AMES, Iowa (AP) — Missouri can finally celebrate on a trip back to Columbia instead of sulking over yet another road loss in the Big 12.
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Marcus Denmon scored 25 points, Laurence Bowers added 16 and the No. 20 Tigers beat Iowa State 76-70 on Saturday, winning their first league road game and their first away from Mizzou Arena since beating Illinois in St. Louis in December.
Missouri survived with a stellar effort from the line in the second half, hitting 16 of 20 free throws and four straight to go ahead 66-60 with 3:27 left. Bowers then capped a scrambling possession with a putback, giving the Tigers a 68-60 lead with 1:55 to go.
Iowa State got to 72-68 with 24 seconds left. But Missouri iced the game with four free throws from Michael Dixon, who was 0 of 7 from the field but a perfect 6 for 6 from the line.
“It just feels good to get a win, especially getting back on the plane. There’s been so many sad plane rides,” Dixon said. “Just quiet, silence, nothing, so it’ll be good to get back.”
Jake Anderson had 17 points for Iowa State (14-13, 1-11), which lost its ninth straight game after an encouraging 14-4 start.
Though Missouri never trailed in breaking in a five-game league losing skid on the road, the undermanned Cyclones pushed the Tigers until the final minute.
Missouri pushed a two-point halftime lead to 52-44 on Kim English’s layup with 11:23 left. The Tigers couldn’t put the Cyclones away, though, as Scott Christopherson hit a pair of 3s and Diante Garrett cut through traffic to tie it up at 58-all.
Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe kept Iowa State from taking its first lead with back-to-back inside buckets that put the Tigers up 62-58. The Cyclones scored just once in nearly four minutes after Garrett’s layup, allowing Missouri to build enough cushion to survive.
Ratliffe had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers, who won despite 16 turnovers and 23 percent shooting from 3-point range.
“We’ve played spurts where we’ve played well on the road. We just hadn’t done it for 40 minutes,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said.
Missouri blew out Iowa State by 33 points when the two met in Columbia last month. The Tigers jumped out to a 22-point halftime lead and cruised from there, handing the Cyclones their biggest loss of the year.
Early on, things looked disturbingly similar for Iowa State.
The Tigers hit nine of their first 12 shots and jumped ahead 21-9 just seven minutes in. But Iowa State pulled back within 23-18, keeping the game from getting out of hand.
The energized Cyclones then controlled the tempo over the last 10 minutes of the first half, cutting Missouri’s lead to 35-33.
“Our defense in the last 10 minutes of the first half was great. If you come out and start the game that way, we could be up 10 points. That is the disappointing thing for me, because have shown how capable we are,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Christopherson and Calvin Godfrey each scored 13 points and Garrett added 12 points and 10 assists for Iowa State. The Cyclones played their second straight game without senior forward Jamie Vanderbeken, who sprained his left ankle last week in a loss at top-ranked Kansas.
The absence of Vanderbeken, who is averaging 11.3 points and shooting 43.7 percent from 3-point range, has only made life worse for a team whose lack of depth has been exposed.
The Cyclones, who had just seven scholarship players available Saturday, have only one win in their last 12 games.
“We exhausted too much energy trying to get back into the game,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We had some pretty tired guys out there.”
Missouri won its third straight game in Ames, the first time it has done so since 1995. That paled in comparison, though, with finally winning a Big 12 road game in 2011.
“We broke the huddle with ‘Road Dogs,'” Bowers said. “We won, so we’re calling ourselves ‘Road Dogs’ until midnight.”