Tigers still seeking first Big 12 road victory

Unbeaten at home and often very beatable on the road, No. 20

Missouri is running out of chances to prove itself an all-around

threat.

The Tigers have an NCAA tournament resume with 20 wins, an RPI

of 27 and a challenging schedule with five games to go before the

Big 12 tournament. The soft spot in the profile: an 0-5 record in

conference road games. They have three more chances to get it

right, starting Saturday at Iowa State.

Minutes after Missouri (20-6, 6-5 Big 12) made it 16 straight at

the Mizzou Arena with a tougher-than-expected 92-84 victory over

Texas Tech, the home-road disparity quizzing began anew. Before

Tuesday, the last 10 home opponents trailed by at least 15 points

in the second half and the winning margin averaged 23.7 points.

Colorado, a 16-point loser at Missouri, won by 13 at Boulder,

Colo. The Tigers took Texas A&M to overtime, but got blown out

in the second half at Kansas and played catchup at Texas and

Oklahoma State.

Iowa State was a 33-point loser in Columbia on Jan. 22, is 1-4

at home in Big 12 play and has lost eight in a row overall.

Typically, a stiff test is anticipated in the rematch against the

Cyclones (14-12, 1-10)

Guard Kim English said that’s true for any destination.

”The ambiance is just a different feel,” English said. ”You

can’t compare scores, you can’t compare games. It’s just a

different beast on the road, you just have to come prepared from

the get go.”

Different games, different breakdowns.

Missouri is among the best in the nation at forcing turnovers

with an all-court style billed as ”The Fastest 40 Minutes in

Basketball.” Not so much on the road, with Colorado (10), Texas

A&M (9), Oklahoma State (11) and Kansas (12) all keeping the

giveaways under control.

Far from winded, Kansas outscored Missouri 57-44 in the second

half. Oklahoma State gave up only two points of an eight-point

cushion. All five road opponents outrebounded the Tigers.

Marcus Denmon was 3-for-9 with seven points at Texas and was

held to 11 points at Kansas. Justin Safford got bumped from the

starting lineup after totaling 11 points on 3 for 16 shooting at

Texas and Oklahoma State. English was 2-for-10 at Colorado, 1-for-8

at Oklahoma State and 1-for-6 at Kansas. Phil Pressey and Laurence

Bowers each played 28 minutes at Oklahoma State, and Pressey was

held to five points and Bowers to seven.

Ricardo Ratliffe was held to eight points and four rebounds at

Texas.

”It’s going to be huge going on the road,” Denmon said. ”You

have to do the little things. Get every rebound, knock shots down,

make free throws and guard.”

The Tigers don’t hit the road on a high note, either, after

trading baskets all night against Texas Tech. Coach Mike Anderson

said the team just seemed flat.

”It just wasn’t there. When you walked into the arena it just

seemed like we were playing Texas Tech and let’s go get the game

over with,” Anderson said. ”If we don’t show up with the mindset

and the energy and stop people, then we’re going to be in a

dogfight in a lot of games.”

Anderson isn’t emphasizing the road woes.

”I just talk about us getting better,” the coach said.

”Hopefully we’re a different team and we have more guys ready to

play.”