No. 10 Missouri 84, Navy 59
After dispatching its first eight opponents with hot shooting
and quickness, No. 10 Missouri needed a different strategy to
counter Navy on Saturday.
Earlier in the week, Missouri coach Frank Haith said his team
would need to exhibit patience against the Midshipmen, who play at
a slower tempo and are more physical in the paint.
Haith’s words came to fruition as the Tigers overcame an
uncharacteristic slow start and used their defense to pull away
from Navy, 84-59.
Having scored 31 and 28 points in his previous two games, Marcus
Denmon scored 22 and Missouri (9-0) matched its best start since
the 2006-07 season with its 64th straight home victory against
Down early, Missouri went on a 16-3 run to take the lead. The
Tigers finished the first half with a 27-11 burst.
”I feel they came out to a good start, but once the ball’s
thrown up and we started to get a couple of stops, I felt that us
being patient helped us start to take off,” Denmon said.
Ricardo Ratliffe, entering the day leading the Big 12 in field
goal percentage (77.3), made 6 of 9 shots and added 14 points. He
was disappointed with how Missouri started out, and said Haith
challenged the team to match Navy’s intensity during the first
Asked what he told his team, Haith said, ”We need to pick it up
a little bit.”
J.J. Avila scored 26 points for Navy (3-8). The Midshipmen took
a 5-0 lead at the outset but trailed 45-26 by halftime.
”As a team, I thought we played hard,” Avila said. ”Missouri
is a really good team. I think it was a good learning experience
for us, playing someone a lot better. I can’t say we almost had it,
but we played well.”
This was the first matchup between the teams since the first
round of the 1994 NCAA tournament, when the top-seeded Tigers
defeated the No. 16 Midshipmen 76-53. Missouri has won all three
Navy entered the game making 51 percent of its shots from inside
the arc, compared to 29 percent on 3-point attempts. But the
Midshipmen seemed flustered by Missouri’s defensive pressure,
settling for 25 shot attempts from 3-point range out of 55 overall
field goal attempts, including 14 out of 27 in the first half.
Size may have contributed to Navy’s trouble as Missouri was
actually the taller team on the court despite starting four guards.
The Tigers used that advantage en route to grabbing a 40-29
advantage in rebounds and scoring 36 points in the paint.
”It’s hard when you’re on the road, I don’t care who you are,”
first-year coach Ed DeChellis said. ”It’s just really hard to win
on the road. It’s really challenging to win when you’re a young
team and everything is new to them.”
With 13 freshmen and sophomores and only one senior who sees
significant playing time, DeChellis says his team has improved from
the outset of the season.
”We’re trying to grow, mature and develop,” DeChellis
Five players scored in double figures for Missouri, which shot
49.1 percent from the field and entered the day leading the Big 12
in field goal percentage (51.1).
”We have guys that offensively are capable of scoring in double
figures any night,” Denmon said. ”It depends on the team we’re
playing and who’s making shots that night. But it just shows that
we have guys who are capable.”
Navy was able to grab more inside looks in the second half,
including a 24-7 run near the end. The Midshipmen pulled within 17
points with 3:25 remaining in the game but could get no closer.
”It’s easier to slow teams down than it is to speed teams up,”
Missouri guard Kim English said. ”They did a good job playing the
game they wanted. We adjusted, and got out of here with a
Having already played 11 games, the Midshipmen now get a break,
playing only two games in the next three weeks. Their next game is
Dec. 22 at Presbyterian.
Missouri next faces Kennesaw State and William & Mary at
home before traveling to St. Louis to face No. 24 Illinois on Dec.
22 in the teams’ annual Braggin’ Rights game.