SE Missouri loses to No. 25 Missouri 83-68

Tyler Stone had a strong debut for Southeast Missouri State. The

sophomore forward insisted there was no added incentive.

Stone had 18 points and six rebounds in an 83-68 opening loss to

No. 25 Missouri on Friday night. He was on the end of the Missouri

bench most of his freshman season in 2009-10, then transferred

after his scholarship got pulled.

”I thought he really proved he could play on any level,” coach

Dickey Nutt said.

The 6-foot-8 Stone said it wasn’t an emotional occasion.

”Not at all, it was just another game,” Stone said. ”Just

trying to get this win. I knew I would come back to Missouri, so

that didn’t mean anything to me.”

Missouri players were impressed with the improvement Stone has

made.

”He looked good in film all week,” guard Kim English said.

”He grew. He got older. He got bigger. He looked really good. I’m

excited to see what he does this year.”

Ricardo Ratliffe and Marcus Denmon had 20 points apiece in new

coach Frank Haith’s debut.

English added 19 points and hit four 3-pointers in the second

half, going 5 for 9 from long distance overall as the Tigers pulled

away after leading by only two at the break. The Tigers have a

59-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents dating

to the 2005-06 opener.

Marcus Brister added 15 points and six assists for Southeast

Missouri State.

”It was the first 5 minutes in the second half that hurt us,”

Nutt said. ”We didn’t have the intensity that we needed, like we

did in the first half.”

Still, he was pleased with his team.

”They fought hard,” Nutt said. ”The guys who played, they

gave me every ounce of effort.”

Missouri entered the season ranked for the first time since

2003-04 coming off three straight NCAA tournament bids, although

Haith is under a bit of a cloud facing possible NCAA sanctions

dating to his time at Miami.

The Tigers lack height without 6-foot-9 Laurence Bowers, out for

the year with a knee injury, and often had four guards on the

floor, making it tougher to put Southeast Missouri State away.

Southeast Missouri State was picked to finish in the middle of

the pack in the Ohio Valley Conference, is 0-6 against Missouri and

0-8 against ranked teams and has lost six straight openers. Plus,

starting forward Leon Powell didn’t play because of a knee

injury.

Still, the Redhawks battled on even terms throughout the first

half, opening a quick 7-0 lead and shooting 52 percent. They led by

six with about 4 1/2 minutes to go before Missouri finished on a

12-4 run for a 38-36 lead, half the points coming on free throws

and the go-ahead a basket coming on Phil Pressey’s layup with 1.7

seconds left.

Missouri opened the second half on a 17-6 run and kept the game

at arm’s length the rest of the way.