Baylor-Missouri Preview

Prevailing in some close games, including two against top 10

opponents, has kept Missouri in contention for a Big 12 title

during its final season in the conference.

The fourth-ranked Tigers will try to use that experience in

Saturday’s rematch with No. 6 Baylor, which will have a final

chance for at least the near future to earn its first win at

Missouri in 64 years.

Missouri (22-2, 9-2), which won its first 14 games this season

by an average of 25.3 points, has claimed its past three victories

by only a combined seven points. Short turnarounds before its most

recent two road games haven’t helped as it had one day of rest

before a 67-66 win over Texas on Jan. 30 and a 71-68 victory over

Oklahoma on Monday.

The Tigers avoided overtime in the latter when the Sooners’

Steven Pledger missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. That win came two

nights after they pulled off a stunning 74-71 home victory over

archrival Kansas by rallying from an eight-point deficit in the

final three minutes.

Missouri, which will play in the SEC next season, remains tied

atop the Big 12 with the No. 7 Jayhawks, who earned a decisive

68-54 win at Baylor on Wednesday.

“(Baylor is) probably the most talented team in our league. They

had a tough game against Kansas, and I expect them to come in here

angry,” Tigers coach Frank Haith said. “We feel good about coming

in here and competing, but we’re going to get Baylor’s best

shot.”

The Bears (21-3, 8-3) are also likely hungry to avenge an 89-88

home defeat to Missouri on Jan. 21, but they’ll have to snap a

10-game losing streak in Columbia to do so. Baylor recorded its

most recent win there and one of two in 12 all-time visits on Dec.

17, 1948.

The Bears have also dropped eight straight to top 10 foes since

an overtime victory at No. 6 Texas on Jan. 30, 2010.

“Kansas did a tremendous job bouncing back after their tough

game with Missouri,” coach Scott Drew said. “We need to do the

exact same thing this Saturday.”

A better performance from Perry Jones III could help. Baylor’s

leading scorer (14.3 ppg) and rebounder (7.7) had five points on

1-of-8 shooting and three boards during the loss at Kansas.

The 6-foot-11 Jones, the Big 12’s preseason player of the year,

was also limited to eight points and four rebounds in the loss to

Missouri. Freshman forward Quincy Miller, meanwhile, had a

career-high 29 points in that game and junior guard Pierre Jackson

contributed 20 points and a career-best 15 assists.

Jackson had a team-best 16 points during Wednesday’s loss.

The Bears will also have to contend with a red-hot Marcus

Denmon. Missouri’s leading scorer has a combined 54 points and has

made 19 of 32 shots (59.4 percent) over the last two games,

including 10 of 18 from 3-point range.

Denmon, second in the Big 12 with 18.0 points per game, shot

33.8 percent over the 12 games before that stretch and was 11 of 43

(25.6 percent) in his previous three. The senior guard missed six

of seven shots from outside the arc against Baylor but finished

with 17 points.

Ricardo Ratliffe, who leads the nation with a 75.5 field goal

percentage, had a career-high 27 points while making 11 of 14

shots.

Missouri’s win was its fourth in the last five meetings, and the

Tigers lead the series 14-10.