Tigers Earn The Right To Brag

The Missouri Tigers break a long losing streak in Bragging Rights game against Illini

On Wednesday night, at the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis, the Missouri Tigers (8-3) defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini (8-4) by the final score of 81-68.


A pair of Missouri guards, Michael Dixon and Kim English, each played the best game of their young careers.  Dixon's line included 16 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals, against only one turnover in 28 minutes.  He impacted the game even more than his statistics show however, as his defensive pressure and floor leadership spearheaded the torrid pace that had the Illini playing just a little too fast, and helped set up his teammates with easy shots.


English played by far the best game of his life.  He came out from the onset wearing his hard hat, and brought a defensive intensity and toughness that not only contributed to the team defense, but carried over to the offensive end, where he immersed himself into the team concept, and ended up getting numerous open looks within the flow and rhythm that was established by the Tigers' moving and sharing the ball. He played with the blue-collar, or lunch pail mentality of which I spoke earlier, and ended up with 6 rebounds to go with his game-high 24 points on the night.


Illinois' front line players seemingly towered over Missouri's, yet the trio of Keith Ramsey, Laurence Bowers, and Justin Safford played valiantly, and negated much of the advantage in size that the Illini had up front.  Ramsey's play was huge!


After the game, Coach Anderson said, "I thought Ramsey, although he didn't score, had a big, big imprint on this game."


The Tigers came out from the onset with a defensive mindset, and dictated the pace of the game, as well as forced the Illini to turn the ball over 22 times.  That defensive mindset translated into a team approach on the offensive end, as the Tigers shared the ball and took high percentage shots. It also translated into points off turnovers.


Missouri got big contributions from Marcus Denmon and Miguel Paul on a night when Zaire Taylor played sparingly due to a flu-like illness that had him in bed all day leading up to the game, and had him receiving IV fluids immediately prior to the game.  J.T. Tiller was part of the starting five for Missouri that began the game with ferocious defensive intensity.


It was particularly significant that, at the end of the game, Coach Anderson had Dixon, Denmon, and English on the floor to close out the win.  It's become increasingly obvious that this trio has to be on the floor at crunch time.  English still needs to be reminded at times that basketball is a team game, but if he plays the way he did Wednesday night in St. Louis, I can live with the lapses in judgment.


Box Score 
Illinois 68
  Total 3-point  Rebounds
## Player p fgm-fga fgm-fga ftm-fta off-def tot pf tp a to blk stl min
24  DAVIS, Mike  f  5-14  0-0  1-2  6-7  13  3  11  0  5  0  1  37 
54  TISDALE, Mike  c  5-10  0-0  4-5  7-6  13  3  14  0  2  1  1  33 
01  RICHARDSON, D.J.  g  4-12  1-6  2-2  1-2  3  3  11  2  4  0  1  27 
03  PAUL, Brandon  g  4-8  3-4  0-0  4-0  4  1  11  1  2  0  1  19 
32  McCAMEY, Demetri  g  5-13  1-5  2-5  0-5  5  3  13  5  4  0  2  35 
13  JORDAN, Jeff  -  2-4  0-1  0-0  0-0  0  0  4  3  2  0  2  19 
15  CHISHOLM, Bubba  -  0-0  0-0  0-0  0-0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0+ 
23  KELLER, Dominique  -  1-3  0-0  0-0  1-0  1  0  2  0  0  0  0  6 
30  COLE, Bill  -  0-1  0-1  0-0  0-3  3  1  0  2  1  0  1  15 
33  LEGION, Alex  -  0-2  0-1  0-0  0-2  2  0  0  0  1  1  0  5 
42  GRIFFEY, Tyler  -  1-1  0-0  0-0  0-0  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  4 
TM  TEAM  -  -  -  -  1-2  3  -  -  -  1  -  -  - 
  Totals..............  -  27-68  5-18  9-14  20-27  47  14  68  13  22  2  9  200 
39.7%  27.8%  64.3% 
Team summary:  FG 3FG FT
1st Half:  14-31  3-8  3-6 
45.2%  37.5%  50.0% 
2nd Half:  13-37  2-10  6-8 
35.1%  20.0%  75.0% 


Missouri 81
  Total 3-point  Rebounds
## Player p fgm-fga fgm-fga ftm-fta off-def tot pf tp a to blk stl min
15  RAMSEY, Keith  f  1-3  0-0  4-4  2-7  9  2  6  1  4  0  1  28 
21  BOWERS, Laurence  f  2-8  0-1  1-1  3-3  6  4  5  0  1  0  1  15 
04  TILLER, J.T.  g  4-12  0-2  4-4  3-2  5  2  12  5  1  0  1  25 
10  DIXON, Michael  g  6-13  1-4  3-3  0-0  0  1  16  5  1  0  3  28 
24  ENGLISH, Kim  g  8-15  5-10  3-5  2-4  6  1  24  1  3  0  2  35 
03  PAUL, Miguel  -  2-4  1-3  0-0  0-0  0  2  5  1  0  0  0  14 
11  TAYLOR, Zaire  -  0-0  0-0  0-0  0-1  1  1  0  2  0  0  0  4 
12  DENMON, Marcus  -  2-5  2-4  0-0  1-1  2  4  6  1  2  0  0  13 
23  SAFFORD, Justin  -  3-7  1-1  0-0  0-3  3  2  7  3  2  0  2  31 
32  MOORE, Steve  -  0-1  0-0  0-0  0-0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  7 
35  UNDERWOOD, John  -  0-0  0-0  0-0  0-0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0+ 
TM  TEAM  -  -  -  -  3-2  5  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
  Totals..............  -  28-68  10-25  15-17  14-23  37  19  81  19  14  0  10  200 
41.2%  40.0%  88.2% 
Team summary:  FG 3FG FT
1st Half:  16-29  6-11  3-5 
55.2%  54.5%  60.0% 
2nd Half:  12-39  4-14  12-12 
30.8%  28.6%  100 % 
Score by Periods  1st  2nd  Total   
Illinois  34  34  68  Record: (8-4) 
Missouri  41  40  81  Record: (8-3) 


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