Missouri-Texas A&M Preview

A pair of decisive victories in its own building kept Missouri

in contention for a Big 12 title.

Road games have been more of a struggle recently.

Coach Frank Haith thinks his third-ranked Tigers are in for

another close game when he returns to Texas A&M on Saturday

afternoon and tries to lead his program to its first win there in

11 years.

Missouri (24-2, 11-2) has won six straight overall, but both of

its losses this season have come on the road, where its last three

wins have come by a total of five points.

After winning its previous three games – two on the road – by a

combined seven points, Missouri returned home to defeat then-No. 6

Baylor 72-57 last Saturday and Oklahoma State – one of two teams to

beat the Tigers this season – in an 83-65 rout Wednesday.

Marcus Denmon had 17 points Wednesday to lead five Missouri

players in double figures and push his team back into a tie with

arch-rival Kansas for the Big 12 lead. Denmon is shooting 57.4

percent (31 of 54) overall and 51.5 percent from 3-point range (17

of 33) over his last four games.

Missouri has lost its five visits to College Station, where it

hasn’t won since Feb. 17, 2001. The Tigers nearly ended that

drought last season before falling 91-89 in overtime. Denmon and

Ricardo Ratliffe – the nation’s current leader in field goal

percentage (73.4) – had 19 points apiece for Missouri, while Khris

Middleton scored 28 to lead the Aggies (13-12, 4-9).

Texas A&M held Missouri to 40.4 percent shooting in Columbia

on Jan. 16 but shot even worse (35.4 percent) itself en route to a

70-51 loss that ended an eight-game overall winning streak in the


Haith, though, is expecting a different game in this matchup

with Aggies coach Billy Kennedy, an assistant under him at Miami in


“Texas A&M is playing a lot better, and will be in full

force,” he said. “I know their coach very well and I know that they

will play great defense, they’ll play physical. We played well (at

home) but I know when we go there, they’re going to attack us in

the paint, so we’re going to have to defend the paint against


The Aggies are averaging 61.4 points – nearly seven fewer than

in 2010-11. They do remain one of the Big 12’s best defenses,

allowing an average of 63.4 points in conference play.

Texas A&M snapped a season-high, four-game skid by rallying

for a 47-38 win at last-place Texas Tech on Tuesday. Defense once

again carried the Aggies, who won despite shooting 34.0 percent.

Leading scorer Elston Turner (14.6 ppg) was the only player in

double figures with 16.

Haith is making his first appearance at Texas A&M since he

was an associate head coach there in 1996-97. He also served as an

assistant in College Station from 1992-95 before leaving for Penn


Despite Texas A&M’s recent run of dominance, Missouri holds

a 12-10 lead in the all-time series between these future SEC