Baylor falls in another top 10 showdown
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Baylor opened the week with dreams of grabbing control in the Big 12 Conference. Now the Bears are forced to regroup.
Quincy Miller scored 20 points, but No. 4 Missouri made a season-high 14 3-pointers during a 72-57 victory over No. 6 Baylor on Saturday.
The Bears (21-4, 8-4) were coming off a 68-54 home loss against Kansas on Wednesday night. They have lost twice this season to Missouri and Kansas and are unbeaten otherwise.
“Teams sometimes are hot, sometimes not as hot,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “We’re obviously not as hot as we were before. I give a lot of credit to Missouri and KU for that.”
The Bears shot just 36 percent against the Tigers, negating a whopping 40-27 rebounding advantage. Perry Jones III had just four points on 2-of-12 shooting.
Phil Pressey scored 19 points for the Tigers (23-1, 10-2), who pulled away in the second half. He had no 3-pointers the previous five games, but stepped up against the slumping Bears.
Ricardo Ratliffe, who scored a career-high 27 points at Baylor on Jan. 21, had six points in the rematch on 3-of-9 shooting.
Anthony Jones said the team made it a point of emphasis to keep the Tigers off the boards, and Baylor did grab 18 offensive boards. The Bears enjoyed an early 13-1 overall rebounding advantage, taking advantage of Missouri’s four-guard attack.
Missouri hit six 3-pointers and Steve Moore had a dunk during a 20-6 run that broke open a one-point game midway through the second half. Dixon had the last two from well beyond the line for a 58-43 cushion with just over eight minutes left, and his 3-pointer started the run.
The Tigers shot 48 percent from the field overall.
“When Missouri is on, there is nobody in the country as good as them offensively,” Drew said. “Nobody. Period. And when I mean `on,’ is when they’re making their 3s. Because they’re as good at getting in the lane and everything, you can’t take away both. So you have to hope they’re not on. They’ve been on a lot this year.”
Sixth man Michael Dixon also had four 3-pointers and Marcus Denmon added three for Missouri, which shot 50 percent from long range. It had 12 3-pointers twice earlier in the season, against Oklahoma and Niagara.
Denmon finished with 16 points, passing Jon Sundvold for 10th on Missouri’s career scoring list. Dixon had 16 points and six assists, and Kim English scored 12 points, all in the second half.
Missouri is 14-0 at home with an average margin of 24 points and got an easier test a week after needing an 11-0 run to beat Kansas by three. Both games were sellouts although the matchup against Baylor, carrying a higher ranking, failed to match that atmosphere.
Still, the Tigers said they were energized by the response from the fans in the second half.
“Yeah, it got pretty loud,” Dixon said. “The crowd does ignite us.”
The 6-foot-11 Perry Jones, a sophomore, is a top NBA prospect, but has struggled in both meetings against Missouri, totaling eight points and four rebounds at home. He also was off at Kansas, getting five points on 1-for-8 shooting.
“Every night we depend on Perry Jones,” Anthony Jones said. “And for him to struggle like that, it kind of hurt us. Our team isn’t the same without him, being Perry Jones.”
“The problem is he’s judged on that potential sometimes,” Drew said, “and that’s hard on everybody.”
Pierre Jackson, who had 20 points and 15 assists in a one-point loss at Missouri at home, had five points on 2-of-9 shooting with five assists in the rematch. Baylor entered the game leading the Big 12 in 3-point shooting but was just 4 for 17 from long range.
“We’re a young team and we just have to get better, because at the end of the day, March is what matters most,” Drew said. “We have to find a way to get better, because we have good kids and good leadership.”
Baylor has lost 11 in a row at Missouri and hasn’t won in Columbia since 1948. The Bears have lost nine in a row to top-10 opponents.