaign.

Tuesday's win also marked the 36th consecutive home win against a non-conference opponent, extending the longest streak of that sort in school history.

Three point specialists Matt Lawrence and Kim English got the Tigers started off early, combining for 26 first-half points.

Head coach Mike Anderson was very pleased with Lawrence and English's performances.

"We talked about it, just put it in the hole," Anderson instructed the duo prior to the game. "That's all that needs to take place and it seemed like they were in a good rhythm and it's good to see that."

Lawrence made his first six attempts from beyond the arc, and finished six-of-seven on the evening with 18 of his 19 points coming from behind the three-point line.

English missed his final three three-point field goal attempts, finishing three-of-six with all nine of his points coming from deep.

The Tigers led big most of the game, allowing some of their young guys to get more playing time than they're used to.

Freshmen Miguel Paul, English, Steve Moore, and Laurence Bowers along with sophomore Justin Safford all played more than their season average Tuesday. Those extra minutes equaled the opportunity for some of those youngsters to get some experience before the start of Big 12 play. Paul capitalized on the surplus playing time by scoring 11 points off the bench.

Senior center Leo Lyons sat much of the game because of foul trouble, and scored a season-low four points against the Eagles. If the Tigers want to get open conference play with a win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, Lyons will have to improve on Tuesday's performance.

The Tigers' exceptional start to the 08-09 season has many Mizzou faithful thinking about an NCAA tournament bid.

With 13 wins and just two losses in the bank, a winning conference record could get the Tigers their first invite to the "big dance" since 2003.

Some of the highlights of Missouri's non-conference schedule include wins over Pac-10 opponents USC and Cal. Missouri's only two losses came against quality foes in no. 16 Xavier (11-2) and Illinois (13-2).

The Tigers open conference play Saturday at 1:00 pm in Lincoln, Neb. against the rivaled Cornhuskers.

"We get a chance to go on the road so hopefully we can call in the experience we had at Georgia," Anderson said. "That kind of effort is needed and even more because now we're playing a Nebraska team that's going to be pumped up and ready I'm sure, playing at their place, first conference game, so they'll be a lot of emotion in that big of a game."


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