No. 3 Missouri 71, Texas A&M 62

Expected to contend for the Big 12 title this season, injuries

and inconsistent play have instead sunk Texas A&M to among the

league’s worst teams.

Kim English scored 21 points and Marcus Denmon had a key

3-pointer late to lift No. 3 Missouri to its seventh straight win,

71-62 over Texas A&M on Saturday.

”This year has been tough on everybody, but this team is going

to keep on fighting,” Texas A&M’s Khris Middleton said. ”We

got down and we fought back.”

Missouri tied a school record with its 12th Big 12 win.

Texas A&M cut the lead to five points on a 3-pointer by

Elston Turner with 1:22 remaining. A turnover by Phil Pressey on

the next play gave A&M the ball back.

David Loubeau had a chance to get A&M within three points,

but he was called for an offensive foul when he knocked Steve Moore

to the ground going up for the shot.

”Steve is really good at moving his feet and getting in

position to make those plays,” Missouri coach Frank Haith

said.

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy didn’t seem to see it the same

way.

”I didn’t know David could knock down a 6-9, 300-pound guy to

be honest with you,” Kennedy said. ”We’ve got to get those kind

of breaks against a very good Missouri team.”

Marcus Denmon’s 3 on the other end pushed the lead to 68-60 with

35 seconds left and his two free throws seconds later sealed the

win for Missouri (25-2, 12-2).

Middleton, in his third game back after missing five straight

with a knee injury, had 15 points to lead A&M (13-13,

4-10).

Missouri’s victory breaks a five-game losing streak for the

Tigers in College Station, a place where they hadn’t won since

2001. The Tigers had lost eight straight overall to A&M before

sweeping the series this season.

Middleton said the team has maintained a positive attitude

because the players hope they can turn things around.

”We’re all used to winning,” he said. ”None of us had losing

seasons before. No one likes losing. We’re all winners.”

Michael Dixon added 15 points for Missouri and Denmon had 14.

The Aggies slowed Ricardo Ratliffe, who entered the game averaging

14 points, but had just four Saturday.

”They’re very difficult to guard,” Kennedy said. ”You take

Ratliffe away and English hurts you. They’ve got so many

weapons.”

The Aggies, who have lost five of their last six games, were

playing without injured point guard Dash Harris for the seventh

straight game.

”They’ve got to get all their parts back,” Haith said of the

Aggies. ”Right now they don’t have Dash back and I think that

hurts this team a great deal.”

The Tigers led by 13 points with 7 1/2 minutes left before a

12-7 run by A&M cut it to 63-55 with less than 4 minutes

remaining. Missouri hit two free throws before A&M started its

last run.

Texas A&M used a 6-0 spurt early in the second half to

whittle Missouri’s lead to 34-32 with about 16 minutes remaining.

Missouri’s offense went cold in that span and the Tigers went

almost 3 minutes without scoring.

A 3-pointer by Denmon got them going again and extended the lead

to 37-32. That was the start of a 12-4 run which made it 46-36 with

12 1/2 minutes remaining. Denmon had a second 3 later in the

run.

Kennedy liked that his team kept this one close throughout.

”Our guys have done a really good job of staying in games and

not breaking,” he said. ”I like our toughness.”

Missouri’s Matt Pressey tweaked his left ankle with about 12 1/2

minutes remaining. He went to the bench and then hobbled to the

locker room after talking with a trainer. He returned to the bench

with about 9 1/2 minutes left, but didn’t re-enter the game.

Haith said he was OK, but that he had struggled with that ankle

throughout the year.

Jordan Green finished with a season-high 14 points for

A&M.