Niagara vs Missouri

No. 24 Mizzou shoots way past Niagara wire reports

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- With four guards and a 6-foot-8 forward in the starting lineup, height-challenged Missouri doesn't expect to rely much on its inside presence. After an early season rout against Niagara on Thursday night, that approach might not be necessary for the Tigers.

Marcus Denmon scored 22 points to lead five Missouri players in double figures, and the No. 24 Tigers rode a hot-shooting first half to an easy 83-52 victory.

Kim English added 14 points and seven rebounds, and Ricardo Ratliffe, Matt Pressey and sixth-man Michael Dixon scored 12 points each for Missouri (3-0) in its final regional game of the College Basketball Experience Classic before facing Notre Dame and either California or Georgia next week in Kansas City.

CBE Classic

"We take what the defense gives us," said English, a 6-foot-6 shooter starting at power forward after the preseason loss of 6-foot-8 starter Laurence Bowers to a knee injury. "We have four guards out there. It's kind of pick your poison."

Juan'ya Green and Antoine Mason led Niagara (1-1) with 10 points each. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school shot 34 percent overall and made only five of its 26 attempts from long range, all in the second half once the game was out of hand.

Niagara coach Joe Mihalich said his young team -- the Purple Eagles start three freshmen and a sophomore -- played "scared" and "tentative."

"We wasted that opportunity to have a good learning experience," he said. "We're still searching for an identity here. We don't know who we are yet."

Missouri went 12 of 22 from beyond the arc, with nine of those coming in the first half on 14 attempts. Missouri also had 13 steals -- led by point guard Phil Pressey with five -- and forced 16 turnovers.

On the offensive side, the Tigers had only three turnovers in a pivotal first half and seven overall. New Missouri coach Frank Haith, who wants to bring a more disciplined, full-court approach to replace his predecessor Mike Anderson's "fastest 40 minutes" style, liked what he saw.

"I thought it was the best game we've played," Haith said. "Nobody was really hunting shots."

Missouri's four-guard lineup repeatedly beat the similarly undersized Purple Eagles to loose balls and long rebounds. The Purple Eagles play just as small, with four guards and a 6-foot-8 forward as starters. Other than 6-foot-9 reserve Steve Moore, the 6-foot-8 Ratliffe is Missouri's tallest player.

Phil Pressey was especially active on defense, with two nifty saves of loose balls headed out of bounds igniting fast breaks. He had a behind-the-back save in first half and a no-look, over-the-head down court toss in the second. The 5-foot-10 Pressey also had a crowd-pleasing breakaway dunk to extend Missouri's lead to 34 points with just over 14 minutes remaining in the game.

Niagara scored the game's first point but was never in it after that. Missouri led by as many as 40 midway through the second half after a 26-9 run, allowing Haith to insert little-used walk-on Jarrett Sutton with 11 minutes remaining. He was joined by fellow walk-on Andy Rosburg in the game's final minutes.

Matt Pressey capped the first half with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving Missouri a 45-22 lead, its biggest of the game at that point. Missouri began the second half the same way it closed the first, with a Denmon 3-pointer from the left corner extending the lead to 26 points.

Denmon was 5 for 8 from 3-point range, English was 4 of 6 and Pressey 2 of 3. Missouri's 12 treys topped its previous season high against Mercer by one.

The Tigers' 3-point shooting percentage of 55 percent easily exceeded their success from two-point range, where they shot under 24 percent and converted only 13 baskets.

Missouri extended its school-record winning streak over nonconference opponents at home to 61 games, dating to their 2005-06 season opener.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Kim English recovers from this foul by Ali Langford in the first half to score 14 points for Missouri.  (Getty Images)
Kim English recovers from this foul by Ali Langford in the first half to score 14 points for Missouri. (Getty Images)
Niagara (1-1)223052
Missouri #24 (3-0) «453883
NIAG:A. Mason 10 Pts
NIAG:J. Thomas 5 Reb
NIAG:J. Green 2 Ast
MO:M. Denmon 22 Pts
MO:M. Denmon 7 Reb
MO:P. Pressey 5 Ast

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Juan'ya Green
Marcus Denmon
Niagara Purple Eagles
M. Jordan, G362-111-12136
A. Mason, G363-103-421310
J. Green, G344-140-142110
A. Tanksley, G172-70-05045
S. Gillette, F163-53-43049
A. Langford, F200-20-03230
J. Thomas, F173-50-05026
E. Williams, F123-30-03026
S. Jones, F120-10-01000
P. Kowalski, FDid Not Play
M. Lemmons, GDid Not Play
J. Turner, GDid Not Play
Totals 20-587-102862252
Missouri Tigers
K. English, G324-72-273014
M. Denmon, G307-133-472022
M. Pressey, G303-94-631012
P. Pressey, G242-63-52518
R. Ratliffe, F206-70-061312
M. Dixon, G203-76-713312
S. Moore, C160-23-45103
K. Green, F150-10-12010
J. Sutton, G90-10-02010
A. Rosburg, F40-00-02010
L. Bowers, FDid Not Play
Totals 25-5321-2937161083
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
St. Peters14-623-13130

Big 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
W. Virginia12-628-924
Iowa St.12-624-1121
Oklahoma St.9-920-1340
Kansas St.8-1021-1457
Texas Tech6-1218-14123
Other games
MD 42 Final
Alabama 62
Maine 60 Final
UConn 80
Tx A&M 60 Final
Miss St 69
NORFL 55 Final
Florida 91
W Illinois 55 Final
Michigan 59
Arizona 81 Final
St John's 72