Missouri beats La Salle to win Cancun Challenge
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) -- Marcus Denmon scored a season-high 21 points to lead No. 11 Missouri to an 83-71 victory over La Salle in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge.
Denmon, who was the tournament's most valuable player, made five 3-pointers, including one that capped a 14-2 run and put the Tigers ahead 66-55 with 8 minutes remaining.
Ricardo Ratliffe scored six of his 14 points during the surge, and the Explorers never got closer than eight points the rest of the game. Ratliffe also finished with a career-high 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Missouri came away with 22 offensive rebounds, turning them into 23 second chance points.
Ruben Guillendeaux and Earl Pettis each scored 13 points in the loss with Pettis going 5 for 5 from the field and 3 for 3 from 3-point range. Jerrell Williams and Tyreek Duren each added 12 for La Salle.
Missouri frustrated La Salle with its full-court pressure defense and forced the Explorers to commit 19 turnovers, and it turned all those miscues into 24 points. La Salle's lack of poise didn't just carry over to when they had the ball.
Aaric Murray, the team's top scorer and rebounder, was also called for a technical foul while scrapping with Ratliffe under the basket with the Explorers trailing 74-58 with 5:01 remaining. It was also his fifth personal and he sat the remainder of the game, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds and scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 boards in the past two games.
Missouri did a good job protecting the ball in a game that was played at a frenetic pace. The Tigers' six turnovers were a season low.
Justin Safford scored a season-high 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in the victory. Laurence Bowers added 10 points despite 3 for 8 shooting.
Updated November 24, 2010