Missouri has easily handled its first five opponents, whether
they’ve been ranked or unranked.
The No. 21 Tigers would seem to have a good chance at continuing
that trend Sunday when they return home to seek their best start in
five seasons against winless Binghamton.
Missouri has won all of its games by 15 or more points with an
average margin of 85.2-58.8. It appeared the Tigers (5-0) would
finally get a challenge with a matchup against No. 20 California in
the CBE Classic championship game Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.
Instead, Missouri thumped the Golden Bears 92-53 behind a
season-best 58.8 percent shooting. The Tigers’ pressure defense
also forced a season-high 21 turnovers during their most lopsided
win over a ranked opponent in school history.
“This is the best I’ve felt in my four years, because it’s the
most selfless team I’ve played on. We’re all 10 guys, plus three
transfers – we’re buying into the process every day,” said senior
guard Kim English, whose 19 points led six players in double
English, second on the Tigers with 16.0 points, might be ready
for a strong final season after seeing his scoring average drop by
four to 10.0 during his junior campaign. He’s also shooting 56.5
percent in the first five games after failing to top 40.0 percent
in his first three seasons.
Fellow senior guard Marcus Denmon, meanwhile, is seeking to
build on his best season (16.9 ppg) and has averaged 19.6 in the
first five contests, one of five players in double figures for
Missouri. Some more strong performances from both players might be
enough to help their team match its 9-0 start from 2006-07.
“We’re working. We’re a work in progress,” Denmon said. “We
continue to do the things we need to do to get better as a team.
… Everything else will take care of itself.”
The Tigers should be more than enough to take care of the
Bearcats, who have dropped three straight road games by an average
of 17.7 points and have failed to score more than 49 in each of
their past two.
Binghamton shot a season-low 31.8 percent during a 66-43 loss to
St. Peter’s last Sunday. Leading scorer Robert Mansell (16.3 ppg)
was held to nine points and freshman big man Ben Dickinson had five
after averaging 18.3 in his first three games.
This is the first matchup between Missouri and Binghamton. It’s
also the Tigers’ first game against an America East Conference