Oral Roberts-Missouri Preview

Missouri had a more relaxed time in its most recent win after

three straight games that went down to the wire.

Another subpar offensive performance against Oral Roberts could

have the 13th-ranked Tigers sweating it out again.

The Golden Eagles pulled off a last-second victory over Missouri

at home last season but will travel Thursday night to Mizzou Arena,

where the Tigers have won 52 straight over non-conference foes.

Missouri (8-1) got to use 12 players – none played more than 23

minutes – during Saturday’s 70-55 victory over Presbyterian after

splitting two overtime games and nearly blowing a 20-point lead on

the road. The Tigers’ lone senior, Justin Safford, had a

season-high 14 points and Kim English also scored 14, posting his

fifth straight double-digit performance since being held scoreless

Nov. 24 against La Salle.

“It’s nice to have a chance to play a game like this because

some of our guys have played a lot of minutes,” guard Marcus Denmon

said. “They give guys that normally aren’t able to play as much a

chance to do things and show coach that they’re able to help

us.”

Denmon, averaging 18.7 points over the last six games, also

scored in double figures for the sixth consecutive time with 12

points.

He scored a team-best 17 off the bench last season against Oral

Roberts (4-5), but the Tigers shot 40.0 percent and allowed the

Golden Eagles to rally from an eight-point deficit in the final

4:19 for a 60-59 win. That point total ties the second-lowest

Missouri has scored in non-conference play over the past two-plus

seasons.

The Tigers have not lost at home to a team outside the Big 12

since falling to Sam Houston State on Nov. 14, 2005.

Missouri will not have starting point guard Michael Dixon

available after he was suspended indefinitely Wednesday for an

unspecified violation of team rules. The sophomore is averaging

10.7 points and a team-high 4.3 assists.

Freshman Phil Pressey is expected to see more playing time in

Dixon’s absence.

Golden Eagles forward Michael Craion’s layup with 0.9 seconds

left was the difference last year against Missouri, but he enters

the rematch still recovering from an injury that caused him to miss

this season’s first seven games. One of Oral Roberts’ three Kansas

City natives, Craion re-aggravated his surgically repaired right

foot during an exhibition game and has played only 17 minutes in

two games since returning.

While the Golden Eagles’ second-leading scorer from last season

continues to heal, Warren Niles has tried to pick up the slack,

averaging 14.9 points. The sophomore guard scored a team-best 22

off the bench in Saturday’s 73-60 loss at Oklahoma, one week after

hitting a last-second shot in a 63-61 road win over IUPUI.

Dominique Morrison, who scored 21 in last season’s victory over

Missouri, is averaging a team-best 17.3 points. The native of

Kansas City, Mo. scored 17 in his previous trip to Mizzou Arena on

Nov. 30, 2008, but couldn’t rally his team past the Tigers in a

92-83 loss.

This is the Golden Eagles’ first game against a Top 25 opponent

since beating then-No. 13 New Mexico on Dec. 23 as Craion and

Morrison combined for 35 points. The team had lost 12 of its

previous 13 versus ranked foes.

Missouri has never lost in three home games with Oral Roberts

and holds a 5-1 series lead.